Watershed Protection

wells national estuarine research reserve

Collaborating throughout the region to help communities protect coastal watersheds.

Conserving Priority Fish and Wildlife Habitat

Over time and in collaboration with partners such as Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, the Wells Reserve acquires parcels of priority land and adds them to its protected area. The focus of this work is on land in and around salt marshes and adjacent uplands. The Reserve also works with other partners to conserve land in the targeted watersheds of the Reserve, particularly lands that abut major rivers.

In addition, the Wells Reserve is a founding and active partner in the Mount Agamenticus to the Sea Conservation Initiative, a multi-year effort whose mission is to protect a network of priority lands across a landscape that stretches from the Tatnic Hills in Wells to Gerrish Island in Kittery. Staff are also involved in coast-wide conservation projects, including the NOAA-funded Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program.

Seacoast Watershed Information Manager

As part of our conservation efforts, the Wells Reserve compiles and shares information for 15 watersheds involving 38 towns covering 1,800 square miles in southern Maine and seacoast New Hampshire. The Seacoast Watershed Information Manager (SWIM) provides communities with information to improve decision-making about water resources. The site focuses on water quality, water supply, land use change, and their economic interactions.

Map of watersheds covered by the Seacoast Watershed Information Manager.
Watershed protection can improve coastal water quality.

SWIM Website

The SWIM website includes:

  • Water Resource Library referencing reports, publications, books, articles, and related watershed information
  • Clickable Watershed Map linked to contacts, current activities, and organizations
  • Maps and methods for accessing and using geographic information
  • Access to computer models for understanding and predicting the effects of management decisions on water quality and supply