Latest Round of Coastal Community Planning Grants Awarded

January 30, 2019

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

The Department of Agriculture Conservation and Forestry (DACF) has announced the award of nearly $270,00 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 help coastal communities by supporting planning to reduce flood damage to municipal infrastructure, restore fisheries habitat, protect working waterfronts, and increase the climate resiliency of coastal downtowns.

The grants are made possible by the Maine Coastal Program, Department of Marine Resources, which provides funding through Maine's federal coastal zone management award from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. 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 foster innovative and effective approaches to land use management by providing technical and financial assistance to Maine municipalities. This is the ninth round of Coastal Community Grants, which have provided $1.7 million for 65 projects in coastal Maine since 2012.

This year, grants totaling $269,880 have been awarded to the following projects:

Town of Bowdoinham: Re-Development of Public Works Waterfront Property ($45,750)

Project Description: This project is part of the Town's efforts to re-develop the Town's former Public Works property on the Cathance River. With the Coastal Community Grant and matching funds, the Town and its subcontractors will conduct necessary surveys, produce preliminary and final designs and construction documents, and obtain permits for stabilizing the property's shorefront. The stabilization efforts will focus on one or more low-impact or living shoreline stabilization measures. Through public access, outreach and education, the Town will introduce "green" shoreline stabilization methods to visitors to the site and coordinate with the Maine Geological Survey on ways to use the site as a demonstration project to reach a wider audience.

Project Partners: Maine Geological Survey, Maine Historic Preservation Commission

Greater Portland Council of Governments - Proactive Watershed Management in Falmouth ($15,000)

Project Description: This pro-active watershed planning project will evaluate existing data for watershed health (e.g., identify outliers and/or questionable data points); propose a list of metrics to serve as indicators of watershed health; establish thresholds for watershed metrics that measure or predict watershed health using scientific principles, as well as serve as a baseline for future planning efforts. This work will assist Falmouth to prioritize watershed management measures and to tailor those efforts to address the needs of each watershed, which will result in a case study to be shared with other municipalities.

Project Partners: Town of Falmouth, Interlocal Stormwater Working Group, Falmouth Conservation Commission, and Maine Department of Environmental Protection

Hancock County Planning Commission/Hancock County Soil & Water Conservation District - Eastern Bay Watershed Management Plan ($36,908)

Project Description: The purpose of this project is to produce a management plan for the Eastern Bay within Frenchman Bay based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's nine-element approach. The project will focus activities in the Jordan River Watershed that may impact water quality and aquiculture in the Mount Desert Narrows area in Eastern Bay. The Eastern Bay Watershed Management Plan will guide watershed restoration efforts to reduce fecal bacteria contamination and to meet the goal of preventing shellfish closures in the river and embayment.

Project Partners: Hancock County Soil & Water Conservation District, and Frenchman Bay Partners: Community Lab at MDI Biological Laboratory, University of Maine 610 project, Frenchman Bay Regional Shellfish Committee, College of the Atlantic, and Acadia Aquafarms

City of South Portland - Vulnerability Assessment Mapping ($50,189)

Project Description: The City's Sustainability Office will create an interactive, web-based vulnerability assessment map for South Portland. This map, which the City expects to update and maintain for a minimum of five years, will bring together disparate information related to historical flooding events, sea-level rise and storm projections, economic and social vulnerability, and critical infrastructure. Once created, local decision-makers, City staff, and the community will be able to switch on operational map layers and select their viewing area/zoom level to better understand the risks posed by coastal hazards. Key stakeholders will then have capacity to develop well-informed programs and policies to improve South Portland's resiliency.

Project Partners: Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Southern Maine Planning & Development Commission, and Greater Portland Council of Governments

Town of Stonington - Flood Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan for Municipally Owned Infrastructure ($60,000)

Project Description: The Town of Stonington will contract with an engineering consultant to assess the vulnerability of pumping stations, sewer lines, roads, and other critical municipal infrastructure to flooding due to coastal storms and projected sea-level rise. The consultant would provide options to mitigate and/or adapt to the effects of that flooding in order to allow continued use of vulnerable sections of the transportation network, sewer system, and other critical infrastructure. This assessment will then guide the Town's capital investments in its critical infrastructure to help ensure those systems will be useable for the next 100 years.

Project Partners: Stonington Water Company, Town Departments, Downtown Stonington business owners and residents

Washington County Council of Governments - Washington County Resilience ($62,033)

Project Description: The overall goal of this project is to avoid infrastructure failure and increase resilience to coastal flooding and future sea-level rise in Washington County's most significant working waterfronts and largest coastal service centers. The project includes several subcomponents, including designing expanded working waterfront access in Machiasport, addressing roadbed and culvert vulnerabilities in Eastport, Jonesport, and Milbridge, supporting fish passage and increasing floodwater absorption by tidal marshes in Machias, and using a drone to obtain highly accurate data in Eastport, Lubec, Bucks Harbor, Jonesport, and Milbridge.

Project Partners: Island Institute, Towns of Eastport, Jonesport, Lubec, Machias, Machiasport, Milbridge