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Middle Branch Mousam River

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Middle Branch Mousam River
CountryUnited States
Physical characteristics
 • locationMaine

The Middle Branch Mousam River is a 13.9-mile-long (22.4 km)[1] river in southern Maine, flowing through the town of Alfred in York County. It is a tributary of the Mousam River, which flows to the Atlantic Ocean.

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/1
  • Profiles in Woodland Stewardship - Town of Falmouth


NARRATOR: In Falmouth, Maine, the town is actively conserving land to protect the rural character of their community for future generations. These properties are managed for recreation, wildlife and watershed protection, a process that includes periodic wood harvesting. NATHAN POORE: For the past five to six years, the town of Falmouth has really taken a few new steps to increase its open space acquisition. In 2007, the voters decided to appropriate a fairly large sum of money for the purchase of open space, and at about the same time the town also made a decision to create a position of Open Space Ombudsman. That person was hired on as a consultant, Bob Shafto, and he works with us today and has been very helpful in the open space acquisitions, staffing our committees and also helping us manage the property through forest management and other practices. BOB SHAFTO: This is a working forest, one of our conservation properties that we practice forest management on. If you were here 100 years ago, this would all have been pasture and over time, of course, it all just grew back into woods. The trail head is out where we parked, of course. We don't want to follow this root road. You can see this is sort of the main drag for the harvesting, where the skidders dragged all the trees out to here, and consequently, this road here got a lot of traffic, and to mitigate the impact of that traffic on the soil, they piled up a lot of branches and a lot of slash. So trying to walk through there is pretty difficult, so we're taking the trail in this way, and you can see it's already been pinflagged. We're basically following the pins. Think about yourself holding a door and walking through the woods. You want clearance at least six, eight feet high if you can get it and about three feet wide. CALEB HEMPHILL: We're selective about what roots we take out. We don't want to be killing any trees. I enjoy using the open spaces that our community has. I'm active with our local Land Trust and been active with our Conservation Commission and Open Space Subcommittee, plus I'm a mountain biker and enjoy using these trails in a sustainable way, and it's a good opportunity to have people access areas that heretofore have not really been accessible at all. It's a great opportunity. We've done a great job in our community of acquiring land and securing rights and privileges to use these areas. This is sort of a way to make good use of it. It's been well-received by our community and I hope to do a bunch more. SHAFTO: If you look at these trees, they're all the same height basically and the same size, what foresters call an "even age stand." There's hardly any understory. There is now because we're getting more light into it, but the object is to open it up and get more light and get diversity in the forest. And the way the cut is organized is what's called "worst first." So you take out the infirm trees, the trees that lack vigor, trees that have been damaged, storm damage, that kind of thing and you leave the strong, larger trees. So as you look in the areas that have been cut you'll notice, for example, big pine trees that have been left. And that's for a reason: because we want them to grow even bigger and we want them to generate seed to reseed the area. The wildlife in here is pretty limited. Without any understory, you're missing a whole set of species that normally would be here. So by diversifying it, you get wildlife benefits and you also grow much healthier, stronger trees. POORE: What we've discovered is that with good forest management plans for each of our properties, we've been able to diversify habitat, ensure that the tree growth in those stands are healthier than what they were before. Aside to all of that, it's also generated some income for the town to be able to use that for additional open space planning and acquisition programs. SHAFTO: One of our premises on our Open Space Initiative is these properties have to pay benefits back to the community, and that can be recreation, snowmobiling, and nature study and mountain biking and hiking and all those kind of things, but it can also be resource sets. We have one and are about to build a second wood-fired boiler to heat our schools in town. Well, that requires wood chips. Our schools are saving hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on heating now by getting off oil. You know, the argument for me is very similar to the argument being made now for locally grown food. Don't drive your food here 3,000 miles to eat it when you can grow it here. Well, we ought to be growing our own energy. Maine has a tremendous energy potential in wood. You know, our motto is "see new places, meet new faces." Most of these trails are on properties of people in Falmouth, most people have never seen, don't know exist. And they're beautiful when you're out on them. And the other thing that's been a serendipitous benefit, we have people here like Dave, who's lived in town for over 70 years, and then we have Ben, who's 21, 22 years old. Sometimes we have kids ten, 11 years old with their parents and the stories that get told, what Falmouth was like in the 1950s. So it's a way of community building and sort of transmitting from one generation to another the local lore. KEN CANFIELD: Yup, so that's that bark right there. And they have, even though they're a big, long-lived tree... POORE: We've been fortunate enough to have our Open Space Ombudsman working with the conservation commission and others, partnering with our local school department, bringing students out into the field, measuring certain aspects and attributes of different tree stands and habitat areas and then going back in future years and looking at those changes. CANFIELD: I get about 110, but I'm a little taller than you. And this day that we had here today, that was kind of another coincidence where the teacher from Falmouth Middle School, Chris Olsen... CHRIS OLSEN: Well, thank you, everybody. CANFIELD: ...right about the time I met with Bob had gotten into contact with me, I think through Project Learning Tree, wanting to do something about trees. And a couple of us went in the first year, right into the school and did it, but then we kind of connected with Bob and said, "Hey, you know, this middle school is interested in learning about some of this stuff," and since then we've been bringing them here. So which one do you guys think is the oldest one? How big was this? Where's the circle from when it was one year old? Right in the middle. Right there. These things tend to crack as they dry, so this one is pretty beat up, but... This center one, that's where it was one year old. So where's the newest one? Right over here? Right under the bark, basically, so the bark was out here. This is the last growth ring. The first year, the harvest hadn't even happened yet, so the kids-- this was just a little trail right here and all overgrown-- and the kids came in and got to see it and do the forestry day. And then they actually came back, that first group came back after they had done this harvest and saw the difference. PAT MALONEY: Who wants to take the temperature a foot above the water? Right there, you can do it right from there. Just hold it about that high above the water and see if there's a change. What we're trying to see is whether the air temperature is different from the water temperature itself. Grab a little of this. Come on, don't be bashful, you're sixth graders. SHAFTO: The Maine Forest Service has been a terrific partner for the town and every step of this process for either technical advice, activities like today, having school kids out here, and the educational piece is a big part of our management of our properties. And also, the funding the canopy has provided has certainly been very helpful. CANFIELD: Bob's done a great job managing this all and really being the driving force behind a lot of this to get it going. It's great to have a town that wants to do that. OLSEN: This went well, huh? SHAFTO: We have a recreational trails program grant, which is a wonderful source of money for trail building for groups throughout Maine, and we recently got a $25,000-plus grant that's paying for our bridges and our signs and our kiosk and all the other improvements that we need to make here, such as the parking lot, for example. POORE: There's been a level of education that we didn't expect. We've had some people question, "Well, gee, if you purchase property "and you're planning on managing it in conservation, shouldn't you let the property just go forever wild?" So there's been an education process to try to inform people that forest management is not inconsistent with conservation efforts. SHAFTO: That stream that goes across here is Hobbs Brook. It runs into the East Branch and then into the Presumpscot. This is sort of the head waters, and one of the reasons we're doing the conservation land that we're doing is to protect the water quality of Casco Bay and of course recharge. Everybody out here is on wells... The idea is to, again, diversity, to get in patches of starting succession all the way back to ground zero, so you'll have ferns and blueberries and raspberries and blackberries and those kind of things first, and then trees. But it's designed to break up the uniformity of the woods. When you look at this from an aerial photograph, before the cutting it looked like a green carpet of astroturf-- everything's the same size and it's just uniformly green. So we're trying to interrupt that, make it have different stages of plant succession, which gives you more variety of habitat, more variety of wildlife, and a healthier forest. This is Falmouth's newest acquisition, the East Branch Conservation Area. It's 55 acres along the East Branch of the Piscataquis River, very productive wildlife area and of course important for preserving the water quality of Casco Bay. We do have a canoe trail that starts here. This property is going to be left forever wild, not managed for forestry. Nature will take its course here. My feeling is you can't preserve nature. Nature's always changing. And if you're not going to harvest these trees, nature's going to do it because there are too many here. These trees won't all survive. They're overcrowded and subject to insect attacks. So it's not unlike your garden. You know, you thin the carrots because you want a few bigger carrots rather than many little tiny carrots. And in 30 years, we're going to be making some fairly substantial money here in terms of selling high-quality timber, not wood chips but saw logs and oak veneer logs, and those kind of things. POORE: Open space is a value to any community. In a community, suburban like Falmouth, that already has much of its property developed, it's important to try to maintain some of the town's heritage-- old farming areas, natural resource areas-- yet while maintaining a balance for those areas that can continue to grow. Open space is important for so many things, from ecological values, habitat values, recreation values, wellness, getting people outside. And it diversifies the overall makeup of the town, adding value to all properties.

See also


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map Archived 2012-03-29 at the Wayback Machine, accessed June 30, 2011

43°25′46″N 70°41′08″W / 43.42953°N 70.68561°W / 43.42953; -70.68561

This page was last edited on 10 June 2022, at 20:28
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