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Maine Coastal Program
Home > Working Waterfront Initiative
Working Waterfront Initiative
Working waterfronts provide a link between land and sea that is critical to sustaining a diverse and thriving coastal economy. Commercial fishing and marine trades in Maine contribute more than $800 million annually to the state's economy and employ about 30,000 people, giving fishermen and others both a livelihood and a valued way of life.
Only 175 miles of Maine's long coastline are sufficiently deep and sheltered to support water-dependent uses. More than half of these prime shorefront miles are already occupied by residential, commercial and industrial structures that may benefit from a waterfront location but do not depend on it.
The small portion of remaining shorefront suited to water-dependent uses is becoming harder for long-time landowners to retain, given development pressures and rising shorefront property taxes. Increasingly, those engaged in water-dependent businesses are driven from the waterfront-losing both their livelihood and their familiar way of life. This trend, coupled with declines in traditional industries and infrastructure, makes it hard for many marine businesses to survive.
Fortunately, people are becoming more aware of the challenges facing working waterfronts, and many efforts are underway to ensure their continuing vitality. The Maine Coastal Program works with local citizens and leaders to sustain working waterfronts--offering technical support, workshops and resources. These web pages describe some of the local and state tools that can be used to preserve and enhance working waterfronts. The information on this site will be updated and expanded over time: please provide comments and suggested additions to Matt Nixon (Matthew.E.Nixon@maine.gov; 207-287-1491).
News & Current Activities
Maine Coastal Program staff member Matt Nixon works to improve coastal access—assisting towns with planning and funding, and supporting the national Working Waterfront Coalition program on projects involving coastal access. Matt is currently working with the Coastal Program’s NOAA Coastal Management Fellow, Julia Caldwell, to create and publish an access guide to the Maine coast for distribution to municipalities, and other relevant forums. Contact Matt for further details.
FAX: (207) 287-6489
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