Grand Lake Stream, Maine – Named after the stream that flows through the town, the Grand Lake Stream community in eastern Maine greatly values its natural resources. With a population of 109, the small community is world-renowned for its excellent fishing, hunting, recreation and relaxation activities. The community’s natural resources-based economy provides livelihoods for local craftsmen, guides, sporting ventures, and forest industry workers. And with the recent implementation of the Finite Carbon – Lyme Grand Lake Stream Improved Forest Management Project, the community’s newest venture at the crossroads of the environment and economy lies in carbon offset development.
To protect their community’s forests and waters, improve fish and wildlife habitats, and support the natural resources-dependent economy of the community, the local residents founded the Downeast Lakes Land Trust (DLLT) in 2001. In 2012, DLLT raised funds enabling the Lyme Timber Company, a private timberland investment management organization, to grant a conservation easement to the state of Maine on 22,000 acres of forestland. The easement permanently protects the property from development and ensures sustainable timber management.
In addition, by improving management practices to increase carbon stocking levels, the forest earned carbon offset credits for use in the California cap-and-trade program. From September 2013 to September 2015, the Lyme Grand Lake Stream Forest removed and sequestered an additional 599,217 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions through its improved forest management practices, which were made in accordance with guidelines specified in the California Compliance Offset Protocol for U.S. Forest Offset Projects.
The sale of carbon offsets helped the Downeast Lakes Land Trust purchase the 22,000-acre property from Lyme Timber in July 2016. The acquisition was completed as part of an eight-year, $19.4 million campaign and helps fulfill a broader community-led effort to conserve 370,000 acres in the Downeast Lakes region.