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Conservation Commission

 

Members Term Expires
Kenneth C Oelberger, Chair 2019
Jonathan Coggeshall 2018
Ingrid Mroz 2018
Leslie Hyde 2020
Dan Verrillo 2020
Ryan LeShane, Alternate 2018
Suzanne Hall, Alternate 2018

 

Responsibilities

The Conservation Commission is the natural resource planning body in Town of St George. It is comprised of appointed volunteers and acts in a consulting and advisory role with town staff, elected officials, and other local committees. The Conservation Commission also works closely with land trusts and other conservation organizations.

The Conservation Commission consists of five voting members appointed by the Select Board for terms of three years, and two alternate members appointed for a one year term.

Duties of the Conservation Commission:

  • Work with elected officials, Planning Board and others to protect the natural resources of the town.
  • Conduct field surveys and maintain an inventory of all publicly and privately owned natural resource open areas within St. George. These include: critical wildlife and marine habitats, wetlands, tree growth forest lands and other places special for their scenic, recreational, historic, ecological or cultural values.
  • Support the town Comprehensive Plan through the development of a Natural Resource Inventory, maps and an Open Space Plan.
  • Manage town conservation lands and enhance public access through the establishment and management of trails, kiosks and parking areas.
  • Acquire conservation lands in the name of St. George with the approval of the Select Board.
  • Support the acquisition of conservation/recreation lands and easements by local land trusts.
  • Develop public education programs and outreach materials to promote sound natural resources management and an awareness of the cultural, historic and ecological assets of the town.
  • Seek public and private funds to offset costs associated with local studies, or land acquisition and management projects.

Current Programs

Natural Resource Maps and designation of Significant Ecological Areas

The Conservation Commission developed a set of six Natural Resource Maps in 2015 showing the location of significant natural resources and conservation lands within the Town of St. George.  The maps show wetlands, watercourses, wildlife habitats, farmland soils, protected lands, shore land access, footpaths and other features.

 

The maps are used as a basis for designation of Significant Ecological Areas within the Town.  The designation is for planning purposes only and seeks to identify locations where multiple natural resource and human made features create high value habitats for wildlife.  This designation also highlights opportunities for recreation, farmland conservation and access to the shore.

 

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Stream Restoration

Over a span of many years the Conservation Commission has collaborated with the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR), US Fish and Wildlife Service, Maine Department of Transportation and others to reintroduce an alewife run to the "Town Marsh".  The fish run was disrupted many years ago in part due to the installation of a non-fish friendly culvert under Route 131.  The last run was seen sometime during the 1970s.  Between 2009 and 2014 DMR has annually released roughly 1,500 spawn ready alewives into the marsh.

 

A new fish friendly culvert was installed in the fall of 2015.  The Conservation Commission is collaborating with the St. George School science classes in an ongoing project to study the marsh and monitor the return of the alewives.  Listed below are links to key documents for the alewife restoration project:

Footpaths

The Conservation Commission is creating footpaths through the town in collaboration with George's River Land Trust (GRLT) and Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT).  The two-mile Jones Brook Trail, a collaboration with GRLT links an existing trail in the Town Forest on the Kinney Woods Road to the historic State owned Fort Point on the St. George River. The trail route passes through mature softwoods and mixed wood stands, and offers views of beaver lodges and moss-covered granite outcrops along Jones Brook.  Click here to download the Jones Brook Area Map and also Trail Map for Fort Point and Trail Map for Town Forest.  The Jones Brook Trail crosses private land and was made possible by the generous cooperation and support of participating landowners. 

 

The St. George School Nature Trail reopened in 2016 on National Trails Day.  The Trail was restored and expanded onto Jackson Memroial Library property with the support of students, teachers, and the Conservation Commission.  Region 8 Mid-Coast School of Technology students and teachers constructed the kiosk and interpretive sign boxes for the trail.  The kiosk is located at the trailhead adjacent to the library.  St. George students with assistance from teachers will place and update information on the nature trail interpretative sign boxes that were installed along the trail in May of 2017 by the Conservation Commission. 

 

Click here to access the St. George School Trail Map.

 

Management of Town and Land Trust owned Properties

The Conservation Commission collaborates in managing several Town owned properties.  Click here to view Fort Point Trail Management Plan and Town Forest Management Plan.

 

The Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) High Island Preserve in Long Cove was created with financial support from Town residents, the Town of Saint George, the Land for Maine Future and many others.  MCHT with the support of the Conservation Commission and town residents have completed significant clean up of the island and constructed trails on the preserve. 

 

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MCHT created the Bamford Preserve on Long Cove Road with Conservation Commission support and grant funding from the Maine Natural Resource Conservation Program.  The Select Board authorized a quitclaim deed to the tax acquired "woodcrafters" property, which will be used as a parking area for the preserve.  The commission will collaborate in the development of public recreational trails and a management plan for the property.

 

In 2017, MCHT preserved 22 acres of the Meadow Brook estuary, including forested wetlands along Turkey Cove Road in the Otis Cove section of Town.  The property contains high value bird and wildlife habitat, open space beauty, and future recreational potential.  MCHT with town support worked to secure funding from the Maine Natural Resources Conservation Program and then negotiated a conservation-minded sale with the landowner.  The 22-acre property abuts existing Town-owned lands and is part of the largest undeveloped habitat block in the town -- totaling 1873 acres.  It will be managed as a preserve that is free and open to the public.

 

St. George Solar Photovoltaic

The Conservation Commission has recommended the Town negotiate a Power Purchase Agreement with one of several possible Maine solar providers to install a photovoltaic solar system on the Transfer Station and Salt Shed roofs.  The solar system would reduce the Town electric expenses while also reducing our impact on carbon emissions.

 

Educational Programs

A series of talks and other conservation education programs are conducted annually. Many of these programs are sponsored in collaboration with the Jackson Memorial Library and the Friends of St. George.  Information will be posted as details become available.

St. George Invasive Plant Initiative

 

The state of Maine has enacted new rules that ban the sale and distribution of 33  plants that have been deemed invasive and therefore problematic to the state's natural habitats.  The plants on the list have invaded farms, fields, forests and wetlands throughout the state.  In St. George they have also invaded our landscape and in some places have come to dominate.  Invasive plants spread to exclude many native plants that support our economy and natural areas.

 

Invasive Plants and native alternatives are listed on the Maine Horticulture Program web site:

http://www.maine.gov/dacf/php/horticulture/invasiveplants.shtml#Alternatives.

 

The St. George Conservation Commission has joined with the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) other State agencies in their mission to identify and eradicte invasive species.

 

St. George Conservation Commission Action Steps:

1. Inventory and monitor the location and extent of invasive plants on publicly owned and conservation protected lands in St. George.

2. Develop and carry out plans for the removal of invasive plants on Town owned and other publicly owned lands.  Plant native replacement plants as appropriate.

3. Conduct educational programs for homeowners on the problems created by invasive plants.  Provide support for homeowners to remove invasive plasnts and replant with native species.

 

Invasive Plants as a Maine Problem

 

According to Maine State Horticulturist, Gary Fish, invasive species pose a threat to natural habitats, or minimally managed habitats, becasue of how quickly they can spread and grow.  The spread of the plants is often unintentional, occurring by birds, animals, or the wind, which can pick up the plant's seeds and spread them to other places.  They grow so quickly they completely overtake the forested areas so that you actually can't even get the forest to regenerate.  Several plants on the list are still in demand according to Fish, including the Norway maple, burning bush, and privet.  Fish stressed that there are many alternative plants available (listed on their website) that can be used to replace the list of prohibited species.  The State rules only bar the prohibited species from being distributed or sold and do not require the removal of the species if already planted.  While the rules went into effect on Jan. 14, the prohibition of sales will not begin  until Jan. 1, 2018.

 

 

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Explore the Activities and Natural Beauty of St. George

Fort Point Trail Walkers

Visit the St. George Community Access Map for a listing of local:

            • Walking trails
            • Scenic vistas
            • Conserved Lands (open to the public)
            • Paddling Access Points
            • Town Public Landings
            • Local Lighthouses
       

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Online Resource Center

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Documents & Ordinances

Visit the Documents page to view the following:

  • Trail Maps for Jones Brook Area, Fort Point and Town Forest
  • Trail Agreement with Georges River Land Trust
  • Forest Management Plan
  • Natural Resources Maps
  • St. George School Trail Map

Related Information

Planning Board

Conservation Commission Meeting Minutes    2017     2016

Websites of Interest

Link to our Online Resource Center

 


Town Report Archive

2012 2011 2010 2009 2008

2007 2006 2005 2004 2003

2002

 


Focusing on Conservation

St. George Students assisting with the Alewives Program

 


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