PORTLAND, ME—Highlighting the necessity of clean water for successful businesses and communities, two local breweries are donating a portion of their sales to Sebago Clean Waters (SCW), an innovative partnership formed by the Open Space Institute (OSI) and other public and private organizations to protect watershed health and community well-being through forest conservation in Maine’s most populous region.
Under the effort, spearheaded by Allagash and soon followed by Rising Tide, each brewery announced that they are donating 10 cents per barrel of beer sold to help protect Sebago Lake, which provides exceptionally clean drinking water to the city of Portland. This generous donation will directly protect forests in the watershed, which are essential to filtering drinking water – and ultimately beer.
“OSI is thrilled that Rising Tide and Allagash are stepping forward to play a key role in forest protection and raising awareness about the life-giving role the Sebago watershed plays for residents of greater Portland,” said Jennifer Melville, vice president at OSI. “OSI thanks its Sebago Clean Waters partners for their dedicated efforts to forever conserving this invaluable public resource.”
“We believe access to clean water is a right. Safeguarding forests is key to this effort,” said Rob Tod, Founder of Allagash Brewing Company. “We are committed to helping preserve our water and land for generations to come and will continue to partner with local and national organizations to achieve that goal.”
“Clean water is crucial to every one of us, and in Greater Portland we're blessed with some of the cleanest water in the world,” said Nathan Sanborn, co-owner of Rising Tide Brewing. “Land protection is the secret behind this success, and we wanted our commitment to highlight its important role in the Sebago Watershed.”
Intact forests in the 282,000-acre Sebago Lake watershed act as a natural filter producing clean water for one of every six Mainers. Many businesses, as well as brook trout, landlocked Atlantic salmon, ospreys, and countless other wildlife species, rely on the Sebago. But with only 10 percent of Sebago’s watershed conserved, this is among the region’s most vulnerable water supplies.
Through its work in the region, OSI has helped to protect approximately 1,760 acres of the forests in the watershed, and is engaged in protecting more. For example, OSI is supporting efforts by Loon Echo Land Trust and the Trust for Public Land to conserve the 1400-acre Tiger Hill Community Forest; the project includes exceptional wetland resources – critical for water quality and climate resilience – as well as beautiful trails and woodlands that local citizens and visitors enjoy.
Founded in 2018, SCW works with land trusts, landowners, towns, businesses, and the Portland Water District, who have come together to conserve key parcels in the watershed. SCW’s goals are to conserve 25 percent of the Sebago Watershed in the next 15 years and build a $15 million water fund from new funding sources to support this conservation work.