WATERFORD — The Conservation Forestry Field Day was attended by 56 land owners, forest and watershed resource managers and conservationists, who met at the home of Bart and Mary Ann Hague recently. Speakers discussed management challenges and everyone exchanged ideas relating to managing privately owned forest lands in an age of climate change.

The day was sponsored by the American Forest Foundation, with local support from Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, the Portland Water District and the Western Foothills Land Trust. The four organizations have collaborated on a watershed services grant proposal for the Crooked River watershed and hope to be working together during the next three years.

Additional support and expertise was provided by the Greater Lovell Land Trust, Loon Echo Land Trust, Small Woodlot Owners of Maine, Natural Resources Council of Maine, the Maine Forest Service and the Natural Resource Conservation Services.

In 2007, the Hagues donated a conservation easement on 350 acres of forest land and riparian habitat, which protects 1.5 miles of the Crooked River. Good forest and riparian management along the Crooked River provides Portland with clean drinking water. The protected property provided an example of sound conservation management at the meeting.

Participants heard from experts about management challenges and opportunities, including carbon sequestration, ecosystem services, wildlife, water quality and available assistance. The walking tour of the property included the high field overlooking a view unchanged significantly since David McWain established his 18th century homestead on the site and McDaniel’s Rips on the Crooked River.

Anyone interested in information regarding conservation and management options for their family forest lands should contact the American Forest Foundation, www.forestfoundation.org, or the Maine Land Trust Network, www.mltn.org, to find contact information for their local land trust.

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