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Theresa Kerchner <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 25 Sep 2003 10:56:59 -0700
text/plain (193 lines)
Sue- Thanks very much for this,  Ken Curits is coming
to a KLT event on Oct 18th,  - this will be something
people will ask about due to his support for the

How is Jackson doing at Kents Hill?

--- Sue Gawler <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hi Josses -
> Thought you might appreciate seeing this news item
> from the 9/24 York County
> Journal Tribune - I added the scientific names, but
> that's it. (If you want
> the original item, go to
> http://www.journaltribune.com/wednesday/news2.html)
> Hope you are all enjoying this lovely fall
> botanizing-or-anything-else-outdoors weather!
> Sue Gawler
> Rare plants on casino property
> By TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune
> [log in to unmask]
> SANFORD — A day after Gordon “Bud” Johnston told the
> town’s casino task
> force he hadn’t found endangered plant life on the
> proposed casino property
> last month, he walked the land again and found four
> threatened species.
> Johnston found white-topped aster (Sericocarpus
> asteroides) and hollow
> joe-pye weed (Eupatorium fistulosum), listed as
> “critically imperiled” and
> “imperiled,” respectively, on the state’s list of
> endangered plants.
> He also found Schreber’s aster (Aster schreberi) and
> late purple aster
> (Symphyotrichum patens), listed as “extirpated” –
> which means the plants are
> an historically occurring species for which habitat
> no longer exists in
> Maine and hasn’t been documented in 20 years.
> Johnston has walked the 360-acre site half a dozen
> times since it was
> identified as the location for the proposed casino,
> hotel and golf course.
> “If I spent time there in four seasons, I’m
> confident I could find dozens of
> (threatened) plants,” he said.
> As a scientist and environmental consultant for the
> town, Johnston said his
> job is to be objective; he hasn’t taken a public
> stand on the issue.
> “My purpose was to walk the land and review it,”
> Johnston said.
> If Mainers vote on Nov. 4 to allow the Passamaquoddy
> and Penobscot Indians
> to operate the $650 million casino, and if Sanford
> approves the
> construction, about 40 acres of the heavily wooded
> tract will be stripped
> for buildings, Johnston estimated. Another 80 to 100
> acres will become a
> golf course.
> A longtime naturalist and horticulturist, he said
> his concerns include loss
> of plant and animal habitat, impact of vegetation
> removal and wastewater
> management. The land is one of the largest
> undisturbed tracts within the
> town limits, Johnston said.
> One inch of rain results in 10 million gallons of
> water on the site, he
> estimated. Because its heavily forested, the land
> now absorbs the rainfall.
> And while project plans include a pond to deal with
> the water that
> accumulates after paving or construction, Johnston
> believes runoff from
> parking lots and roofs – and the pollutants that
> come with them – could end
> up in groundwater.
> “Any dissolved substances such as salts, gasses or
> ions will move freely
> with overflow water or percolate through the bottom
> of the pond to the water
> table,” he said. Open space created by the golf
> course will alter
> temperature and humidity of the land, he added.
> Johnston, a former Nasson College ecology professor,
> retired environmental
> science teacher and a longtime radio and television
> authority on plant life,
> outlined his findings to the Citizens Casino
> Advisory Task Force last month.
> He is scheduled to do a further environmental
> assessment for the town.
> Meanwhile, he has found peat bogs, clumps of lilac
> bushes and a cemetery. He
> knows how water drains off the property toward
> Perkins Marsh Brook and
> eventually the Mousam River. Johnston has seen
> evidence of deer and moose,
> including what may be a deer wintering yard. A
> discontinued road through the
> property dates from before the Revolutionary War, he
> estimated.
> The land first came under public scrutiny in the
> mid-1970s, when Gibbs Oil
> Co. planned a refinery there and on another adjacent
> 900 acres. The proposed
> casino site was to be undeveloped, a buffer between
> oil company operations
> and the Rosenfield housing development, Johnston
> recalled. Ultimately, he
> said, Gibbs Oil went bankrupt and the plan was
> scrapped.
> Johnston isn’t the only one concerned about the
> project’s environmental
> impact.
> Maine Audubon Society two weeks ago announced its
> opposition to the casino,
> partly because Audubon trustees fear it will spur
> other development and
> increase the threat to wildlife areas near the site,
> Audubon conservation
> Director Sally Stockwell said.
> Southern Maine has the greatest species diversity
> and largest number of rare
> species in the state, she said. Nearby is the
> southern portion of the
> Massabesic Experimental Forest, Sanford Ponds and
> the Sanford and Wells
> barrens.
> Kennebunk Kennebunkport & Wells Water District
> trustees will likely discuss
> their position on the casino tonight, Superintendent
> Norman Labbe said. KK&W
> owns 500 acres of land, bought a few years ago to
> protect its Branch Brook
> water supply. But while the brook itself is about a
> mile away, the watershed
> is in a portion of the property outlined as a buffer
> zone between the
> Rosenfield subdivision and the proposed main
> entrance into the casino land.
> “The protection of the watershed is our primary
> concern,” Labbe said.
> Johnston, meanwhile made this conclusion in his
> report to the casino panel:
> “Conversion of forest land into pavement and
> buildings,” he said, “is an
> environmental whammy.”
> -----------------------------------
> Susan C. Gawler
> Gawler Conservation Services
> 256 Guptill Road
> Belgrade, Maine 04917
> (207) 495-3513 phone
> (207) 495-3444 fax
> [log in to unmask]

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