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Conservation Priorities

Maine’s Beginning with Habitat program has to identified conservation priorities for the state, known as theBeginnging with Habitat (BwH) Focus Areas of Statewide Ecological Significance. These Focus Areas represent the richest concentrations of biological resources state-wide and include at-risk plant and animal occurrences and rare and exemplary natural communities within a matrix of relatively intact landscape that buffers and provides connectivity for those elements. The BwH focus areas range in size from 105,000 acres surrounding Kennebec Estuary, 60,000 acres around Cobscook Bay and 6,200 acres at Kennebunk Plains.

These non-regulatory areas are intended as a planning tool for landowners, conservation entities and towns. BwH focus areas, unlike some other habitat values, are tied to specific environmental settings and are not geographically transferable. Thus they warrant place-specific conservation attention through a variety of methods ranging from conservation acquisition to focused implementation of best management practices. It is hoped that identification of BwH focus areas will help to build regional awareness and concentrate conservation initiatives in those areas of the landscape with the greatest biodiversity significance.

Click here to view a map of Maine's Conservation Priorities.

Featured Conservation Priorities in Maine

  • Beginning with Habitat Focus Areas

    To date, collaborative efforts by state, federal, and conservation organization biologists have resulted in the designation of 140 Focus Areas of statewide ecological significance.

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  • Maine Wildlife Action Plan

    Maines Wildlife Action Plan addresses the full array of fish and wildlife and their habitats across the entire state, targeting species in greatest need of conservation while seeking to keep "common species common."

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  • Maine Audubon Important Bird Areas

    An IBA is an area that provides important habitat for one or more species of breeding, wintering, or migrating birds.

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  • TNC Ecoregional Priorities in Maine

    Working across the country with numerous partners, The Nature Conservancy establishes conservation goals and priorities as part of a ranking process that assesses global habitats and identifies high-priority ecological regions. These analyses develop and disseminate finer-scale data on a variety of measures: the distribution and status of biodiversity, the habitat condition, current and future threats, and important sociopolitical conditions influencing regional conservation success.

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Quick Facts

Maine Natural Areas Program
93 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333

Contact Information

Phone: (207) 287-8044
Fax: (207) 287-8040


Founded in: 1979

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