Requesting Federal Relief for Coastal Maine

In January, two very powerful storms brought rain, wind, and flooding that ravaged our state, damaged coastal communities and working waterfronts, and altered the very landscape of our iconic coast.

Hello, this is Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.

We saw storms that swept fish houses into the sea and kicked pilings out from once-sturdy piers and broke dunes and breakwaters and chewed up roads and seawalls, sometimes wiped storekeepers dry of stock, and changed the very landscape of our coast.

Because of all that, this week, I wrote to President Biden to formally request a Major Disaster Declaration to help Maine’s eight coastal counties recover from the back-to-back storms of January. Most of the estimated $70 million in public infrastructure damage was in Washington, Hancock, Waldo, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Cumberland, and York counties. Our coastal counties.

If President Biden approves my request, we can use federal funding to repair the damaged roads and bridges, as well as public infrastructure, such as public buildings in those hard-hit counties.

In addition to public assistance, I’ve asked for help for individual families and telling the president that hundreds of people in our marine and aquaculture industries are now fighting to sustain their family businesses because they depend so much on working waterfronts, some of which were destroyed in the storms. 

Our thriving marine economy is at risk unless we receive every federal resource that is available to support the full recovery of our communities.

While we await the president’s response to my request, some technical and financial assistance is available now, and you can view that on our flood relief website at

My Administration will continue to do everything we can to support the recovery of our coastal communities and the industries and families that rely on them.

In addition to requesting a Major Disaster Declaration, we have introduced a bill, LD 2030, to streamline the permitting of certain activities under the Natural Resources Protection Act to make it easier for Maine communities to rebuild their waterfronts. 

We have proposed emergency legislation also for $50 million in state funds for the Maine Infrastructure Adaptation Fund to rebuild waterfront infrastructure, starting as soon as that bill is passed. 

We’re making $2 million in Land for Maine’s Future grants available for working waterfront projects that preserve access to commercial fishing. 

And, we are making $300,000 in federal grants available for coastal infrastructure projects to make our communities more resilient to climate change. 

As someone with deep roots in Stonington, where my ancestors fished for a living, I know how important our coastal communities are to our economy, to our culture, to our very identity as a people and as a state.

And I will continue to do all I can to support people whose livelihoods depend on working waterfronts. We will recover from these devastating storms, and we will build more resilient communities that can withstand whatever storms may come. 

We will rebuild the broken roads, wharves, and bridges and fortify our state against the ravages of unpredictable storms and the predictability of climate change.

This is Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.