In early June, volunteers planted 1,800 trees to restore a retired sand pit in Harrison, Maine, called Moon Valley to create wetlands and establish native vegetation.
Manomet’s Clear Water Carbon Fund (CWCF) partnered with the Western Foothills Land Trust, Maine Natural Resource Conservation Program, and the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership on the 14-acre project.
The goal of the collaboration was to improve wildlife habitat at the abandoned sand pit and protect the water quality of the Crooked River, which was given the highest classification by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for having outstanding water quality, aquatic habitat, and scenic and recreational value. The Crooked River supports a healthy native Brook Trout fishery and is highly valued for its fly fishing opportunities.
The CWCF is a program that works with community groups to plant trees along deforested river banks in New England, protecting clean water and wildlife habitat while absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Funding for the CWCF comes from individuals and businesses purchasing trees to protect water quality in their own communities.
At Moon Valley, the CWCF provided funding for 800 riparian and upland trees, and Manomet Program Manager Ethel Wilkerson oversaw the planting process to ensure that each tree was planted in the correct location using the proper planting techniques.
The project brought in over nine tons of soil and other organic materials to create wetlands and nourish the vegetation and trees that will inhabit the site. Volunteers spread a variety of specialty wetland grass seed and straw mulch across the site before planting 1,800 bare root trees which were selected for their adaptation to wetland, riparian, and upland environments.
“The restoration of Moon Valley brought together funds and expertise from a number of different organizations and volunteers to complete this important habitat improvement project,” Wilkerson said. “What was once a barren and abandoned parcel now has a complex of wetlands and 1,800 new trees that will provide wildlife habitat, improve air and water quality, and sequester carbon for years to come. I am proud that Manomet and the Clear Water Carbon Fund were able to be a part of this restoration project.”
Planting volunteers included a large group of homeschooled students and their parents, a high school biology class, members of the Western Foothills Land Trust, and Manomet staff members and their families.
“I was overjoyed to plant trees in the company of a family of ducks that was nesting near a pond that did not exist prior to this project,” said Lee Dassler, Executive Director of the Western Foothills Land Trust and the brainchild of the Moon Valley restoration project.
Over 100 of the trees planted at Moon Valley were sold as part of a partnership between the CWCF and Holmes Farm, which is located at Manomet’s headquarters property in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Each Christmas tree purchased at the Holmes Farm during the 2013 holiday season included a donation to the CWCF, and those donations were used to plant trees at Moon Valley.
Over the past two years, the CWCF has planted thousands of trees along rivers in Maine and Vermont. Additional 2014 plantings have occurred in the White River watershed in Vermont and in the Androscoggin River watershed in Maine.
Learn more about the Clear Water Carbon Fund at http://www.clearwatercarbonfund.org/.
– Haley Jordan