Crossing onto the St. George peninsula on Route 131, sweeping views of “Georges River” are unobstructed by development and enlivened by the flutter of bobolinks and the trajectories of great blue herons, bald eagles and osprey over green hay fields.

Just over the railroad tracks, 38 acres of the former Anderson Farm stretch down to the river and nourish some of the most productive mudflats along the coast of Maine. Georges River Land Trust is working to ensure this ground will remain available to wildlife and agriculture, and continue to provide defining views of the river to all who pass by.

To maintain the significant flyway between the Weskeag and St. George rivers, Georges River Land Trust has conserved 485 acres of historic farm land to ensure its availability to the many species dependent upon it, as well as to preserve its significant agricultural value.

Now in the fifth phase of its “Bridging Two Rivers” Initiative, Georges River Land Trust has announced it has raised 75 percent of the funds necessary to complete the $273,000 Anderson West acquisition and stewardship project.

Recent presentations by well-known birders Kristen Lindquist and Laura Suomi-Lecker have focused on the area’s importance to grassland birds and waterfowl.  Bobolinks, which migrate 12,500 miles round trip every year to hay fields such as these, are of particular concern to area birders as they, along with Eastern Meadowlarks and Grasshopper Sparrows have shown the sharpest decline.  A tide differential between the St. George and Weskeag offers birds a longer period of time to feast below the high water mark in the important flats and marshes which line the river frontage.

Coupled with the adjacent Waldo Tyler Wildlife Preserve and lands conserved by Maine Coast Heritage Trust, more than 1,300 acres of field, marsh and woodlands in this riparian corridor are now permanently conserved.

The Anderson West property provides many of the values Georges River Land Trust works to conserve, said Pamela Dewell on a recent walk with area birders.

“These open farm fields provide outstanding water views and habitat for grassland birds reliant on unfragmented blocks of land," Dewell said. "And, the United States is losing 40 acres of farmland per minute. Once the Land Trust takes title to the property, we are also able to provide public access. By conserving this land, we can affect a conservation grand slam here on the mid-coast.”

Numerous donors have contributed to the Bridging Two Rivers Project since its inception eight years ago and grants have been received from a number of organizations devoted to the conservation of Maine’s natural resources, including the Ram Island Fund of Maine Community Foundation, Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, Davis Conservation Foundation, Bafflin Foundation, John Sage Foundation and the Fields Pond Foundation.

“The very first donor to the project was the Anderson family,” said Annette Naegel, Conservation Program Manager for the Georges River Land Trust. “The family has agreed to sell the property for below its value in order to help ensure its conservation.”

Georges River Land Trust plans additional opportunities to view fledgling bobolinks and walk along the path mown to the rocky shoreline.  To find out more, visit grlt.org or call 594-5166.