Maine Coastal Program News


September 1, 2020: Notice of Approval of Changes to the Maine Coastal Program

This notice is issued to inform the members of the public, local governments, and state and federal agencies of approval by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office for Coastal Management (“NOAA”) of changes to the Maine Coastal Program. Under the federal Coastal Zone Management Act (“CZMA”), Maine and other states with a federally-approved coastal zone management program are authorized to review federal agencies’ activities for consistency with their programs’ enforceable policies. Select state land use and environmental laws and related agency rules serve as the core laws that provide the enforceable policies of the Maine Coastal Program (“MCP”).

Changes to the MCP’s core laws require NOAA’s approval. If NOAA does not approve a change to a core law the state may not use that provision as an enforceable policy when reviewing federal agency activities under the CZMA’s federal consistency authority. However, NOAA’s decision has no effect on the provision’s applicability as state law for permitting-related, natural resources management, or other purposes.

In May 2020, the Department of Marine Resources (“DMR”), which administers the MCP, submitted for NOAA’s review and approval the following changes and additions to the core laws and rules which provide enforceable policies of the state coastal management program:

  • Changes to the core law statutes of the MCP enacted by the Second Regular Session of the 129th Maine Legislature - P.L. 2019 c. 581 (amending the Natural Resources Protection Act to add rivers, streams and brooks to the list of protected natural resources for which Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) may develop a compensation fee program; and P.L. 2019 c. 619 (amending various provisions regarding solid waste processing facilities in the Hazardous Waste, Septage and Solid Waste Management Act). These public laws may be viewed on-line at: http://legislature.maine.gov/ros/LawsOfMaine/#Law/129/R2/ACTPUB/593 ; and
  • Changes to core law rules administered by LUPC and DEP: amendments to Chapter 10 of the Land Use Planning Commission’s (LUPC) rules regarding its adjacency principle for siting development, list of lakes on which personal watercraft are prohibited, and roads and water crossings, as effective June 17, 2019; and amendments to DEP rules ch. 692 (requirements for siting of oil storage facilities), effective as amended August 7, 2019. These rules may be viewed on-line at: https://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/rules/rules.html.

By its letter dated August 31, 2020 (PDF, 27 pages), NOAA approved the above-described program changes in their entirety, with the exception and qualification that the requirements for compensatory mitigation under 38 M.R.S. §480-Z are not approved as enforceable policies in the review of federal actions as authorized under the CZMA. These NOAA-approved program changes are now effective, if and as applicable, as enforceable policies for federal consistency purposes, as of September 1, 2020, the date this notice was published on DMR’s website.

For additional information, please contact: Todd Burrowes, Department of Marine Resources, Coastal Program, 21 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333, tel:
207.707.2324; e-mail: todd.burrowes@maine.gov.


Maine Coastal Program Launches Ocean Acifidication Program

The Maine Coastal Program, in collaboration with the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, is excited to announce the start of our shell recycling program. With the help of local restaurants, we will collect and return waste shell to the coastal waters of Maine. The Ocean to Plate to Ocean initiative seeks to combat ocean acidification and help ensure the tidal flats remain a favorable place for natural shellfish growth. We’ll also stockpile shell for other coastal projects in Maine.

Eat an oyster a day and help protect the bay!

Participating Restaurants Include:


Coastal grants available for municipal and regional projects

April 24, 2019 - 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).

More information can be found here.


Maine Coastal Program Seeks Applications for Shore and Harbor Planning Grant Program, due Friday, May 17th

April 5, 2019 - The Maine Coastal Program has released its annual solicitation for the Shore and Harbor Planning Grant Program.

Shore and Harbor Planning Grants provides funding for harbor management, dredging studies, public access, and waterfront planning in coastal towns through municipal and regional projects.

More information about these grants, as well as the FY20 Grant Program Statement can be found on the DMR website.


Latest Round of Coastal Community Planning Grants Awarded

January 28, 2019 - The Department of Agriculture Conservation and Forestry (DACF) announces 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 since 2012, have provided $1.7 million for 65 projects in coastal Maine.

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.


Maine Stream Habitat Viewer Release

Version 2.0 of the Maine Stream Habitat Viewer is here! First released in 2013, the Stream Habitat Viewer has successfully brought together people seeking to cooperatively restore and conserve Maine’s streams and wetlands while also looking for opportunities to ease the financial burdens of road and dam owners. The Viewer displays stream habitats for species important to Maine’s economy, ecology and way of life and also provides information about dams and road crossings that can act as barriers to fish passage and stream health.

A few highlights of Version 2.0 include:

  • A completely new platform and webhost allowing more frequent data updates
  • Easy scrolling for dam and road crossing summaries
  • Single click reports on dams, crossings and habitats
  • Improved habitat, crossing and dam searches by watershed, town or user-defined area
  • New habitat layers for alewife and wild eastern brook trout
  • Improved crossing, dam and habitat layer cartography
  • Downloadable data and maps

The need for the Viewer was identified by Maine’s Stream Connectivity Work Group. Convened by the Maine Coastal Program, the Work Group is a partnership of over 30 state, federal, industry and non-government organizations working to improve the pace and quality of Maine’s stream restoration efforts.

We'd like to thank the organizations that generously donated funding for Version 2.0 of the Maine Stream Habitat Viewer:

  • Gulf of Maine Coastal Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Maine Audubon
  • Maine Coastal Program, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
  • Maine Department of Marine Resources
  • Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
  • Maine's State Wildlife Grant Program
  • The Nature Conservancy in Maine
  • State Wildlife Grants Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service