Maine Coastal Program News

Mainers Awarded Gulf of Maine Council's Visionary Award

The Gulf of Maine Council recently honored the work of eight individuals with Visionary Awards in recognition of their outstanding innovation, creativity, and commitment to protecting natural resources within the Gulf of Maine. For more information, visit the GOMC's website.

June 12, 2024: Shore and Harbor Planning Grant Completed

The Greater Portland Council of Government and Manomet's FY23 grant to improve intertidal shore access in Casco Bay was recently completed. A project summary can be found DMR's example projects page, as well as project summaries from other completed grant projects.

October 30, 2023: DMR and DACF Announce over $500,000 in grants to Coastal Communities

The Department of Marine Resources (DMR) Maine Coastal Program (MCP) and the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry (DACF) Municipal Planning Assistance Program (MPAP) awarded $506,897 in coastal planning grants. These grants will support projects focused on coastal access, tidal marsh resilience, flood vulnerability risk assessments, stormwater management, sea level rise resilience, and drinking water resilience planning. The projects started in fall 2023 and will be completed in December 2024. The grants are funded through the MCP Shore and Harbor Planning Grant and the Coastal Community Grant, which are supported by an annual grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Under the Coastal Community Grants (CCG), MPAP has granted $234,414 to the following municipalities and organizations: Bath, North Haven, Old Orchard Beach, Stonington, and Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission for a project in Ogunquit. For insights on CCG projects, including “Lessons Learned,” please visit MPAP’s CCG Case Studies webpage. For inquiries about the CCG program, contact Joan A. Walton, AICP, at or (207) 419-8661. 

Within the Shore and Harbor Planning Grant program, MCP has awarded $272,483 to the following municipalities and organizations: Belfast, Brooklin, Bucksport, Camden, Stockton Springs, Stonington, and Greater Portland Council of Governments for a project in Freeport. To explore past projects and "Lessons Learned" about the Shore and Harbor Planning Grant, please visit the MCP webpage. For inquiries about the Shore and Harbor Planning Grant, contact Melissa Britsch at or (207) 215-6171. The next round of funding for both grants is anticipated in early 2024.

September 28, 2022: 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 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office for Coastal Management’s (“NOAA”) approval 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; and 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 these provisions’ applicability as state law for licensing and permitting, natural resources management, or other purposes. 

Changes to the core law statutes of the MCP enacted by the 130th Maine Legislature, Second Regular Session:

P.L. 2021 c. 503, secs. 1-8 (modifying exemptions for certain stormwater discharges to Class AA and SA waters); P.L. 2021 c. 504, secs. 1-3 (exceptions to height limits under the Shoreland Zoning Act); P.L. 2021 c. 507, sec. 1 (exemption for mountain bike trails under Storm Water Management Law); P.L. 2021 c. 551, sec. 1-51 (changes to state water quality laws and classifications resulting from triennial review); P.L. 2021 c. 557, sec. 1 (definition of “suspended culture” in Aquaculture Leasing Law); P.L. 2021 c. 581, sec. 1 (clarification of confidentiality provision in Aquaculture Leasing Law); P.L. 2021 c. 590, sec. A-1, A-2, B-1, and B-2 (changes to the Land Use Regulation Law, Site Location of Development Act, and Solid Waste Law to facilitate consideration of sea-level rise and climate change-related issues); P.L. 2021 c. 626, sec. 1-5 (clarifications to solid waste laws regarding regulation of waste generated within the State; P.L. 2021 c. 641, sec. 1-5 (changes to solid waste and water quality laws to prevent further PFAS contamination of soils and waters); P.L. 2021 c. 675, sec. 1 (requires “major substantive” rule adoption procedures for a comprehensive river resource management plan under the Maine Rivers Act); and P.L. 2021 c. 676, secs. A—23, A-24, and A-28 (included in this session’s “errors bill” these provisions make technical corrections to the Land Use Regulation Law and the Aquaculture Leasing Law).

These public laws may be viewed and downloaded at:

Changes to the current core law administrative rules of the MCP:

01-672 CMR Chapter 10, as amended by changes effective 11.1.2021 and 3.29.2022 (Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC), Rules Chapter 10: Land Use Districts and Standards); and 13-188 CMR Ch. 2, as amended effective 3.12.2022 (DMR Rules Ch. 2 – Aquaculture Regulations).

Administrative rules to be added to MCP’s core laws:

01-672 CMR Ch. 2, as enacted 11.1.2021 (LUPC rules Chapter 2 - definitions)

These rules may be viewed on-line at:

By its letter dated September 16, 2022, NOAA approved the above-described program changes.  As of September 28, 2022, the date this notice was published on DMR’s website, these NOAA-approved program changes are effective, if and as applicable, as enforceable policies for review of federal actions pursuant to the federal consistency requirements of the CZMA and its implementing regulations, 15 C.F.R. part 930.

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:  

June 17, 2022: DMR Announces over $200,000 in grants to Coastal Communities

The Department of Marine Resources awarded $202,500 through the FY23 Shore and Harbor Planning Grant after a competitive review process. The funds will support the coastal towns of Bar Harbor, Chebeague Island, Long Island, and Thomaston, and the Greater Portland Council of Governments. These awards, which are funded by DMRs Maine Coastal Program and NOAA, provide coastal towns and regional planning organizations with funds for harbor management plans, documenting and increasing public access to the shore, designing and updating water access facilities, and waterfront resiliency planning. The projects start in August 2022 and will be completed in December 2023. View the press release.

For more information, past results, and case studies, visit the Shore and Harbor Planning Grants page or view the FY22 projects story map.

Shoring up Maine’s working waterfronts: Understanding coastal hazard risks and planning for a more resilient future

In 2016 Maine Coastal Program (MCP) and several collaborators received funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for a vulnerability assessment and resilience planning project at ten working waterfront sites in towns surrounding Penobscot Bay. Working waterfronts are properties that are primarily used to support activities like commercial fishing and aquaculture, boat launching, boat building, marine construction, and passenger transportation, and they all depend on waterfront access. For this study, project partners assessed the resilience of these sites against current and future storm surge, flooding, and sea level rise impacts, while helping the towns understand the range of adaptation options and associated costs for short-, medium-, and long-term improvements. This approach was designed to be relevant and transferrable to other working waterfront facilities across the Maine coast and beyond. 

Wood Environmental & Infrastructure Solutions, Inc. (Wood) did the resilience analyses for the sites and provided recommendations for adaptation measures. In eight of the towns (Rockland, Camden, Lincolnville, Belfast, Searsport, Vinalhaven, Castine, and Stonington), Wood completed a baseline characterization and vulnerability assessment of the selected working waterfront facility. In the final towns (South Thomaston and North Haven), Wood completed alternative vulnerability assessments. View the final report (PDF, 2019, 33 pages, 8 MB)

For additional information about this study, contact Melissa Britsch at

Maine Coastal Program Launches Pilot Oyster Shell Recycling Project

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:

Related Information: New Sensors Improve Access to Important Environmental Data