The Maine Wetlands Protection Coalition is a group of partners that has operated like a joint venture within the Atlantic Coast Joint Venture, coordinating conservation planning and collaborating on habitat conservation within the State of Maine. Their cooperative spirit and dedication to protecting Maine’s important coastal habitats for migratory birds has resulted in Maine partners receiving more than 80 North American Wetlands Conservation Act and more than fifteen National Coastal Wetland Grants over the last 25 years. This has led to more than $150 million worth of conservation work that has permanently protected over a million acres of wildlife habitat. These partners all have taken a “resource first” approach, focusing their collective efforts on the most important habitats for migratory birds and other wildlife, and relying on each partner to contribute their expertise or resources to a portion of their mutual goals. Their success is partly a function of the number and hard work of Maine’s many local and regional land trusts. Maine ranks second in the nation in acres conserved by land trusts (close behind California, which is nearly five times larger). Maine’s 88 land trusts have conserved more than twice as much land as any other Northeastern state over the last ten years.
Partners in the Maine Wetlands Protection Coalition have worked closely with dozens of land trusts across Maine, many of which have taken lead roles in individual projects within their own delivery area. This, in turn, has resulted in significant contributions to the goals of all the major bird initiatives at local, regional, national, and hemispheric scales.
For their leadership and dedication to conservation through partnerships, we are honored to present the North American Migratory Bird Conservation Champion Award for a Regional Partnership to the Maine Wetlands Protection Coalition, led by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Gulf of Maine Coastal Program, The Nature Conservancy, and Maine Coast Heritage Trust.