$451,553 in Coastal Planning Grants Announced

June 28, 2024

Augusta - The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's (DACF) Municipal Planning Assistance Program (MPAP), in collaboration with the Department of Marine Resources (DMR) Maine Coastal Program (MCP), is proud to announce the award of $451,553 in coastal planning grants. These grants will support vital projects focused on climate vulnerability assessments, designing resilient infrastructure for working waterfronts, and updating municipal land use regulations to address current and future coastal hazards and guide development away from vulnerable areas. Projects will begin in late summer 2024. These planning grants are funded through the MCP Shore and Harbor Planning Grant and the Coastal Community Grant, supported by an annual National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) award.

"As climate change continues to challenge our communities, these grants underscore our commitment to helping them protect and enhance crucial coastal resources," said DACF Commissioner Amanda Beal. "By investing in sustainability and adaptability, we safeguard the resilience and long-term health of our coastal areas."

"Ensuring the resilience of public working waterfronts and coastal infrastructure is essential for Maines coastal communities," said DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher. These projects highlight how municipalities and their partners can find solutions to adapt to a changing climate while protecting vital commercial and recreational opportunities.

Coastal Community Grants

Under the Coastal Community Grants (CCG), MPAP has granted $196,553 to the following municipalities and organizations:

  • Frenchboros Update and Revision of 1991 Land Use Ordinance and Maps Incorporating Climate Resilience project is twofold: updating Frenchboros parcel data, building a digital mapping system, and conducting a comprehensive update of land use ordinances while integrating coastal resilience.
  • Gouldsboros Planning for Resilience in Gouldsboros Working Harbors project will inventory public and private working waterfront infrastructure in three harbors to assess existing conditions, future uses, vulnerability to sea level rise, storm surge, flooding, and erosion, and existing waterfront infrastructure resilience plans. The project will develop design recommendations to increase climate resilience and recommend changes to municipal land use and shoreland zoning ordinances to address current and future coastal hazards.
  • Hancock County Planning Commission (HCPC)s Climate Ready Communities: A Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan for Coastal Sullivan and Sorrento project provides joint flooding and sea-level rise vulnerability assessments and adaptation plans for the towns of Sullivan and Sorrento.
  • South Portlands Resilience Overlay and Zoning Standards project will result in the development of a climate resilience overlay zone and related land use policies for South Portland, which will set forward-looking resilience standards for new development across the city.
  • Surrys Surry Newbury Neck Peninsula Storm Evacuation Project will improve the resilience of Newbury Neck Road by advancing the engineering designs to a 35% design development stage, positioning the town to apply for final planning and construction funds.

For insights and case studies on CCG projects, including Lessons Learned, please visit MPAPs CCG Case Studies webpage. For inquiries about the CCG program, kindly contact Joan A. Walton, AICP, at joan.walton@maine.gov or (207) 419-8661. The Coastal Community Grant program has been operating since 2012 and has distributed over $2.5 million to coastal communities. The next round of funding is anticipated in early 2025.

Shore and Harbor Planning Grants

Within the Shore and Harbor Planning Grant program, MCP has awarded $255,000 to the following municipalities:

  • Blue Hills SLR/Storm Resilient Public Wharf Design project will develop 30% permit-ready engineering designs to elevate and increase the resilience of the two municipal wharves in Blue Hill.
  • Chebeague Islands Understanding and Mitigating Coastal Erosion in Casco Bays Island Communities project will empower communities to face the challenges of sea level rise and coastal erosion through education and engagement activities, all of which will support the development of a Coastal Community Toolkit for municipalities and landowners.
  • Jonesports Henry Point Working Waterfront project will support the development of a modern, climate-friendly, and resilient working waterfront. The project will advance the existing concept plans for the parking lot, boat launches, and pier to construction-ready plans and support preparation for construction and the selection of qualified contractors.
  • Kitterys Pepperrell Cove Working Waterfront Resiliency Assessment project plans for the future of Pepperrell Cove, the municipal marina and primary public landing for the towns commercial fishing and aquaculture industries. The town will hire an engineering firm to explore resilience upgrades for the property and create a plan for future maintenance and upgrades for the timeframes in which the site will remain usable.
  • Monhegan Islands Resilient Redevelopment of Monhegan Islands Public Wharf project prepares engineering designs for raising and increasing accessibility at the islands only public wharf, which was damaged during the January 2024 storms and is facing increasing damage from sea level rise. A conceptual design for raising the wharf was completed in 2023 with funds from the FY22 Shore and Harbor Planning Grant; this award will continue the engineering and survey work needed to prepare the wharf design for permitting and eventual construction.
  • Vinalhavens Vinalhaven Working Waterfront Infrastructure Preliminary Design and Engineering Report project will assess vulnerability and get preliminary engineering designs and cost estimates for the reconstruction of a pier, floating docks, and wave attenuator/crib located next to the ferry terminal. The crib was damaged in the January 2024 storms and will need to be repaired and raised to continue protecting the harbor. Redesigning the pier and floating docks will provide additional access, reduce crowding at the public dock, and potentially provide tie-up space for an emergency vessel.

To explore past projects and access "Lessons Learned," please visit the MCP webpage. For inquiries about the Shore and Harbor Planning Grant program, kindly contact Melissa Britsch at melissa.britsch@maine.gov or (207) 215-6171. This program has been operating since 2006 and has distributed over $2.5 million to coastal communities since 2010. The next round of funding is anticipated in early 2025.