Great conservation projects get Sun Edison boost

Cold Stream Forest ProjectThe initial list of conservation projects getting a boost from a $2.5 million conservation fund from SunEdison is very impressive. Funding will go to some great projects providing fish passage, public access and recreation, and habitat conservation. The contribution was part of a settlement between SunEdison and Friends of Maine Mountains which agreed to withdraw its court appeal of SunEdison’s Bingham Wind project in Somerset County.

Considering that the FMM appeal was very unlikely to succeed, the group’s achievement with this settlement ought to be widely applauded. Unfortunately, the Friends group got roasted by other wind power opponents for accepting the agreement. You just can’t please some of these folks.

Rand Stowell, FMM’s founder, explained the settlement well, noting that, “FMM is committed to preserving Maine’s unique natural resources, particularly its prized mountains. Working with SunEdison on this agreement has allowed us to advance those efforts and fund important conservation projects in the State.”

Kurt Adams, SunEdison’s senior vice president and a guy I have known and admired for many years, explained, “We have deep roots in Maine, many of us live here and we value the state as a special place that is worthy of protection.” Kurt said SunEdison’s folks “are excited” to be working with conservation and environmental groups “to preserve the state’s open spaces so that they can be enjoyed by generations to come.”

The first $1.5 million will go to a number of Maine conservation and environmental groups: The Trust for Public Land, Appalachian Mountain Club, Maine Appalachian Trail Land Trust, Forest Society of Maine, Atlantic Salmon Federation, and Mahoosuc Land Trust.

Here’s the impressive list of projects that will receive funding.

TPL Projects

Redington Forest, Redington TWP $200,000

Lone Mountain, Mt. Abram TWP $100,000

Perham Stream $120,000

Cold Stream Forest, The Forks $120,000

Bald Mountain Pond, Bald Mountain Pond TWP $200,000

AMC Projects

Habitat and Resource Conservation on AMC Lands $100,000

Creating Public Recreational Access on the Medawisla/Roach Ponds Conservation Lands $125,000

Securing Access to Conservation Lands $100,000

MATLT Projects

Redington Forest Project $110,000

Gulf Hagas – Whitecap $50,000

High Peaks Initiative $15,000

Community Hike Program $10,000

ASF Project

Blackstone Brook Fish Passage $50,000

FSM Project

Gulf Hagas – Pleasant River Project $150,000

Mahoosuc Land Trust Project

Ellis River/Whitecap Project $50,000

Bat Research

In addition to all of these great projects, SunEdison will contribute $250,000 to research wind turbine bat deterrent technology. The grant will go to Bat Conservation International, which is conducting research on the brown bat species that has been devastated by white-nose syndrome. Brown bats were listed as endangered in our state during the 2015 legislative session.

More conservation awards from the $2.5 million fund are expected to occur in 2017.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.