The demands relate to the preservation of agricultural land and exploited forests
The Mills administration today announced two calls for proposals under the Lands for Maine’s Future Program (LMF). The applications are for agricultural land and working forest proposals and build on previous solicitations for conservation, recreation, water access and functional waterfront proposals.
The Land for Maine’s Future program is the state of Maine’s primary method of conserving land for its natural and recreational value. The program was created in 1987 when the citizens of Maine approved a bond to fund $35 million for the purchase of land. Since then, LMF has retained nearly 604,000 acres of land, more than half of which – 333,425 acres – is working land. This includes 41 farms and 9,755 acres of farmland and 26 waterfront commercial properties, as well as 1,272 miles of river, lake and pond shorelines, 58 miles of coastline and 158 miles of former rail corridors for recreational trails.
Prior to the injection of $40 million from the Governor and the Legislative Assembly through Governor Mills’ last biennial budget, the Fund was nearly depleted.
“The Land for Maine’s Future program is back, and we are once again preserving our working lands and precious natural resources for the benefit of the people of Maine,” said Governor Janet Mills. “I applaud the LMF Board for their hard work in protecting the cherished lands and waters that form the backbone of our heritage industry – our working farms and forests.
The Working Farmland Access and Protection Program (WFAPP) provides funds to protect Maine’s productive and economically important farmland. On these protected properties, WFAPP seeks to protect properties that support agricultural operations in areas of the state that support and anchor a viable agricultural economy, that benefit beginning farmers or underserved communities, and that provide multiple benefits. public, such as the protection of wildlife habitat.
The LMF Board of Directors also invites applications for projects that protect our working forests. Logged forests provide many public benefits, from ensuring a sustainable wood supply to support our forest economy to providing public access to traditional outdoor recreation. They provide wildlife habitat and are a critical part of the state’s strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by sequestering carbon, as outlined in the state’s climate action plan, Maine won’t wait. Eligible projects could include the acquisition of municipal forests, the protection of drinking water supplies, properties that protect deer wintering habitat, and the operation of forest easements on commercial woodlots.
“The Land for Maine’s Future program is a critically important resource for protecting our state’s farms, forests and waterfront,”said Pat Keliher, Chairman of the Board of Land for Maine’s Future and Commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources. “These funding opportunities will help save properties so vital to Maine’s heritage industries, natural resources and wilderness preservation.”
“Through these LMF programs, Maine is poised to protect more of our valuable farmland and forests from development,” said Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Amanda Beal. “We thank Governor Mills and the Maine Legislature for their bold vision to allocate resources to conserve the lands that feed us, help our state mitigate climate change, and consistently provide many other public benefits to the people of Maine. .”
“DACF is pleased that WFAPP is protecting working farmland whose ability to continue to actively farm is critical to the long-term future of Maine’s agricultural sector,” said Nancy McBrady, director of the Office of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources.
“Our working forests are critical to our Maine economy and way of life, as well as climate change concerns. I applaud the efforts of everyone who makes this program a success,” said Patty Cormier, director of the Maine Forest Service.
“In the face of climate change, an increased need for housing, and innovations in the building industry, maintaining a sustainable wood supply is critically important to the growth of Maine’s forest economy. Investing in protecting active forests ensures valuable carbon sequestration, tax revenue, and recreational resources in addition to permanent public access,” said Catherine Robbins Halsted, director and co-owner of Robbins Lumber and member of the LMF Board of Directors..
Proposals may be from state agencies, land trusts, municipalities, cooperating entities as defined by MRSA Title 5, Section 6201(2), or other entities identified as eligible conservation easement holders. under MRSA Title 33, Section 476(2).
Farmland proposals must be sponsored by the Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources. A copy of the WFAPP manual, which includes all the information needed to apply for LMF funds, is available on the LMF Working Farmland Access Protection Program webpage.
Potential WFAPP applicants can contact Alex Redfield, Farmland Protection Specialist, Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources, at (207) 592-0640 with any questions.
Proposals for working forests must be sponsored by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry or the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Application materials can be found on the LMF Conservation and Recreation Funds webpage.
In January 2022, Governor Mills announced five statewide significant Land for Maine’s Future conservation projects that protect working lands and wildlife habitat and preserve public access to lakes, rivers, scenic views and mountain views. The projects, which are located across the state, were the first to be selected by the Land for Maine’s Future Board since Governor Mills and the Legislature reinvigorated the program.
About Land for Maine’s Future
The LMF program is the state of Maine’s primary funding vehicle for conserving land for its natural and recreational value. The program was created in 1987 when the citizens of Maine approved a bond to fund $35 million to purchase land. The program’s priority is to conserve Maine’s landscape, recognizing that working lands and public access to those lands are essential to maintaining Maine’s quality of life.
Since then, LMF has retained nearly 613,000 acres of land, more than half of which – 333,425 acres – is working land. The conservation includes 41 farms and 9,755 acres of agricultural land and 26 waterfront commercial properties, as well as 1,272 miles of shorelines of rivers, lakes and ponds, 58 miles of coastline and 158 miles of former rail corridors for recreational trails.
LMF project awards include conservation of forests, farms and commercial waterfronts, public access to our woods and waters, and wildlife protection and management.
Full details on the types of projects supported, who is eligible to apply, the application process, and the evaluation of proposals are available now on the LMF Funding Application webpage.