2024 Storms: Resources for Recovery

Posted 2024-01-11

In the wake of the winter 2024 storms, our island and coastal communities are grappling with the devastating impacts of severe flooding and storm damage.  To support the families and businesses through this difficult time, we are sharing resources to recover, rebuild, and prepare for the future. If you have questions or need additional assistance please contact Nick Battista, Chief Policy Officer: nbattista@islandinstitute.org.

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Financial Resources  |  Insurance   |   Permitting   |   Damage Reporting   |   Emergency Assistance   |   Webinars & Additional Resources


Financial Resources

maine coast fishermen’s association storm recovery assistance program

If you need to rebuild a working waterfront property damaged in the January storms and have struggled to find funding from other sources, please answer the questions below to apply for a grant of $5,000 from the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Storm Recovery Fund by June 14.

We welcome applications from any property owner that serves commercial fishing businesses, but will prioritize those that have few other opportunities to receive relief funding. We estimate that we will be able to make between 25-30 grants with funding currently available. If we receive more qualified applicants than we can fund, recipients will be chosen via lottery. Learn more and apply here.

Working Waterfront Resilience Grant Program

Governor Janet Mills has announced the availability of $25 million in funding through the Working Waterfront Resilience Grant Program on May 9, 2024. This initiative, supported by the Maine Department of Transportation, the Maine Department of Marine Resources, and the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future, aims to assist in the repair and rebuilding of working waterfronts damaged by the recent severe weather.Learn more and download an application.


Properties serving at least 10 commercial fishermen or aquaculturists for landing catch or accessing vessels.  

Priority will be given to projects supporting 20 or more commercial fishermen and/or aquaculturists. 

Grant Amount:

Applicants may request up to $2 million for design, permitting, and construction costs, covering up to 50% of total project costs. 

Application Deadline:

Applications must be submitted by 4:30 p.m. on Monday, June 10, 2024. 

This funding can be used for the reconstruction and improvement of wharves and piers, including associated support buildings and systems necessary for operational sustainability. The goal is to enhance the resilience of these critical infrastructures against future weather events.

Island Institute can assist business owners in applying for the  Working Waterfront Resiliency Grant Program closing on June 10th. Contact Olivia Richard by email or 207.956.0752 for support. Get answers to frequently asked questions here.

FEMA Funding for Storm Recovery

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is accepting applications for federal assistance from eligible businesses, individuals, and families impacted by the January 10 and 13 storms. On March 21, the White House approved a major disaster declaration for Maine, requested by Gov. Janet Mills to provide funding to assist in the rebuilding of our coast. FEMA funding will be available for eligible applicants who apply before May 20.

What This Means for You:

Crucial federal assistance is available for recovering public infrastructure, eligible residents who have suffered severe property damage, and low-interest Small Business Administration loans.

Eligible Areas:

The declaration covers our eight coastal counties: Washington, Hancock, Waldo, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Cumberland, and York. Residents in these areas who have experienced storm-related damage are encouraged to apply for assistance.

Available Assistance:

    • Federal Aid: Qualifying individuals and families can receive support for temporary housing, home repairs, and other storm-related needs.
    • SBA Loans: The U.S. Small Business Administration will offer low-interest loans to businesses, homeowners, renters, and nonprofit organizations for repairing or replacing damaged property. Businesses may also qualify for working capital loans.

How to Apply:

    1. Visit FEMA’s Maine Serve Storm and Flooding (DR-4754-ME) webpage.
    2. Click Apply for Assistance toward the top right of the page to begin your application.
    3. Sign In at the top of the page or click Let’s Get Started to register.

In the coming weeks, FEMA, in collaboration with the Maine Emergency Management Agency and other state agencies, will establish Disaster Recovery Centers in affected areas. These centers, along with FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams, will assist you in applying for federal assistance. Information on center locations and how to apply in person, online, or by phone will be announced soon.

Glenn Fund Loans

Island Institute offers a limited number of loans to coastal and island businesses. For more information, please contact Alex Kravitz: akravitz@islandinstitute.org

The FAME Direct Loan

The FAME Direct Load (formerly known as the Economic Recovery Loan Program) provides subordinate or gap financing to businesses affected by their current economic situation. For larger loans, up to $1 million may be available if substantial public benefit is demonstrated and sufficient funds are available. Most often, however, FAME Direct Loans are less than $500,000. We now offer a fixed rate: Wall Street Journal Prime plus 2% at time of loan commitment, currently capped at 8%. Learn more and apply.

Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG)

CDBG Micro-Enterprise Assistance Grant Program: Grants of up to $10,000 to existing businesses to be used for working capital, purchase of inventory, supplies and equipment. Existing businesses that have five or fewer employees, one of whom owns the enterprise, and whose household income is Low/Moderate as defined by HUD will meet the project benefit. Request advising appointment with SBDC to review your eligibility for this program: www.mainesbdc.org/ 

Sunrise County Economic Council (SCEC): Washington County

SCEC oversees various gap-financing microloan programs for qualifying businesses. For more information on loan programs, visit: sunrisecounty.org/business/loan-programs/

Down East Commercial Fisheries Fund: Created to invest in Washington County-based commercial fisheries and marine-related industries.

    • The first option is for higher-risk clients looking for loans of up to $2,500. These clients usually would not qualify to borrow from banks. For these loans, DECFF acts as the primary lender and provides up to 80% of the loan request. The client would provide the remaining 20% from other sources.
    • The second option covers loans ranging from $2,500 to $10,000. It is set up to assist existing businesses that need financial assistance to grow, expand, hire and sustain their operations. DECFF provides up to 50% of the loan request with the client providing the remaining 50% from other sources.


For those with insurance, this is the most direct way to get help quickly. The Maine Bureau of Insurance has several resources to help Maine people navigate insurance questions during flooding and natural disasters.


The Maine Department of Environmental Protection is providing information and guidance on their permitting process to help people navigate recovery and rebuilding. Don’t forget about other permits that may be required, including local ones that are necessary to comply with the National Flood Insurance Program and the Army Corps of Engineers permits that are required for filling submerged lands or adding rocks and dirt to harbors and bays. Learn more here. Download the Permitting Guidance for Storm Recovery Activities PDF.

Damage Reporting

Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is no longer accepting damage reports as of January 31, 2024. For questions or further resources to assist with damage reporting, please contact Nick Battista, Chief Policy Officer: nbattista@islandinstitute.org.

Emergency Assistance

First and foremost, contact your County Emergency Management Agency (EMA). County EMAs are the critical link between cities and towns and the State. They provide support for response, recovery and mitigation to local, business and volunteer partners.

Additional resources:

Island Institute is offering storm recovery grants of up to $5,000 for working waterfront businesses that directly support fishing and aquaculture on islands and in fishing dependent communities. For more information and to apply, click here. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Jeff Frank jfrank@islandinstitute.org.

Webinars & Additional Resources

January 16, 2024 webinar: Storm resources and recovery | ISland institute

On January 16, Island Institute hosted a webinar with Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher and Department of Economic, Community Development Commissioner Heather Johnson, and Maine Emergency Management Agency Director, Mitigation, Planning and Recovery Anne Fuchs.

Listen in and hear directly from these State officials about what to do now and what to expect in the coming weeks and months. Topics include: 

    • Roles and responsibilities of various state agencies 
    • Processes and timelines to access federal assistance funding 
    • Existing programs and resources for recovery and relief 
    • Special considerations for working waterfront businesses, homeowners, and municipalities
    • And more!

Watch the recording. To address additional questions from the webinar, we have compiled more information about the most frequently asked questions.

January 19, 2024 webinar: Storm Assessment and Recovery UPDATES | DMR, DECD, MEMA

On January 19, officials from Maine’s Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR), Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD), Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) shared updates on the storm’s damage and recovery efforts. Watch the recording.

January 30, 2024 webinar: storm science | understanding the new normal

On January 30, Island Institute hosted a webinar with Susie Arnold, Ph.D., Co-chair, Science and Technical Subcommittee, Maine Climate Council; Director of Center for Climate and Community, Island Institute, Hannah Baranes, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Researcher, Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Gabe McPhail, Founder, Resilient Communities, L3C, and moderated by Jennifer Seavey, Chief Programs Officer, Island Institute.

Listen in and hear directly from a panel of expert scientists to learn:

    • How severe were the January storms?
    • What is sea level rise, and how did it influence the January storms?
    • How did each element of the storm – sea level rise, tides, storm surge, waves, and freshwater – affect flooding?
    • How are climate impacts changing the frequency and intensity of storms?
    • What tools are available to help communities with short-term and long-term planning?
    • How can communities assess and address vulnerabilities? What factors impact social vulnerability?
    • And more!

Watch the recording. 

MAINE EXPLAINED video from Maine public: How vulnerable is Maine’s coast to climate change?

Many coastal communities were impacted by several major storms during the winter of 2024. That’s put a spotlight on a major question facing the state: just how vulnerable is Maine’s coast to a warming world, and what steps do we need to take to prepare? That’s what we dive into in this episode of Maine Explained. Watch the video.


Maine’s Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) has compiled resources to support storm recovery efforts for Maine’s working waterfront. Download the PDF

Maine Working Waterfront Financial and Technical Assistance Resources from DMR

Maine’s Department of Marine Resources (DMR) has compiled a list of financial and technical assistance resources to support storm recovery efforts for Maine’s working waterfront. See list of resources.


The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) provides more information on flood plain management in their handbook. See the handbook.

Flood-Related Oil Clean-up Resources

During flooding, basement fuel oil tanks can float and release oil. If your home is affected by flooding, the Maine DEP will inspect your oil system and advise on cleaning up any spills free of charge. If you have an oil spill requiring cleanup, Maine DEP can often provide cleanup services at little or no cost to you. This service is available after any weather event. Request it by calling Maine DEP at (800) 482-0777. The line is staffed 24/7.

We are continuing to assess community impact and need in the wake of this disaster and will be in touch with additional programmatic responses and support as they become available. Sign up for news and updates from Island Institute.