Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve

Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve

The Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) is located in Wells, Maine, USA. It occupies a historical site known as Laudholm Farm, which was first settled by Europeans in 1642 and was a farm until its conservation in the 1980s. It is the only NERR based on a partnership between a citizen non-profit group (Laudholm Trust) and the federal government, without major support from the state in which it is located. Considerable support came from town of Wells citizens who voted 3 to 1 to conserve the land, chosing conservation over sizable tax revenues.

The land is open to the public every day of the year, and consists of a cluster of historical farm buildings and an expanse of hiking trails through fields and woods leading to estuary overlooks and Laudholm Beach. The largest and perhaps most visible building is the huge barn which was built in 1901 from a mail-order catalog after the prior barn burned. The first floor of the farmhouse at Wells NERR is open to the public and contains a small exhibit on the farm's history, and a larger exhibit on estuaries and coastal environmental issues. The Maine Coastal Ecology Center houses a teaching laboratory, research department offices and separate laboratory, and a science exhibit open to the public. The Coastal Resource Library maintains a collection of books, journals and periodicals, including many of local interest, and is part of the MINERVA system, searchable online at http://minerva.maine.edu. A Maine Sea Grant extension office also is hosted on the Wells NERR campus.

The Wells NERR site includes two estuaries: the Webhannet Estuary and the Merriland/Branch Brook/Little River (MBLR) Estuary. The watersheds of these two estuaries are somewhat dissimilar, in that the Wehbannet contains heavy coastal development and tourism, while the MBLR contains relatively sparse residential development with 30% of watershed land under conservation ownership to protect an important drinking water supply in the region, Branch Brook.


* http://www.wellsnerr.org, retrieved October 4, 2005
* http://www.laudholm.org, retrieved October 4, 2005
* http://www.kkw.org, retrieved October 4, 2005

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