Advocating on behalf of public policies that are in the best interest of Maine’s wildlife and habitat is a key pillar of Maine Audubon’s mission.
Our approach is science-based, measured, and inclusive, and it depends in large part on our network of citizen activists, who prove again and again that people are the secret to successful advocacy.
Maine Audubon maintains a constant presence in Augusta, our state capital, where we advocate in front of legislative committees and work collaboratively with natural resource agencies as the state’s leading wildlife conservation organization. We also advocate at the federal level on policies that impact Maine, especially now as our nation’s bedrock environmental laws face increasing threats.
Visit our Take Action page to find your representatives and to be in touch with decision-makers as they face votes that will impact Maine wildlife today. Be sure to sign up for our Action Alerts to keep you informed on wildlife and habitat policy as a part of our community activist network.
Maine’s Environmental Priorities Coalition
As a member of the Maine Environmental Priorities Coalition, Maine Audubon works closely with environmental, conservation, and public health organizations in Maine representing over 100,000 members to protect the good health, good jobs, and quality of life that our environment provides. Learn more at maineepc.org.
Maine Audubon Advocacy Focus Areas
Land for Maine’s Future
Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) is Maine’s most successful land conservation program, responsible for protecting more than 600,000 acres in the state, including more than 325,000 acres of working farms, forests, and waterfronts, miles and miles of recreational trails, and critical wildlife habitat.
Since 1987, Maine voters have consistently approved bonds to purchase land in fee or easements designed to conserve Maine’s favorite recreational and natural areas. Maine Audubon has also supported LMF from the beginning, recognizing the contributions the program makes to Maine’s natural-resource based economy, the conservation of our wildlife and natural heritage, and the quality of life for Maine people and visitors alike.
Climate Change and Renewable Energy
Climate change is the most significant threat to Maine’s wildlife and habitat. Impacts to wildlife and habitat due to climate change under a “business as usual” scenario—in which Mainers continue at the same levels of consumption and emission of fossil fuels—are particularly severe.
That’s why Maine Audubon supports policies that transition Maine to a clean energy economy. Advancements in solar, wind, and other renewable energy technologies mean that achieving 100% renewable energy consumption in Maine by 2050 can happen if we work collaboratively, diligently, and in the best interests of Maine’s people and wildlife alike.
Forest Habitat Stewardship
Maine’s 18 million acres of working forests represent the largest stretch of nearly unfragmented forest in the eastern United States. Forest landowners, land managers, foresters, and loggers have a long tradition of providing a variety of forest products with numerous public benefits, from outdoor recreation to Maine Audubon’s primary interest—wildlife and habitat. We support policies that continue this tradition, as well as new practices to improve habitat stewardship for Maine wildlife.
Plastic pollution causes significant harm to wildlife, especially seabirds. In 1960, plastic was found in the stomachs of fewer than 5% of birds, but by 1980 that number had jumped to 80%, and it’s estimated that today it’s to up to 90%. Plastic found inside birds includes bags, bottle caps, synthetic fibers from clothing, and “microplastics”—plastic that has been broken down by the sun and waves over time. Maine Audubon supports policies that reduce plastic prevalence and that keep the plastic that we do need out of our natural environment.
Compared to other states, Maine has relatively clean water, and as a result, Maine is the last stronghold in the eastern U.S. for wild Brook Trout and the only state that still has a population of endangered Atlantic Salmon. It also harbors the largest population of Common Loons in the eastern U.S. On top of that, 85% of Maine vertebrate species either live in aquatic habitats throughout their lives or use aquatic habitats or habitats adjacent to ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands, and the coast throughout the course of a year to find food, breed, and travel. Clean water is essential for fish, loons, and all wildlife. Maine Audubon supports policies that keep pollution and invasive species out of our waterways and that otherwise maintain or improve this essential resource.
Maine’s 10.5 million acres of North Woods are the heart and soul of the Northern Appalachian/Acadian Forest—the largest intact temperate forest in North America. The forest contains ecosystems across a climate gradient as diverse as all of Europe. This landscape and plant diversity creates a mosaic of habitats for many species of wildlife, including the largest moose population in the lower 48 states, the nation’s largest population of Canada Lynx, and a Common Loon population second only to Minnesota. The North Woods is a veritable baby bird factory, making it the largest globally significant Important Bird Area in the continental United States.
Maine Audubon supports the goals of Keeping Maine’s Forests—a collaboration of public and private forest landowners, managers, and conservation organizations—to “keep Maine’s forests as forests” through a combination of working forests, ecological reserves, and improved habitat stewardship; closely follows the work of the Land Use Planning Commission, the planning and zoning authority for the majority of this area; and advocates for policies that support its diverse habitats and conserves this unparalleled natural resource.
New development can alter when, where, and how animals move between habitats. Wildlife needs large areas, uninterrupted by human disturbance, to find prey and maintain enough genetic diversity to maintain strong populations. Maine Audubon advocates for policies that facilitate fish and wildlife movement across the landscape, such as funding for Stream Smart culverts and directing development to designated growth areas.
Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Species
As species’ populations begin to drop or as once-common plant and animal species become less common in Maine, it’s imperative that the state and the federal government assess, plan, and act. Maine Audubon advocates for policies that protect and help recover vulnerable species, such as the federal Endangered Species Act and Maine’s Endangered Species Act. The success of these laws and others is incumbent upon functioning, well-funded natural resource agencies at the state and federal level, as well as a public that is committed to wildlife stewardship.
Read our Legislative Summary for the First Session of the 129th Maine Legislature, featuring big wins for renewable energy, clean water, the Maine Endangered Species Act, and other issues.Leg Summary 2019 web