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North Cape Restoration Funds Contribute to Enormous Land Conservation Deal

Date Posted: October 16, 2001

Five hundred thousand dollars will be put towards the purchase of a conservation easement on approximately 762,000 acres of land in northern Maine (the Pingree Easement). An additional $200,000 over five years will be used to protect and enhance the property’s loon population. The funds came from a settlement agreement to restore natural resources impacted by the North Cape Oil Spill in southern Rhode Island. The spill occurred during a January 1996 storm, when a 340-foot oil barge, the North Cape, ran aground on Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge, resulting in the state’s largest oil spill - 828,000 gallons of home heating oil. The spill killed roughly nine million lobsters, more than 400 loons, and 1,600 other marine birds, as well as over a million pounds of clams, oysters, amphipods and other species. As part of the settlement, the responsible parties agreed to pay $8 million to restore natural resources, including $3 million for loon restoration. Because loon populations in New England are primarily limited by nesting success, the agencies acting on behalf of the natural resources (trustees) will focus on enhancing breeding populations in the northeast. The trustees contribution towards the purchase of the Pingree Easement and the five year loon conservation effort are the first of the loon restoration projects. Last year, lakes on the property supported 24 nesting pairs of loons.

Molly Sperduto, 603-223-2541.

Last updated: June 12, 2015