Smelt Cove Wetlands

Funding Round/Year: 
Project Sponsor: 
Maine Coast Heritage Trust
MNRCP Region: 
Central Interior and Midcoast
Total Cost of Project: 
MNRCP Award: 
Project Type: 
Fee Acquisition with Restoration or Enhancement
smelt cove photo
Project Description: 
This project involves the conservation of a 48 acre parcel through fee acquisition with subsequent enhancement. For several decades, Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) and Vinalhaven Land Trust have been working to conserve lands on Seal Bay in the town of Vinalhaven. Seal Bay has been designated as a "Whole Place" by MCHT; priority areas that exemplify the character of coastal Maine where MCHT has the opportunity to achieve broad conservation goals and protect the integrity of the wildlife habitat and cultural and community qualities of these special places. To date, 26 projects have been completed in the Seal Bay Whole Place resulting in the conservation of approximately 1,200 acres. The Smelt Cove property is one of the last remaining undeveloped parcels of its size with significant frontage (8,000 ft) on Seal Bay .The parcel includes nearly all of the frontage on Smelt Cove as well as Barney’s Point and Near Point. Its convoluted shoreline has resulted in a notable mix of fringing Spartina Salt Marsh communities, extensive intertidal mudflat habitat, rockweed covered ledge, and deep water frontage. A significant portion of the shoreline supports fringing saltmarsh. Mudflats dominate the intertidal zone. A productive mussel bar occurs along the northeastern shoreline. Almost all of the intertidal portions of this property have been designated as Significant Tidal Waterfowl and Wadingbird Habitat. Non-tidal wetland resources on the property are dominated by palustrine forested wetlands. Acquisition in fee will allowed MCHT to address some past land use practices including removal of non-conforming structures in the shoreland zone and restoration of wetlands and stream crossings created during past forestry operations.