10th Annual Private Lands Conservation Workshop Come to Maine

BANGOR, Maine (WABI) Hundreds of private, tribal, and federal landowners from across the country met in Bangor.

The 2-day Private Lands Conservation Workshop is an annual event now in its 10th year.

It highlights voluntary, incentive-based conservation collaborations.

Greg Sheehan, for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service says, "Every element that we believe is necessary for collaborative communication and conservation happens right here in Maine."

Groups of landowners from across the country are gathering together to discuss the importance of conservation particularly on privately owned land.

Maine is home to the largest contiguous area of privately owned forest in the country and has a lot to show for its conservation practices.

Marcia McKeague, of the Keeping Maine's Forests says, "We've shown them things ranging from dam removals and stream connectivity, culvert improvements, conservation easements, recreation management and what private land owners have done on their property to manage wildlife to improve fish habitat."

Attendees say it's all about learning from one another and starting a conversation about conservation and how things can be better.

Jim Stone, Chairman for the Partners for Conservation says, "What we saw in stream restoration and timber management is a lot of what we're doing in Montana or across the west but at the same time there are a lot of tools we saw that we can take back."

Leonard John, of the USDA National Resources Conservation Services says, "The diversity in models of success, we can always learn from those. We may not always utilize everything, that for instance Montana folks have utilized but there may be a nugget or two there that we can integrate in the Maine model that will deliver even greater success."

The collaboration is not only for the benefit of private landowners across the nation but also for rural communities and economies.

McKeague says, "These things are really important to the economy of this state, to the country as a whole. It maintains rural economies to have these private lands functioning as working landscapes."