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The Tondreau Project

Amelia Graham
June 30, 2022

We have completed fundraising for the Tondreau Project! Thank you so much to everyone who made this new preserve possible. Stay tuned for more information about when the trail will be built!

Harpswell Heritage Land Trust (HHLT) has an exciting new opportunity to acquire a 57-acre property on Great Island to help protect the waters and marine resources of Quahog Bay and preserve a significant wildlife habitat. The property includes stunning shoreline views and a beautiful mixed forest with a carpet of mosses and lichens. Keeping this land wild will protect the rural character and quality of life that makes Harpswell special. A future trail system will provide quiet, pleasant trails for walkers and exploration and learning opportunities for nature lovers. The property is located across the Harpswell Islands Road from the Harpswell Community School.

Why This Property?

The large size (for Harpswell) of the Tondreau property means protecting a significant block of wildlife habitat which, when you include the property’s intertidal habitat, support at least 11 bird species the State of Maine has designated to be of “greatest conservation need,” including waterfowl, wading birds, and shorebirds.

Photo by Greg Tondreau

The property also helps protect the clean water of Quahog Bay, which is vital for our marine resources. Quahog Bay is shallow and has narrow entrances leading to the open ocean. This means the bay is warmer and has less capacity to hold the oxygen needed by marine life than other bays. Much of the shore of Quahog Bay is densely developed with small building lots. Nitrogen runoff from abutting septic systems reaches the bay and promotes algal growth. The algae block the sunlight from reaching other marine plants and depletes the bay’s oxygen supply. Preserving the Tondreau property’s 2,600 feet of shorefront from development will protect the bay, its waters, and its wildlife from the runoff that come with development. Critical commercially important marine resources affected by the property include softshell clams, quahogs, and European and American oysters. 

As the property is in the Brickyard Watershed Focus Area of Harpswell’s Open Space Plan, preserving it moves the Town one step closer to meeting the Town’s conservation goals.

Why Now?

This land had been in the same family since the 1940s and belonged to Anna M Tondreau at her passing in 2018. Her children, hoping to see the land conserved forever, have offered to sell the property to HHLT for $500,000, which is only 30 percent of the value of $1,650,000 identified by HHLT’s appraiser.

With the pace of new subdivisions of the last two years in particular, opportunities to conserve vital waterfront land are disappearing.  When opportunities arise to preserve land forever, they must be seized before they are lost forever.

Click here to read an excellent article from the Harpswell Anchor about the Tondreau family’s history and their motivation to see their land protected.

Click here to read the recent article about this project by HHLT Trustee Doug Warren.

Our Goal

We need to raise $565,000 to purchase the property and set aside money to steward it forever. Please help us protect this valuable natural resource for Harpswell’s future generations.

Raising money for the Tondreau property acquisition is part of HHLT’s Forever Campaign. The campaign has three goals: to grow our endowment to ensure our long-term sustainability as an organization, to grow our Special Places Fund to provide for future conservation acquisitions and to raise the money needed to close on the Tondreau property. Any money raised in excess of our goal to complete the Tondreau project will be put toward the other two goals of this campaign.