November 23, 2022

Largest Acquisition in Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife's History Takes Shape

AROOSTOOK COUNTY, Maine — As a first step in realizing a new state Wildlife Management Area, The Conservation Fund announced today its purchase of 6,326 acres in eastern Maine’s Aroostook County. Hunters, anglers, kayakers and canoers will be among the first to benefit from the future protection of the Reed Deadwater/Juniper Brook property, which is located within an hour’s drive from Lincoln, Houlton and Millinocket.

A priority for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife (MDIFW), the property features 3,000 acres of deer wintering habitat within the heart of an important, 9,000-acre deer wintering area, significant wetlands supporting rare species and a unique bog ecosystem. The Conservation Fund will work with MDIFW during its interim ownership to ensure the continued quality of these critical habitats. The property will remain open access during the Fund’s ownership. MDIFW intends to use funding from the Land for Maine’s Future program and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program and Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration program for its future acquisition in 2023.

“All of us at The Conservation Fund are pleased to help secure this important deer wintering and recreation area for the people of Maine,” said Tom Duffus, the Fund’s vice president & northeast representative based in Freeport. “Combined with the compelling recreation opportunities and the conservation of habitat, residents and visitors alike will have much to enjoy for generations to come.”

The Conservation Fund purchased the Reed Deadwater/Juniper Brook property from Lakeville Shores, Inc. through its Working Forest Fund® program, which is dedicated to mitigating climate change, strengthening rural economies and protecting natural ecosystems through the permanent conservation of at-risk working forests. Lakeville Shores, Inc. was very supportive of this conservation effort and brought the project to The Conservation Fund.

Located near 45,000 acres of public and privately conserved land, the property hosts the rare wood turtle and Tomah mayfly, provides plentiful wading bird and waterfowl habitat, and supports hundreds of Species of Greatest Conservation Need as identified in Maine’s Wildlife Action Plan. The property’s Macwahoc Stream contains a population of state threatened brook floater mussels and provides critical habitat for Atlantic salmon.

“The Reed Deadwater area is such a unique natural area. Not only does it provide over 3,000 acres of deer wintering habitat that benefit deer and other upland wildlife, but its unique ecosystem is home to some of our rarer species, such as wood turtles and the Tomah mayfly as well,” said Judy Camuso, commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “Conserving such a large, intact parcel of Maine’s wilderness has benefits not only for our fish and wildlife, but all of us who enjoy the Maine outdoors.”

Once the property is conveyed to MDIFW, a deer-focused management plan will improve hunting success while other efforts will ensure the quality of fish habitat. Outdoor enthusiasts will be able to explore the property by canoe, kayak or snowmobile using existing roads, and MDIFW will monitor vehicular uses to ensure habitats are not negatively affected.

“The historic Reed Deadwater conservation project marks the beginning of one of the most important investments in Maine wildlife in my lifetime,” said David Trahan, executive director of Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. “This is the largest Wildlife Management Area purchase focusing on deer as a priority by Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in their history. It will serve as a destination for outdoor recreation, and hunters, anglers and trappers will use it for generations. Equally important, the project invests in thousands of acres of deer wintering areas that will benefit deer and the nearly 50 other wildlife species that need the same habitat. This project is a model for the nation, and we are proud of our role in generating funding for the Land for Maine’s Future Program and a focus on deer wintering areas.”

This conservation effort will also ensure the Reed Deadwater/Juniper Brook property is protected from any mining threats. As part of this project, Brookfield Private Equity Holdings, LLC and another Maine entity have agreed to gift mineral rights to the Fund so those rights could be reunited with the land.

“Brookfield is dedicated to making positive economic, social, and environmental impacts in the regions which host our facilities,” said David Heidrich, Maine-based spokesperson for Brookfield Renewable U.S. “Reuniting the mineral rights with these now-conserved lands will ensure that both wildlife and recreators can experience this region of Maine without future risk of disturbance. We are very pleased to have been able to support The Conservation Fund and the state’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife department with this gift.”

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than 8.5 million acres of land, including 485,000 acres in Maine.

Contact: Joshua Lynsen | 703-908-5809 |