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Current and On-going Initiatives

Wild and Scenic Rivers Study
Seeking funding and approval to conduct a study of the York River for possible inclusion in the Wild and Scenic Rivers program. For information please visit Congresswoman Chellie Pingree's website.

Project request: York Rivers Association
Participants: York Conservation Commission; York Rivers Association; local community

Cape Neddick Rivers Ordinance Enforcement, Restoration Study and Public Outreach
From its source at Chases Pond on Mount Agamenticus to its mouth at the Atlantic Ocean, the 3.7-mile Cape Neddick River has historically posed a pollution problem. High bacteria counts have been found all along the river for years. To address these issues, the Town of York is using a several-pronged approach that includes town enforcement of septic tank pumping, a $34,700 water quality restoration study and a public education effort about the effects of lawn fertilizers on the river. For the most recent information, please visit the Cape Neddick River Association website at http://www.capeneddickriver.org/.

Project request: York Rivers Association
Participants: York Conservation Commission; York Rivers Association; local community

Rogers Brook Dam Removal
Located in the upper York River, the Rogers Brook to fire pond dam removal project will ensure free flow once again into the York River. The construction of York’s Thermo plastic bridge on Birch Hill Rd has begun at Rogers Brook. York now has the first and only Thermo Plastic Bridge under a public roadway in the Country. The wood timber looking Thermo Plastic members are made of 100% recycled materials and will be a great addition to the Historic York River.

Project request: York Rivers Association; local community
Participants:Maritime Construction and Engineering, LLC (completed other projects on the York River in 2011, including the John Hancock Wharf and Town Dock # 2).

Wheeler Refuge Monitoring
The goal is to achieve sustained long-term monitoring by students and the community of the Wheeler Refuge both prior to and following the restoration. Project will fund initial involvement of the York High School with Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve in Wheeler Refuge monitoring projects, as well as provide the school with training and some equipment.

Project request: Gulf of Maine Council of the Marine Environment; Habitat Restoration Grants Program
Participants: Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve; York High School; York Conservation Commission; York Rivers Association; local community

York River/Brave Boat Harbor/Gerrish Island Conservation Plan
The purpose of the plan is to guide and focus conservation efforts throughout the Mt. Agamenticus to the Sea area through 2008, building on more than 30 years of conservation work on and around Mt. Agamenticus and Braveboat Harbor. The plan was developed with support and input from over 80 organizations, individuals and municipalities, so that the final document reflects a community vision for the future of the focus area.

Project support: Kittery Land Trust; Great Works Land Trust; York Land Trust; The Gregory Baker Family; Harbor Foundation; Sunny Knickerbocker Foundation
Participants: Rachel Carson National Wildlife Reserve (US Fish & Wildlife Service); Maine Coast Heritage Trust; The Nature Conservancy; Kittery Land Trust; Great Works Land Trust; York Land Trust

Mt. Agamenticus to the Sea Conservation Initiative
The shared vision of the Mt. Agamenticus to the Sea Conservation Initiative is to protect a network of priority conservation lands from Mt. Agamenticus through the marshes, fields and forests buffering the York River and Brave Boat Harbor estuary to the largely undeveloped forest interior and coastline of Gerrish Island.

Participants: The Nature Conservancy; Maine Coast Heritage Trust; Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge (US Fish & Wildlife Service); Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife; The Trust for Public Land; York Land Trust; Great Works Regional Land Trust; Kittery Land Trust; York Rivers Association; Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve

Seacoast Watershed Information Manager
The Seacoast Watershed Information Manager (Project S.W.I.M.) will be an online water resource toolkit for Maine and New Hampshire to help local planners and the public evaluate, conserve, and restore coastal watershed resources along the Maine and New Hampshire seacoast by developing a website that describes the region and its resources, provides access to GIS data and other relevant information, and includes a decision-support tool that examines the impact of growth and development on water resources.

Project support: Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s Coastal Services Center Landscape Characterization and Restoration Program; Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.

A Comprehensive Wetland Program for Intertidal Marshes in the York River
A project recently funded by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) New England Office Wetlands Program Development Grant to support the development of a comprehensive wetland program To be conducted from January 2005 through May 2006. The study will correlate new and existing data on marsh extent and function with land use and water quality factors to identify indicators that will allow us to track marsh health. This will allow us to identify and develop specific measures to preserve, protect, and restore these valuable wetlands based on objective measures.

Total dollar amount:$60,000
Project support: Environmental Protection Agency; Town of York
Participants: University of New England, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, Restore Maine's Coast

Fish Communities and Habitats of the York River Watershed Study
Scientific survey measuring the health of the York River ecosystems, using fish as indicators, data collection essential for wise stewardship of this precious but threatened community resource.

Project support: Greater Piscatuaqua Community Foundation ($20,000 Otto Fund)
Participants: AmeriCorps; Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve; local volunteers

York River Fish Communities and Habitats Study Coordinator
Coordinator for a scientifically-led, volunteer-based survey of fish species and fresh habitats of the York River. Water quality testing was conducted by the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Total dollar value: 6 month commitment, part-time
Project support: Maine Conservation Corps; AmeriCorps
Participants: York Land Trust, York Rivers Association, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve

York River Watershed Survey and Management Plan
The objective of the survey was to locate and prioritize key non-point source pollution issues and recommend solutions, best management practices, and land use recommendations. Tasks also include the creation of Watershed Management Plan for the York River watershed. This grant complemented and enhanced the Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Program work in the York watershed financed by the Maine Department of Environmental Protect.

Total dollar value: $43,000
Project support: Maine Department of Environmental Protection
Project request: Maine Shore Stewards/Maine Community Foundation – Coastal Watershed NPS Pollution Program
Participants: Project Steering Committee: YRA, Town of York: School Department, Planning Board, Town Planner, Conservation Commission, Clam Commission, DPW (advisor), York Land Trust, York Water District; Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve (Research), Coastal Mosaic Project (Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve-Laudholm), Great Works Regaional Land Trust, CCA (regional), TNC (regional)

The York River Ecological History Study
A study of the ecological changes in the York River watershed’s aquatic and marine resources since the arrival of Europeans and the impacts of human activities such as logging, agriculture and harvesting on these resources.

Total dollar amount:$5,500
Project support: Greater Piscatagua Community Foundation, Piscatagua Garden Club, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, Restore Maine's Coast
Participants: Old York Historical Society

Recently Completed Initiatives

Restoration of Wheeler Wildlife Management Area
At this 18-acre site at the entrance to the York Harbor, the Town of York replaced a culvert near Dock #1. An artificial salt marsh had been created when leavings from an early 1960’s harbor dredging were dumped on existing clam flats.

Total dollar value: $52,870. + $7,000 project management and permitting
Project support: Fish American Foundation ($23,920); Maine Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership ($10,000); Town of York – Department of Public Works; Greater Piscataqua Community Foundation ($7,000); York Rivers Association
Participants: York Rivers Assocation, Maine Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership; Ducks Unlimited; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association; Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve; US Fish & Wildlife Service; University of New Hamphsire Jackson Estuarine Laboratory; Town of York – Department of Public Works; Town of York – Conservation Commission

Preserving the Working Waterfront
Worked with state, regional and local agencies to purchase a conservation easement on Sewall’s Bridge Dock
, ensuring that it will forever remain as working waterfront property and protecting its scenic value.

Participants: York Land Trust; Coastal Enterprises Inc.; Maine Coastal Planning Office; Libra Foundation; Island Foundation; Maine Community Foundation; Farm Credit; Old York Historical Society; local community

York River Survey
Citizen survey completed in June 200 to gather data to be used as a baseline for the York River and its fish population and habitat survey, to identify potential storm water pollution areas, to identify restrictive tidal crossings, and to identify future projects to help protect and restore the York River.

Project support: National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance; University of New Hampshire Jackson Estuarine Laboratory; Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge (US Fish & Wildlife Service); US Fish & Wildlife Service; Town of York - Planning Department
Participants: Over 100 volunteers – adults, students and professionals

Previous Work

York River Survey, Land Conservation, "York River Annotated Bibliography" and "Boating the York River and York Harbor"
Between 1998 and 2001 funding provided for staff assistance support to projects: organization of river survey including investigation of tidal restrictions “York River Survey – June 2000”; land conservation work; assemblage of known existing data “York River Annotated Bibliography”; educational brochure “Boating the York River and York Harbor”.

Project support: National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assitance
Participants: National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assitance; York Rivers Association

River Currents
To enhance the knowledge and appreciation of the York River, as a community resource, we conducted aseries of different event including a contemporary art exhibit, a River Heritage Day, and a panel discussion entitled “Sharing the Lifeline – Our River System”.

Total dollar value: $5,000
Project support:
Maine Community Foundation ($2,300); Greater Piscataqua Community Foundation ($2,300); Perrier; York Hospital; Agamenticus Yacht Club
Project sponsors: York Land Trust; Old York Historical Society; Piscataqua Garden Club; York Rivers Association
Participants: Town of York - Harbor Master; Town of York - Clam Warden; National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assitance; Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge (US Fish & Wildlife Service); US Fish & Wildlife Service;

Return the Tides
Project conducted by the Conservation Law Foundation’s Maine Advocacy Center; compiling an inventory of restrictive tidal crossings

Project support: Conservation Law Foundation’s Maine Advocacy Center; Maine Conservation Corps-Americorps; Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve Coastal Mosaic Project
Participants: Conservation Law Foundation’s Maine Advocacy Center; Maine Conservation Corps-Americorps; Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve Coastal Mosaic Project; Coastal Conservation Association; The Nature Conservancy; Maine Coast Heritage Trust; Maine Conservation Foundation; Greater Piscataqua Community Foundation; York Hospital; York Land Trust; Great Works Regional Land Trust; Eldridges Fly Shop; local volunteers

Rogers Brook/Birch Hill Road Fire Pond
Being a tributary of the York River, work was completed on the site to restore function and value and environmental mitigation project related to Route 1/Rice’s Bridge replacement.
Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) removed the concrete dam in September of 2002 and have been monitoring the channel morphology, hydrology, substrate and soils, salinity, vegetation, human disturbance and invasive species as part of the Maine Department of Environmental Protectino permit for the Route 1 Rice's Bridge project. MDOT will be monitoring this site for the next four years, after which, the site will be conveyed to the York Land Trust for long-term stewardship.

Project support: Maine Department of Transportation
Participants: Maine Department of Transportation; Maine Department of Environmental Protection; Town of York - Deparment of Public Works; York Land Trust; York Rivers Association

Some Early Initiatives

York River Watershed Study
In 1995 the York Rivers Association was awarded its first grant to conduct a study of the York River. The resulting pubication, "York River Watershed Study: Conservation, Preservation, Development" was created by the Radcliffe Seminars Graduate program in Landscape Design.

Project support: Greater Piscataqua Community Foundation; Publication of study funded by the Wheeler Trust
Participants: Radcliffe Seminars Graduate Landscape Design Program, York Rivers Association, local community

Sharing the Lifeline: The York River, Past, Current and Future
In 1996 York Rivers Association was awarded a second grant by the Greater Piscataqua Community Foundation to create a public information series entitled “Sharing the Lifeline: The York River, Past, Current and Future”, to raise awareness of the river’s value to the communities in its watershed.

Project support: Greater Piscataqua Community Foundation
Participants: York Land Trust; York Rivers Association; interested citizens

Distribution of "Sharing the Lifeline" Information
In 1996 and 1997 the York Rivers Association placed summer inserts in the York Weekly newspaper entitled, “Sharing the Lifeline,” and held a gallery exhibit called "In Land We Trust."

Project support: Greater Piscataqua Community Foundation; Sunny Knickerbocker Foundation; Wheeler Trust
Participants: York Land Trust; York Rivers Association; Old York Historical Society

"Recommendations for Conserving the Future of Steedman Woods"
In 1997 a study of the Steedman Woods was conducted to provide the Town of York with recommendations which identify the importance and benefits of taking steps to conserve, preserve and sustain the Steedman Woods for the enjoyment of residents of York now and for the future.

Participants: York Rivers Association; Old York Historical Society
Prepared by: Richardson & Associates, Saco, Maine
Prepared for: Old York Historical Society
Funding: Greater Piscataqua Community Foundation

Future Focus
Change is inevitable. Our challenge is to manage it in a pro-active way.

 

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