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Our Projects > 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

The Mt. Agamenticus to the Sea Conservation Initiative (MTA2C) strives to protect a wide array of ecological resources and community values in the fastest growing county in Maine. The MTA2C Initiative is a coalition of non-profit organizations and governmental agencies that work together on a landscape scale conservation project in an area of approximately 48,000 acres that encompasses the York River, the Braveboat Harbor Estuary, Gerrish Island and the largest intact coastal forest between Acadia and the New Jersey Pine Barrens.

The region is endowed with large unfragmented forests, rare and exemplary natural communities, and the greatest diversity of threatened and endangered species of any region in Maine. Oak forests, vernal pools, salt marshes, tidal rivers and dune grasslands are among the rich ecological features found here. These natural communities provide habitat for a wide variety of plant and animal species such as migratory birds, anadromous fish and rare turtles. The Gulf of Maine coastal waters from Gerrish Island in Kittery to Cape Neddick in York have been designated as Essential Fish Habitat by the National Marine Fisheries Service for 30 species of fish and mollusks.

The Mt. Agamenticus to the Sea landscape is also rich in human history. The land, rivers and sea have provided local inhabitants with lumber, farmland and fish for over 300 years. Careful stewardship has sustained many generations without destroying the ecological systems on which their livelihoods have been built.

Related articles:

  • Saving Space: Sewall's Bridge
    September 2004
    , Public Radio Exchange
    Maine's working waterfronts are threatened. As property taxes soar and fishing opportunities dwindle, communities in Maine are seeking ways to preserve a way of life. The York Land Trust found a unique way to preserve open space and an historic landmark while expanding their harbor's working waterfront.
  • Trying to get a grip
    July 18, 2004, Maine Today
    Mark Sewall remembers roaming his hometown of York as a boy. He could wander the commercial docks in York Harbor at will. The woods and fields around town were his playgrounds. Everyone waved. The York of his boyhood is long gone, said the 42-year-old lobsterman. Today, Sewall says, the public has been locked out of much of the town. Many of the commercial docks have been torn down and replaced by homes and private docks. The woods and fields have been carved up into house lots. People have stopped waving.
  • Behind every fishing boat is a strong working waterfront
    February 29, 2004, Village Soup
    Rep. Deb McNeil remembers the working piers, the sounds and smells of the Rockland fishing fleet unloading swelled holds of herring and redfish.
    Though offensive to some, those smells and sounds of commercial fishing meant business was good for local harvesters. As a member of the Legislature's Marine Resources Committee, McNeil has been an advocate and sounding board for issues affecting the local fishing industry.
  • Working Watefronts: The Land Trust Solution
    February 2004, The Working Waterfront
    Jeff Donnell and Mark Sewall, two lobstermen whose families have been fishing from York Harbor for generations, recently purchased a dock near historic Sewall's Bridge on the York River. Much can be learned from this experience that could benefit other communities struggling with preserving access to the sea.
  • Joint effort saves pier from development
    December 5, 2003, Portsmouth Herald
    Thanks to the efforts of local residents, conservation groups, creative financing and the York Land Trust, the town will forever have at least one working commercial fishing pier.
  • Going against the tide
    December 4, 2003, Maine Today
    Two York lobstermen have teamed up with the local land trust to purchase Sewall's Bridge dock on the south side of the York River and preserve it as working waterfront.
    The dock, used by commercial fishermen for years, previously had been bought by a private homeowner who rented space to pleasure boaters and had plans to develop a home on the site.



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