Maine Coastal Program News

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

State of Maine Land for Maine's Future Program Issues Call for Proposals

November 30, 2018 - The Land for Maine's Future (LMF) Board is seeking proposals for Working Waterfront Access Protection Program (WWAPP) projects. The Board will make awards up to approximately $2 million from Land for Maine's Future (LMF) bond funds.

The Maine Working Waterfront Access Protection Program provides funds to protect and secure commercial fishing access in Maine. WWAPP requires future development of funded property retain its use for commercial fishing and closely related activities.

A copy of the Working Waterfront Access Protection Program (WWAPP) workbook, which includes all information necessary to apply for LMF funds, can be obtained online.

Eligible applicants for WWAPP proposals include private individuals, and business entities, non-profit land conservation organizations, counties, cities, towns and state agencies. Contact Matthew Nixon, Maine Coastal Program deputy director, 207-287-1491 with any questions.

To apply for WWAPP funds, a project MUST be sponsored by the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR). In order to receive a sponsorship, applicants are encouraged to submit a letter of intent (LOI) by Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. Details on the LOI can be found in the WWAPP Workbook located at the link above.

WWAPP proposals must be submitted to Matthew Nixon at the Maine Coastal Program, ME DMR, 21 SHS, 32 Blossom Lane, Augusts, ME 04333-0022 by March 22, 2019 at 5 p.m. EST. Proposals received after this day and time will not be considered.

Notice of Approval Of Routine Program Changes to the Maine Coastal Program

August 6, 2018 - 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 routine program changes to the Maine Coastal Program.  Approved by NOAA in 1978 as provided by the federal Coastal Zone Management Act (“CZMA”), the Maine Coastal Program (“MCP”) is based on state environmental and land use statutes and associated state agency rules, which are sometimes referred to as its core laws and which provide the MCP's enforceable policies and program administration-related authorities.  The Department of Marine Resources (“DMR”) keeps the MCP up-to-date by periodically submitting for NOAA's review and approval amendments to the core laws.

In May, 2018, DMR submitted for NOAA’s review and approval the following changes and additions to core laws which provide enforceable policies of the MCP enacted during the Second Regular Session of the 128th Maine Legislature:  Public Laws 2017 c. 319, §§1 – 10; c. 333, §§4, 7, 8, and 10; c. 334, §3; c. 350, §§1-2; c. 353, §§1-3; c. 376, §1; and c. 391, §§1-4.  These statutory changes involve amendments to state law regarding: water quality classification standards; management of underground oil storage facilities; membership and participation on the Board of Environmental Protection; municipal shellfish management ordinances; municipal satellite wastewater collection systems; use of a supplemental environmental project in a settlement agreement with DEP; and management of consumer electronics in the waste stream. DMR also submitted recently-adopted changes to the following administrative rules administered by the Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) and the Land Use Planning Commission (‘LUPC”) which are included among the MCP’s core laws: DEP rules chapter 502 (direct watersheds of lakes most at risk from new development and urban impaired streams; changes effective February 18, 2018 ); and LUPC rules chapter 10 (land use districts and standards in the state’s unorganized area; changes effective March 5, 2018).  In addition, DMR proposed adding the following rules to the MCP’s core laws:  DEP rules chapter 450 and LUPC rules chapter 11 (jointly-adopted DEP and LUPC regulations on hydropower licensing; as effective November 2, 2017); DEP rules chapter 418 (criteria and standards governing beneficial use of solid waste; as adopted on May 17, 2018, effective date of the rule as amended to be determined); DEP rules chapter 200 (regulations on metallic mineral exploration, advanced exploration, and mining; as effective December 28, 2017); and DEP rules chapter 382 (regulations on standards of approval under the Wind Energy Act; as effective April 30, 2018). 

DMR also submitted for OCM’s review and approval as a routine program change the following corrections to the state’s CZMA-designated coastal area, which is the MCP’s geographic focus:

  • Addition of the combined land area of the towns of Veazie, Eddington, Orono, and Bradley, Maine, located on the Penobscot River in Penobscot County, Maine, to the coastal area; and
  • Removal of the combined land area of the town of Whitneyville, Marion Township, Centerville Township, T8 SD (Fletcher’s Landing), T9 SD, and T10 SD in Maine’s Hancock and Washington Counties from the coastal area.

These corrections do not change the above-referenced, long-standing, NOAA-approved definition of the coastal area but clarify the land area it encompasses. 

By its letter dated July 31, 2018, NOAA approved the above-described routine program changes as submitted, except NOAA determined that P.L. 2017, c. 376 (1), amending 38 M.R.S. §349(2-A), which authorizes DEP to allow for a supplemental environmental improvement project in satisfaction of a DEP-imposed penalty, is not an enforceable policy for federal consistency review purposes since it “would only apply in instances after the federal consistency review process has been completed.”   

NOAA’s above-referenced approval letter, which details the approved routine program changes, may be download from DMR’s website. With this publication of NOAA’s approval on DMR’s website, these approved routine program changes are now effective, if and as applicable, as enforceable policies for federal consistency review purposes. 

For additional information regarding this notice, contact Todd Burrowes, Maine Coastal Program, Department of Marine Resources, or 207-287-1496.

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