FARMINGTON — A University of Maine at Farmington faculty research group recently received a 2012-13 National Science Foundation EPSCoR Grant of more than $89,000 to continue its study of the relationship of the environment to long-term economic sustainability in the Rangeley Lakes Region of western Maine.

The group of faculty researchers and student interns is partnering for this part of the project with The Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust and the Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum, community advisors, and area educators and high school students to explore how understanding and protecting the region’s natural resources will help advance economic development.

The grant will provide full funding for the fourth year of UMF’s five-year Rangeley Lakes Region study. Projects focus on understanding the complex human-environment interaction and using it to develop a knowledge-to-action plan for the Rangeley region.

This year’s funding will help support faculty and student research in the fields of biology, computer science, geology, geography and economics. Studies include how water quality and land use affect native species and property values, how the effects of climate change are impacting the trout fishing industry and how good sustainability practices work to help protect and sustain the region’s broad outdoor-based tourism economy.

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