Latest Round of Coastal Community Planning Grants Awarded

December 12, 2017

For more information, contact: Ruta Dzenis at (207) 287-2851

The Department of Agriculture Conservation and Forestry (DACF) announces the award of nearly $167,000 through its Coastal Community Grant Program for six projects located throughout coastal Maine. This year’s grants, awarded and administered by DACF’s Municipal Planning Assistance Program, will support the coastal economy by providing planning assistance for projects that will prevent flood damage to municipal infrastructure, restore fisheries habitat, protect natural-resource-based tourism and increase the climate resiliency of coastal downtowns.

The grants are made possible by the Maine Coastal Program, Department of Marine Resources (DMR), which provides funding through Maine’s federal coastal zone management award from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Each project involves regional or local-level partnerships and each grantee provides a minimum of 25% in matching funds or services.

The Coastal Community Grants are an important element of the Municipal Planning Assistance Program’s mission to improve economic conditions by providing technical and financial assistance to Maine municipalities. This is the 8th round of Coastal Community Grants, which since 2012, have provided over $1.46 million for 62 projects throughout coastal Maine. More information on previously-funded projects can be found on the Municipal Planning Assistance Program's Financial Assistance page.

This year, the following grants have been awarded:

West Harbor Pond Water Quality Restoration Project Town of Boothbay Harbor ($12,400)

The Town, working with the West Harbor Pond Watershed Association and other cooperating agencies and organizations will design a replacement for the siphon that, for over 120 years, protected the water quality of West Harbor Pond. With the siphon’s failure in 2008, salt water seeping through the dam and entering the pond at extreme high tide is no longer being removed, resulting significant adverse impact on aquatic life. With the replacement of the siphon, evacuation of the salt water will resume, the pond’s water quality will be restored, and the adverse impact on its valuable aquatic habitat will be reversed.

Cape Elizabeth Culvert and Habitat Impact Assessment Town of Cape Elizabeth ($20,500)

The Town will survey the condition of its 20 most significant culverts, and conduct at detailed assessment of three major Spurwink Marsh road crossings. The assessment will evaluate current conditions and the environmental impacts of several possible infrastructure changes designed to increase climate resiliency. The project will build on the Maine Coastal Program-funded 2015 Cape Elizabeth Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment, prepared by the Greater Portland Council of Governments (GPCOG) with the assistance of Maine Geological Survey.

Preparation for Coastal Flooding in Harpswell: A Plan for Basin Point Road and its Wetlands Town of Harpswell ($20,000)

The Town, its consulting engineer, and the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership will develop a long-term plan for managing the potential impacts of coastal flooding due to sea level rise and storm surge on a portion of Basin Point Road. Options for managing the impact of increased salt water movement into a nearby pond and valuable wetlands will be developed, and the cost of measures to mitigate the impacts of coastal storms and flooding on the road, culverts and surrounding habitat will be addressed. This work will build on an earlier project conducted by Bowdoin College Environmental Studies students, the Maine Geological Survey and the Midcoast Council of Governments.

York River Watershed Analysis Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission ($15,000)

The Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission, in coordination with the York River Study Committee, will review existing municipal land-use ordinances within the York River watershed, conduct a watershed-wide build-out study, and recommend measures to protect various watershed resources. This work will contribute directly to the Study Committee’s development of a watershed management plan, which will be presented to each of the four towns in the watershed for possible local adoption.

Trout Brook Culvert Improvements Project City of South Portland ($54,805)

Over the past several years, the City has made considerable efforts to improve the water quality and aquatic habitat of Trout Brook. In 2012, these efforts included the development of the DEP-funded Trout Brook Watershed Management Plan. The City will now be able to begin implementation of a key recommendation of the plan: to enhance stream connectivity by improving or restoring fish passage at several culverts. This grant will fund a hydrologic and hydraulic study that will allow strategic culvert improvements to be made with assurance that no unintended flooding or erosion impacts will result.

Machias Waterfront Resilience and Renewal Town of Machias ($45,094)

The Town of Machias, working with the Washington County Council of Governments, will undertake three discrete yet related planning tasks: 1) a feasibility study which will identify conceptual designs and establish a plan to build flood protection along the existing seawall in downtown Machias; 2) an economic analysis of improving flood protection for downtown Machias; and 3) conceptual plans incorporating seawall improvements into the restoration of the historic wharf and river walk. Each task will explore ways to move downtown Machias towards greater climate resiliency, and taken together, provide a complementary approach to realizing a more sustainable and vibrant community.