Conserving Forests for Clean Water

Sebago Clean Waters conserves forests to protect water quality, community well-being, a vibrant economy, and fish and wildlife habitat in the Sebago region. The Sebago Lake watershed is 84% forested, but only 15% of it is currently conserved. Our collaborative—comprised of conservation organizations and a regional water utility—is engaging individuals, communities, and businesses in protecting 25 percent (35,000 more acres) of the Sebago Lake watershed in the next 15 years. Our work is critical to keeping Maine’s largest drinking water supply clean and protecting the many other benefits Sebago Lake’s forested watershed provides. Learn why and how in the video below.

How Forests Keep Our Water Clean


Forests filter rainfall, removing sediments and pollutants before slowly releasing clean water into streams and rivers.


Tree roots and decaying leaves and needles keep soil in place, preventing erosion of potentially damaging sediments.


Forested landscapes provide cover and shade for fish species, like trout and salmon that require cool water temperatures to survive.


Forested flood plains provide a place for water to go during heavy rains, reducing the potential for damage to developed areas downstream.

©Nicole Keating/The Nature Conservancy

Sebago Clean Waters News

8/19/23: We are hiring for a new position! Do you enjoy engaging a range of audiences in creative ways and researching funding opportunities for impactful environmental causes? You might be just the person to join our dynamic team as Community Engagement Manager. Check out the job description here.

8/12/23: We are so excited to be part of the Action Village at Guster’s on the Ocean at Thompson’s Point on 8/12 & 8/13. We will have giveaways, trivia, and other opportunities to learn about and help protect Portland’s drinking water. Join us for what is sure to be a fun day of good vibes and great music!

7/22/23: Join us at the Maine Outdoor Film Festival Bazaar from 4:00-7:30 p.m. on Saturday, 7/22, at Gulf of Maine Research Institute. Learn about Portland’s drinking water, grab some swag, and enter to win free raffle prizes! Be sure to get tickets for the series of short films about outdoor adventure and the environment that begin at 8:00 p.m.

5/05/23: During Drinking Water Week (5/7-5/13) you are invited to join us for two events:

  1. Maine Calling, the live, call-in radio program on Maine Public, will feature an episode about drinking water on Wednesday, May 10, at 11:00 a.m. Tune in to hear Sebago Clean Waters representatives and other water experts discuss where the state’s drinking water comes from, some of the challenges facing our water supplies, and the importance of clean drinking water to Maine’s economy.
  2. What do a spotted turtle, fly-fishing reel, and craft beer have in common? All will be present at our event with Allagash Brewing on Friday, May 12, from 4:00-6:00 p.m. Join us at Allagash HQ at 50 Industrial Way in Portland for great giveaways, games, and opportunities to visit with clean water advocates (turtle included)!

3/22/23: Learn about all you have helped us achieve in the past five years in our 2018-2022 Impact Report!

Press Releases

Sebago Clean Waters partners restore critical fish passageway in Sebago Lake watershed (8/2023)
Read Press Release

Sebago Clean Waters partner Mahoosuc Land Trust announces creation of its first forever-wild preserve (3/2023)
Read Press Release

Sebago Clean Waters announces conservation of 12,000 acres of forestland in Oxford County (12/2021)
Read Press Release

Sebago Clean Waters awarded $8 million USDA grant to protect water quality and other benefits of the Sebago Lake watershed (9/2020)
Read Press Release

Sebago Clean Waters makes significant progress toward 35,000-acre conservation goal with the The Conservation Fund’s purchase of Chadbourne Tree Farms in Western Maine (6/2020)
Read Press Release

Loon Echo Land Trust and the Trust for Public Land announce acquisition of Tiger Hill Community Forest land (1/2020)
Read Press Release

Allagash announces pledge to donate ten cents for every barrel of beer brewed to Sebago Clean Waters (10/2019)
Read Press Release

Foundation Brewing and Orono Brewing collaborate on Earth Day-centered IPAs to benefit clean water efforts in Maine (4/2019)
Read Press Release

News Articles and Broadcasts

Sebago Clean Waters partners featured in Maine Calling show about the state’s drinking water sources, challenges to their purity, and their importance to Maine’s economy (5/2023)
Listen to Maine Calling show

Sebago Clean Waters partners featured in Allagash Brewing Company’s podcast “From Maine, With Love” in episode about Sebago Lake and the importance of partnerships for land conservation (5/2023)
Listen to Allagash podcast

Sebago Clean Waters contributes funding to partner Mahoosuc Land Trust’s first forever-wild preserve (4/2023)
Read Sun Journal article

Sebago Clean Waters as a case study in connecting upstream and downstream communities to protect a water source (10/2022)
Read Lincoln Institute of Land Policy article

Lakes Environmental Association, Sebago Clean Waters, and partners remove Naples dam restricting fish passage (9/2022)
Read Maine Public story
Read Lakes Environmental Association article

12,000 acres of Oxford County forestland permanently protected (12/2021)
Read Maine Public story

Woodland Owners Appreciation Day participants feel they are making a difference by keeping their land forested (10/2021)
Read Bridgton News article

University of Maine research team determines benefits and costs of conserving Sebago watershed forestland to protect drinking water and other values (10/2021)
Read Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions newsletter

Portland-area breweries support Sebago Clean Waters forest conservation efforts (5/2021)
Watch News Center Maine broadcast

Loon Echo Land Trust and Sebago Clean Waters protect additional acreage for Sebago’s Tiger Hill Community Forest (3/2021)
Read Portland Press Herald article

Loon Echo Land Trust protects critical part of the Tenny River with help from Sebago Clean Waters (2/2021)
Read Mainebiz article

Sebago Clean Waters gets $8 million federal grant to protect Sebago Lake watershed (9/2020)
Read Mainebiz article
Read Maine Public article

15,000 acres of forestland in Western Maine protected through sale of green bonds (6/2020)
Read Forbes magazine article

1,400 acre Tiger Hill Community Forest near Sebago Lake now officially protected (1/2020)
Read Maine Public story

History and importance of clean water in Greater Portland (11/2019)
Read Portland Press Herald article

Loon Echo Land Trust purchases 252 acres in Bridgton area (9/2019)
Read Sun Journal article

Loon Echo Land Trust expands Crooked River Forest (8/2019)
Read Sun Journal article

The importance of forests for clean water and good beer (5/2019)
Read Portland Press Herald article

Hiking opportunities made possible by Western Foothills Land Trust (1/2019)
Read MaineToday article

Portland Water District honored for protecting Sebago Lake watershed (3/2018)
Read Mainebiz article

Western Foothills Land Trust acquires Crooked River parcel (9/2017)
Read Turner Publishing article