Financial Assistance

Coastal Grants Now Available for Municipal and Regional Projects

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry's Municipal Planning Assistance Program (MPAP) and the Maine Department of Marine Resources Maine Coastal Program (MCP) are seeking applications for the 10th round of Coastal Community Grants for FY 2020.

Coastal Community Grants are an important element of the MPAP’s work to encourage and promote efforts of coastal communities and regional planning organizations pursuant to the goals of the Growth Management Act (M.R.S.A. 30-A, Chapter 187) and Coastal Management Policies (M.R.S.A. 38, Chapter 19).

The grants are for municipal and regional projects in Maine’s coastal zone. Funding for these technical assistance grants comes from Maine Coastal Program’s annual grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Eligible projects must be designed to improve water quality, increase resiliency/adaptation to erosion and flooding, conserve coastal habitat, promote sustainable development, and enhance the coastal-dependent economy while preserving natural coastal resources. This program is designed to address the five priority goals of the Maine Coastal Program:  

  • Ensuring Sustainable, Vibrant Coastal Communities
  • Improving Coastal Public Access
  • Addressing the effects of land use activity on water quality
  • Restoring Coastal Habitats
  • Preparing for coastal storms, erosion and flooding, coastal hazards

Those eligible to apply include towns and unorganized territories in Maine’s coastal zone, groups of towns and unorganized territories in Maine’s coastal zone, coastal regional planning commissions, and coastal councils of governments. The Coastal Communities Grants have a maximum award of $100,000.

Coastal Communities Grant applications are due Monday June 3, 2019 at 2 P.M.

Application infomation and forms are found here, in the FY20 Coastal Community Grant Program Statement.

Application budget tables are found here, in the FY20 Coastal Community Grant Project Budget Tables 1, 2 & 3.

At the conclusion of each project, grant recipients are requested to prepare a case study to describe the project’s approach and results, identify next steps and needs, share lessons learned and applicability for other municipalities, and provide recommendations to the MCP for follow-up by state agencies to address identified municipal and regional needs and emerging coastal issues. Case studies of Coastal Community Grant projects prepared by past grant recipients can be found here, on our Coastal Community Grants Case Studies page.

Contact: Ruta Dzenis, 287-2851,

FY19 Round of Coastal Community Planning Grants Awarded

For Fiscal Year 2019, the Department of Agriculture Conservation and Forestry (DACF) awarded of nearly $270,00 through its Coastal Community Grant Program for six projects located throughout coastal Maine.  The grants, awarded and administered by DACF’s Municipal Planning Assistance Program, are helping 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 were 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.  FY19 was the ninth round of Coastal Community Grants, which since 2012, have provided $1.7 million for 65 projects in coastal Maine.

For FY19, grants totaling $269,880 were 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

Contact: Ruta Dzenis, Senior Planner, Municipal Planning Assistance Program, 287-2851

Past Coastal Community Grant Projects

Since 2012, this grant program has provided over $1.7 million for 65 projects throughout coastal Maine.

Maine's Community Planning & Investment Program grants have been suspended due to state budget cuts

These include first-time comprehensive planning grants, implementation grants, and update grants.


Additional Federal & State Funding Opportunities

  • Catalog of Federal Funding Sources for Watershed Protection U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Community Development Block Grant Program Maine's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program provides funding and technical support for projects that achieve local community and economic development objectives while principally benefiting low-moderate income persons. These grants are administered by the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.
  • Maine Safe Routes to School Program A matching grant program to improve safety for Maine children who bike or walk to school. Typical improvements include sidewalks, multi-use paths, crosswalks and traffic signals designed to separate children from vehicular traffic in school areas. The program is open to all Maine municipalities and school districts. These grants are administered by the Maine Department of Transportation.
  • Section 319 Program A matching grant program for planning and implrementation of measures to address non-point source water pollution. These grants are administered by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.