The landscape of the Milbridge area is dominated by the Narraguagus River. This river drains an extensive area of western Washington and eastern Hancock Counties. Back Bay is an expansive mudflat at low tide with surrounding components of eelgrass beds and emergent saltmarsh. At high tide there is an exposed ledge in the center of the bay where shorebirds, including large numbers of Short-billed Dowitchers, roost. Bald Eagles are commonly seen throughout the area.

Ornithological Summary

The area supports productive feeding flats for thousands of migrating shorebirds from July through September. The mouth of the Narraguagus River, together with Back Bay, are important sites for wintering Black Ducks.

Conservation Issues

Although several camps and permanent residences surround the bay, human disturbance is minimal due to the expansive mudflat area. The flats here are designated as an Area of Shorebird Management Concern that qualifies as Significant Wildlife Habitat under Maine?s Natural Resources Protection Act. As such, a permit is required prior to placement of permanent structures such as docks within the intertidal zone.

Ownership

Surrounding lands are mostly privately owned though the Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife does own a small parcel in Milbridge with frontage on both the Narraguagus River and Route 1A. Parking is extremely limited. A public boat launch is available at the mouth of the Narraguagus River and on Rays Point Road which provide the best opportunity for viewing this area from the water. Portions of Back Bay may be viewed from Rays Point Road itself.

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