The Damariscotta River Association (DRA) has been working since 1973 to preserve and promote the natural, cultural, and historical heritage of the Damariscotta River and surrounding areas for the benefit of all.
A 501(c)(3) non-profit community-supported land trust, DRA has more than 1,500 members and 200 volunteers. Contributions to the land trust are tax-deductible, as are donations of land and conservation easements. In addition to offering community events and special programs, DRA:
- Protects and stewards land and conservation easements
- Promotes marine conservation and tests water quality
- Provides environmental education to youth and adults
- Manages preserves open to the public
- Records and preserves the history of DRA lands
Together with our partners, DRA’s professional staff and committed volunteer Board of Trustees have protected more than 2,900 acres of land and 22 miles of fresh and salt water shoreline, including several islands, in the towns of Boothbay, Bremen, Bristol, Damariscotta, Edgecomb, Newcastle, Nobleboro, and South Bristol.Our headquarters, the Great Salt Bay Farm Heritage Center, is open to the public and available for community functions.
DRA education programs span a variety of conservation-oriented activities for young people and adults. These include: a summer archaeology field school; scheduled walks led by naturalists on public trails; and public speakers who talk on a variety of environmental topics. Horseshoe crabs are being studied in the upper Damariscotta River.
The Tidewater Watch program was created in 1988 to monitor water quality and shellfish habitat, using teachers and students from Lincoln Academy and Boothbay Region High School, professional aqua culturists and citizen volunteers. Water samples are taken twice each month from over 40 sites on the river and analyzed in the lab. Long term monitoring of temperature, salinity, and bacteria allows us to chart progress or setbacks as they develop.
The Damariscotta River Association’s “River Stewards” are a group of volunteers dedicating their time each week to be the eyes and ears of the river. On Sundays and Thursdays throughout the summer and fall, they talk with aquaculture owners and recreational boaters, record wildlife observations, and serve as a friendly educational presence on the river. “On the Incoming Tide” is a weekly column written by River Stewards documenting activity along the Damariscotta River through the eyes of citizens. The goal of this newspaper column is to share the stewards’ river experiences with you, the greater community. Stories from trips in 2006 are archived here.