The Taunton Bay region in coastal Hancock County includes Hog and Egypt Bays, Carrying Place Inlet to the U.S. Route 1 Bridge, and Taunton River to the protruding rock ledge at Tidal Falls, where it joins Frenchman Bay. It is bordered by the towns of Franklin, Hancock, and Sullivan and passes under U.S. Route 1 at the Hancock-Sullivan Bridge. In the past it was the site of Native American ceremonies, Christian baptisms, ship building, copper and silver mining, timber harvesting, and stone quarrying. The region is rich in history, wildlife, scenic beauty, and is the source of income for many residents of the area.
The Taunton Bay watershed deserves protection as a self-sustaining, natural area largely unimpaired by human intervention. This still-fertile estuarine system is at the heart of an increasingly commercial sector of Maine’s scenic coast.
The watershed of recovering forests provides fresh water that mingles with the tidal flow to provide a nutrient-rich environment. Once known for its timber, mining, quarrying, and shipbuilding industries, the bay is now the focus of a rural residential community linking the towns of Hancock, Sullivan, and Franklin.
The estuary has national significance because of its resident and migratory bird life. Wildlife on the bay includes nesting pairs of American bald eagles, osprey, blue heron, and loons; thousands of migrating geese and shore birds; and a notable population of ducks in the cold months. Harbor seals swim in the bay or bask on the ledges. In the spring, horseshoe crabs at the northern limit of their range come ashore in Taunton Bay to spawn. The natural productivity of this marine environment nourishes a variety of fisheries for eels, worms, shellfish, and lobsters and supports aquaculture. Flourishing phytoplankton at the bottom of the food web feed seaweeds and salt-tolerant plants that provide nurseries for fish.