Taunton Bay 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.
Taunton Bay is a class SB nationally significant estuary and is one of only 14 places in Maine granted special protection by the U.S. Department of the Interior due to its value, vulnerability, and uniqueness. This still-fertile estuarine system supports shellfish harvesting (clams, lobsters, and crabs), sea run fish harvesting (elvers, alewives, and river herring), oyster aquaculture, and seaweed harvesting. In 2005 these industries were valued at close to $10 million.
The watershed is all of the land that drains into the bay. An extensive network of waterways, it extends inland into the towns of Franklin, Hancock, and Sullivan; and parts of Eastbrook, Waltham, and Townships 9 and 10. It reaches almost to Route 179 in the northwest, and includes Donnell and Fox Ponds in the east.
It straddles two focus areas of statewide ecological significance Taunton Bay and Tunk Lake. Focus Areas are landscape scale areas that contain exceptionally rich concentrations of at-risk species and natural communities. In addition, they serve as examples of high quality common natural communities, contain significant wildlife habitats, and intersect with large blocks of undeveloped habitat.