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Five Star Urban Waters Grant Awarded to Project in Hancock, Maine

Contact Information: 
David Deegan (
(617) 918-1017

BOSTON – Today, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), with support from the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), announced a grant for $46,093 to the Frenchman Bay Conservancy, based in Hancock, Maine, for protecting natural habitat, building trails and restoring the shoreline around the Union River.

The Frenchman Bay Conservancy grant was one of 46 Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program grants awarded this year nationally for a total of $1.7 million to restore wildlife habitat and urban waters in 22 states and the District of Columbia. Frenchman Bay Conservancy conserves ecosystems, lands, and waters for the benefit of all from the Union River and Frenchman Bay watersheds east to the Hancock County line.

Grantees nationwide have committed an additional $4.4 million in local project support, generating a total conservation investment of more than $6.1 million. This program supports community partnerships that conserve wildlife and restore river, wetland, riparian, forest and coastal ecosystems.

"EPA is pleased to continue our support for this innovative public-private partnership that encourages community stewardship and incentivizes local solutions to today's environmental and public health challenges," said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. "These projects will help local communities improve water quality, restore wetlands, and protect wildlife while creating additional recreational opportunities for the surrounding areas."

"The Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program supports community partnerships that restore and enhance our nation's fish and wildlife, while at the same time improving water quality and habitat for plants and animals," said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. "The 46 grants announced today will help local communities thrive by increasing resilience, improving green infrastructure and supporting the people and wildlife that call these places home."

"EPA's support for this public-private partnership encourages the community to be involved in their environment and find local solutions to the challenge of protecting the 21-mile Union River," said EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator Deborah Szaro. "This project will help improve local water quality and create additional recreational opportunities for the surrounding areas."

"This grant complements the work that Frenchman Bay Conservancy is doing in partnership with the Garden Club of Ellsworth and others through the Ellsworth Green Plan," said Aaron Dority, executive director of Frenchman Bay Conservancy. "The residents of Ellsworth have voiced their support for open space conservation and walking trails along the Union River. We're looking forward to working with the City and our partners to use this grant and make these projects happen."

This grant will bring a renewed focus to the Union River by restoring the shoreline, building public trails, conserving green space and encouraging the community to go outside and get into nature. It will fund a project to conserve 900 acres of high priority wildlife habitat, plant 500 native trees and remove invasive plants on 100 acres.

The grant is awarded through the NFWF's Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program, which support projects that develop community stewardship of natural resources and address water quality issues in priority watersheds across the country. Support for the 2019 Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program is provided by the Wildlife Habitat Council, and major funding by EPA, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fedex, Shell Oil Company, Southern Company and BNSF Railway.

More information:

The 2019 grant winners were selected from a highly competitive pool of more than 190 applications. A full list of 2019 projects are available here.

Since 1999, the Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program has supported almost a thousand projects, with more than $12.8 million in federal funds, $11.3 million in private and corporate contributions, and $78.8 million in matching funds at the local level.

For more information about the Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant program, visit