Manomet’s Clear Water Carbon Fund (CWCF) is working with the Maine Department of Transportation to plant trees at the site of a new bridge, crossing the Androscoggin River near the town of Rumford.
The Fund is a voluntary carbon offset program that works with community groups to plant trees along deforested river banks, protecting clean water and wildlife habitat while absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Over the past two years, the Fund has planted thousands of trees along rivers in Maine and Vermont.
In late October, Manomet Program Manager Ethel Wilkerson and Jeff Stern of the Androscoggin River Watershed Council met with engineers from the Maine Department of Transportation (DOT) to discuss planting trees at the site of the new bridge. The group agreed that trees at this site would filter salt, sand and sediment from the road and keep pollutants from entering the river.
“The collaboration between Clear Water Carbon Fund and Maine DOT could ensure that trees are planted at the site without straining the budget of a public infrastructure project,” Wilkerson said.
This partnership is still in its early stages. Construction on the bridge began this fall and will continue for two years. The trees are scheduled to be planted during the fall of 2015.
The CWCF is funded by individuals and businesses purchasing trees to reduce their carbon footprint while protecting water quality in their own communities.
“This creative finance model provides a unique opportunity to ‘green’ a public infrastructure project without using public funds – keeping the project on budget while keeping the river clean and healthy,” Wilkerson said. “It provides an example of how non-profits and state government can work together to protect our natural resources.”
Learn more about the Clear Water Carbon Fund at http://www.clearwatercarbonfund.org/.