The Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance (BRCA) is dedicated to conserving the lands, water quality, and natural heritage of the Belgrade Lakes Watershed. Founded in 1988, this grassroots group has grown into a combined land trust and lake trust with over 1200 members, dedicated to protecting the watershed through land conservation, watershed management and protection, education and outreach, and implementation of conservation projects. The BRCA works with area lake associations, state and town governments and agencies, other conservation groups, and private landowners to preserve the area’s natural resources and maintain public access for low-impact recreational activities like hiking, fishing, hunting, canoeing, and cross-country skiing.
Our Land Trust has conserved nearly 9,000 acres through fee purchase or conservation easements, including the 6,000 acre Kennebec Highlands. A major consideration of our land acquisition strategy is preservation of water quality through protection to headwaters streams and wetland corridors.
Our Lake Trust is a strategic alliance of the five lake associations in the Belgrade Lakes Watershed and oversees the Milfoil Committee, which administers the courtesy boat inspection program that inspects over 12,000 boats each summer of at seven public boat ramps to prevent the spread of invasive plants. The Lake Trust also includes the BRCA Youth Conservation Corps that has completed over 1,100 erosion control projects in the past 20 years and the Watershed program that has performed water quality surveys of all the seven of the Belgrade Lakes. The Watershed program has worked with the Maine DEP and the Kennebec County Soil and Water Conservation District to develop and implement watershed-based plans to improve water quality. The BRCA Education and Outreach Committee develops programs designed to highlight the linkages between the land use and water quality. Programs include public lectures, guided hikes, canoe trips, nature walks, bird watching trips, etc.
The Belgrade Lakes Watershed faces threats from accelerating development pressure, invasive species, erosion, and other damage caused by overuse. Once opportunities to protect our lakes and lands are gone they can not be reclaimed, but by joining the BRCA you can help seize conservation opportunities and meet these challenges.
The Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance was incorporated on November 1, 1988, as the Watson Pond Conservation Trust, a land trust with a fairly narrow geographical area of interest. It was reorganized in November of 1991 as the Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance, an umbrella organization for the five individual lakes associations of the Belgrade chain of lakes, and the land trust for the Belgrade Lakes watershed. Our purposes, as they are enumerated in our articles of incorporation, are:
- To promote for the benefit of the general public the preservation of natural resources primarily in, but not limited to, the towns of the Belgrade Lakes watershed and Kennebec County in the state of Maine. These resources include land and water resources, the plant and animal life thereon, and unique scenic, agricultural, natural, and historic sites.
- To engage in and promote the scientific study of, and education regarding natural resources.
- To use all property held by the corporation, and the net earning thereon, for the benefit of the general public and for charitable, educational, recreational, conservation, scientific, or historical purposes.
BRCA has conducted financial audits every two years since 2001. During this period, BRCA has grown into an organization with 5 full-time staff and 50 seasonal summer workers.
For 2015, BRCA had revenues of $620,142 and expenses of $610,360. How the money was spent is illustrated in the following pie chart:
- 35% for milfoil prevention and removal
- 22% for erosion control
- 17% for other lakes programs
- 12% for land purchases and stewardship
- 10% for administration
- 4% for education
Fully 74% of BRCA’s annual expenses in 2015 were spent on “water quality” programs.
To review BRCA’s 2015 Form 990, which is our annual filing with the IRS, please click here.
For Forms 990 from 2014, 2013 and access to the GuideStar Community, click here.