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February 1, 2019

Six projects receive funds in ninth round of Coastal Community Grant Program

Photo / Maureen Milliken
Photo / Maureen Milliken
PHOTO: Willard Beach in South Portland. The city was awarded a grant to create an interactive map that will show flooding and sea rise vulnerabilities.

Six projects from South Portland to Stonington were awarded state Department of Agriculture Conservation and Forestry grants that will help provide support for projects ranging from identifying ways to reduce flood damage to protecting working waterfronts.

The awards, totaling $269,880, are through the Coastal Community Grant Program and administered through the department's Municipal Planning Assistance Program. The funding is through the Maine Coastal Program, Department of Marine Resources, and is from the state'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 round is the ninth of Coastal Community Grants, which have totalsed $1.7 million for 65 projects in coastal Maine since 2012.

"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," the news release announcing the grants said.

Here's how the funding will be spent

Photo / Maureen Milliken
Photo / Maureen Milliken
South Portland’s harbor with Portland in the background.

This year's recipients are:

Town of Bowdoinham: $45,750 for redevelopment of public works waterfront property. The project is part of the town's effort to redevelop the former public works property on the Cathance River. The grant will pay for work to stabilize the property's waterfront, including surveys, preliminary and final designs and construction documents, as well as permits. 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. Beside the Geological Survey, the other partner is the Maine Historic Preservation Commission.

Greater Portland Council of Governments: $15,000 for proactive watershed management in Falmouth. The project will evaluate data, propose a list of metrics to serve as indicators and establish thresholds for watershed metrics that measure or predict watershed health using scientific principles. The findings will serve as a baseline for future planning efforts. The work will assist Falmouth to prioritize watershed management measures and to tailor the efforts to address the needs of each watershed, which will result in a case study to be shared with other municipalities. Partners on the project are the town of Falmouth, the Interlocal Stormwater Working Group, Falmouth Conservation Commission and Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Hancock County Planning Commission/Hancock County Soil & Water Conservation District: $36,908 for Eastern Bay Watershed Management Plan. The project will produce a management plan for the Eastern Bay area of 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 have an impact on water quality and aquaculture 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 are the Hancock County Soil & Water Conservation District, 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: $50,189 for vulnerability assessment mapping. The city's Sustainability Office will create an interactive, web-based vulnerability assessment map that will bring together information related to historical flooding, sea-level rise and storm projections, economic and social vulnerability and critical infrastructure. The city will update and maintain the map for five years and, once created, local decision-makers, city staff, and the community will be able to switch on operational map layers and select a viewing area/zoom level to better understand the risks posed by coastal hazards. Key stakeholders will then be able to develop informed programs and policies to improve South Portland's resilience. Partners are the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Southern Maine Planning & Development Commission and Greater Portland Council of Governments.

Town of Stonington: $60,000 for flood vulnerability assessment and adaptation plan for municipally owned infrastructure. The town will contract with an engineering consultant to assess the vulnerability to flooding from coastal storms and projected sea-level rise to infrastructure including pumping stations, sewer lines, roads and other critical municipal infrastructure. The consultant would provide options to mitigate and adapt to the effects of that flooding in order to allow continued use of vulnerable sections of the transportation network, sewer system and other infrastructure. The assessment will guide the town's capital infrastructure investment to help ensure those systems will be usable for the next 100 years. Project partners are Stonington Water Company, town departments, downtown Stonington business owners and residents

Washington County Council of Governments: $62,033 for Washington County resilience. The goal 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 flood water absorption by tidal marshes in Machias, and using a drone to get highly accurate data in Eastport, Lubec, Bucks Harbor, Jonesport and Milbridge. Project partners are Island Institute, and the towns of Eastport, Jonesport, Lubec, Machias, Machiasport and Milbridge.

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