Beginning with Habitat


BwH Regional Perspective

About Map | Data Components | Background Information | Strategies for Local Action

About Map:

BwH Regional PerspectiveThe data presented here represents a compilation of core Beginning with Habitat map products and provides a landscape view of water resources, high value plant and animal habitats, and undeveloped blocks. For more information, please consult 1:24,000 (town level) Beginning with Habitat Map 1: Water Resources and Riparian Habitats, Map 2: High Value Plant and Animal Habitats and Map 3: Undeveloped Habitat Blocks and Habitat Connections.

Comprehensive field surveys do not exist for all areas in Maine, so some important habitats may not be mapped. Habitat features on this map are based on limited field surveys, aerial photo interpretation, and computer modeling. Habitat data is updated regularly. Information presented on this map should be used as a planning reference only. Map users should consult with the Beginning with Habitat program to verify that data illustrated on this map is still current prior to utilizing it for planning decisions.

Data Components: (Data Sources)

Impervious/Developed Areas- Areas of impervious surfaces including buildings and roads.

Map 1 Water Resources and Riparian Habitats Information- Including lakes, ponds, rivers, streams and coastal waters, as well as wetlands greater than 10 acres in size. It also includes potential riparian buffers (250 feet along ponds greater than 10 acres in size, rivers, coastal waters, and wetlands greater than 10 acres in size and 75 feet along streams).

Map 2 High Value Plant and Animal Habitats Information- Including rare, threatened or endangered plant and animal occurrences, rare and exemplary natural communities, Essential Wildlife Habitats, and Significant Wildlife Habitats.

Map 3 Undeveloped Habitat Blocks Information- Including undeveloped habitat blocks and development buffers.

Focus Areas of Statewide Ecological Significance- Landscape-scale areas meriting special conservation attention. These "focus areas" were built around documented locations of rare plants, animals, and natural communities; high quality common natural communities; significant wildlife habitats; and their intersections with large blocks of undeveloped habitat.  Focus Areas are designed to bring attention to areas with concentrations of known rare and significant plant and animal habitats.  Many focus areas cross town boundaries and will require the cooperation of adjacent towns and/or land trusts to conserve them.

Background Information:

Maine's diverse plant and wildlife populations and natural resource and natural community occurrences don't recognize town boundaries. Towns share rivers and streams with neighboring communities, lakes are bisected by town lines, and species migrate between municipalities. Nearly all of Maine's Focus Areas of Statewide Ecological Significance include multiple towns. Residents of any given town depend on nearby communities for jobs, cultural amenities, and outdoor recreation. Decisions made by towns up river or up wind from our homes or even within a shared viewshed may impose immediate impacts to our daily lives, but incremental land use decisions in neighboring communities also have the potential to significantly degrade the quality of local resources over time.

Planning for natural resources requires not only assessing the resources present within your town, but also considering the natural habitat connections that cross municipal boundaries. Maintaining communications with neighboring towns is an effective way to ensure that consistent approaches are taken to protect shared resources along town borders, and helps to lay the foundation for more formal regional partnerships. Multi-town cooperation can also improve chances for land acquisition grant funding whether through state, federal or private sources.

In order to help your town visualize the extent of shared resources, Beginning with Habitat (BwH) provides a Regional Perspective that highlights the significant natural resources in your town as well as in the surrounding communities. This map can help identify your regionally shared resources and it can serve as a starting point for multi-town discussions of how to plan together for the future of these resources.

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Strategies for Local Action:

  • Review maps of high value habitat and/or open space plans with local officials from neighboring towns, land trusts, and other conservation organizations.
  • Meet cooperatively with neighboring towns, land trusts, conservation organizations, and your regional planning commission to discuss the conservation of large blocks of habitat across political boundaries.
  • Meet cooperatively with neighboring town planning groups to discuss consistent regulations for shared habitats and waterways.
  • Meet cooperatively with neighboring towns, land trusts, and conservation organizations with mutual watersheds to explore the protection of water quality and develop watershed protection plans across political boundaries.

To learn more about specific strategies for local action, visit the Beginning with Habitat (BwH) Toolbox or contact BwH.

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