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Tracking Changes We See Today


You may see small changes in your backyard like the types of birds visiting your feeders or plants flowering earlier than they used to. Jack Witham, a forest scientist at Holt Research Forest in Arrowsic, has tracked the changes in the forest for 30+ years. Birds that were once rare, like the red-bellied woodpecker and tufted titmouse, now regularly visit the forest. Southern flying squirrels have taken up residence, replacing Maine’s native northern flying squirrel. These observations help us to understand how our natural communities are changing over time. KELT runs citizen science programs that train you to track changes by collecting information about local bird populations, invasive crabs, migrating fish, and water quality. Volunteers are welcome!


Additional Resources

Learn more about plant and animal species in Maine:

Species sensitive to environmental conditions whose health and populations indicate ecosystem well being.

List of invasive plant species in Maine with pictures, biology, and other information.

Learn about the the environmental impacts of the green crab, an invasive species, and KELT’s monitoring efforts.

Understand climate impacts on our water quality and fish:

Interactive map of Maine waterways, with fish spawning data, dam locations, and more.

Information about KELT’s Alewife counting program at the Nequasset Lake fish ladder in Woolwich.

Get involved with citizen science programs:

The iNaturalist mobile app allows you to document organisms, make observations, share and view data when in nature.

Observe and record seasonal changes in your natural community with this volunteer based program through the University of Maine.

Volunteer water quality sampling program monitoring temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, and plankton in Georgetown and Phippsburg.

Protecting Land

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The landscapes KELT conserves give people a place to recreate while also providing essential homes for plants and animals. When KELT considers a land protection project, we prioritize land that borders other undeveloped land, and we consider the different habitats the land contains. Larger preserves and more diverse habitat help species deal with changing conditions. During warm temperatures and droughts, animals can move to shaded slopes and wetlands that are cooler or wetter. If conditions change enough, connected land provides ‘wildlife corridors’ that enable animals to move to another part of the state with the food and resources they need to survive.


Additional Resources

Resiliency relies on local diversity of habitat and biology, resilient ecosystems help species deal with environmental changes on a local level.

Connectivity is the degree to which protected areas are continuous and allow for safe movement between areas and resources, particularly important for species during greater environmental changes.

Conservation efforts aim to protect diverse, resilient lands and in a way that increases connectivity of natural areas.

Visualize resilient lands and areas of ecological value:

Interactive map of landscape diversity and connectivity flows, as well as priority areas of the east coast.

Map exploring how marsh ecosystems would shift in Maine as sea levels rise.

Interactive map evaluating areas of resilience important to conserve under different sea level rise scenarios.

Understand the elements of resiliency and Connectivity:

Story map with information on resiliency and the methodology behind the resilient and connected lands map.

Story map covering land connectivity and the methodology of the sites for conservation map.

 Trapping Carbon and Controlling Floods

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Coastal Maine experiences periodic flooding that is becoming more common as increasing water temperatures and glacial melt cause sea waters to rise. Protecting and restoring coastal wetlands are important ways to help control this floodwater. High tides, storm surges, and snow melt are temporarily stored by marshes and other undeveloped shoreland, protecting nearby homes, buildings, roads, and bridges. KELT is partnering with the town of Woolwich, state agencies, and federal partners to improve road safety from flooding while also restoring a saltwater marsh along Route 1 and George Wright Road. Along with storing water, KELT's conservation projects can help to store carbon. The salt marshes and forests we protect trap carbon in their plants and soil. This simple act, done by trees and peat for millennia, keeps carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, when left undisturbed. 


Additional Resources

Visualize how sea level rise and storm surge would affect different areas:

Interactive map of sea level rise scenarios for the United States.

Map of sea level rise scenarios for Maine Coast
(zoom to an area of interest for layers to display).

Learn more about marshes and climate change:

Information about the value of marshes in mitigating the impacts of climate change and sea level rise.

Interactive map of sea level rise impacts on salt marsh areas in coastal Maine regions.

Information and additional resources on the ‘carbon sink’ capacity of wetland areas.

In the News

Housing and floods caused by rising sea levels threaten property values in Maine and New England, with $69.9 million lost in Maine and $403 million lost across the region, a study released Tuesday found. The report found dramatic dropoffs in home values from Kittery to Winter Harbor, with the most severely affected community being Bath, where researchers found two homes that should be worth nearly $150,000 apiece now valued at just more than $90,000 because of the higher water. -By Lori Valigra, Bangor Daily News Staff

 Keeping You Informed


Engaging people of all ages on how our earth’s climate is changing is a role KELT takes seriously. We partner with local 6th grade classes to teach students about what climate change is, why it is happening, and how it will change our lives and landscapes in Maine. KELT also teams up with our land trust neighbors to think and plan regionally about conservation practices that will help our region to deal with climate change. We strive to offer programs that keep people informed with the most up to date climate change information.


Additional Resources

community outreach programs and regional partnerships:

Learn about a collaborative effort of Maine land trusts to create coordinated landscape-level conservation in Maine.

See how KELT gets involved in the classroom and outside with local schools and children.

Learn about public events and workshops KELT holds throughout the year.

We could work together, not let the water rise
Make a very good plan, yes, that would be wise.
— Excerpt from 'Floods', a poem by 6th grade Bath Middle School student Marissa Williams

Maine Climate Future reports:

Maine climate future reports were brought together by the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute and assess regional impacts, vulnerabilities, and steps forward. Links to the main page along with each individual report and more!

conversation lecture series, Spring 2018:

Presentation on preparations for coastal storms and flooding given by Eileen Johnson.

Presentation on the impacts of climate change on coastal habitats given by Barbara Vickery and Kristen Puryear.

Presentation on components of hazard mitigation efforts given by Dwane Hubert.


Site for Maine Interagency Climate Adaptation work group, see their related materials for 2019 update on Maine’s climate change preparation.

Learn more about ticks in Maine, including risks, prevention methods, and identification.

Architects imagine ways for downtown Bath to adapt to sea level rise through city planning and design.