The Working Waterfront

Islands, Bar Harbor win grants

Portland, Thomaston also land DMR’s planning funds

Posted 2022-09-07
Last Modified 2022-09-07

The Department of Marine Resources has awarded $202,500 in Shore and Harbor Planning grants to Bar Harbor, Chebeague Island, Long Island, Thomaston, and the Greater Portland Council of Governments. These awards, funded by DMR’s Maine Coastal Program and NOAA, will be used for harbor management plans, documenting and increasing public access to the shore, designing and updating water access facilities, and waterfront resiliency planning.

Chebeague Island’s Stone Wharf is the primary access point for islanders and the town is raising it to accommodate higher sea levels and storm surges. This will guarantee that the wharf remains useable in all conditions, increasing safety and maintaining the island community.

Ponce’s Landing on Long Island is critical to the commercial fishing industry and it needs safety and structural upgrades to keep it useable in the future.

“For the first time, we asked applicants to document how their proposals would increase coastal waterfront climate resilience…”

The town of Thomaston owns a parcel of land on the upper St. George, which was purchased with assistance from the Land for Maine’s Future Program. The Shore and Harbor Planning Grant will fund the design of a hand-carry boat launch for kayaks and other paddle craft.

The town of Bar Harbor is creating a master plan for the former ferry terminal property near downtown, including a boat launch and public marina for recreational and commercial use.

Lastly, the Greater Portland Council of Governments is collaborating with the non-profit Manomet and the towns of Georgetown, Brunswick, Harpswell, and Yarmouth to help the commercial shellfish industry maintain overland access to intertidal mudflats. The project will identify opportunities to preserve or create access locations and will evaluate the vulnerability of these sites to sea level rise, storm surge, and flooding.

“Maintaining public and working waterfront infrastructure, increasing access, and addressing the impacts of flooding and sea-level rise on the waterfront are common challenges for Maine’s coastal communities,” said DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher. “These projects show the creative ways that towns and their collaborators are addressing these issues and finding solutions that will work for the future.”

“This round of grants was very competitive,” said Melissa Britsch, senior coastal planner at DMR. “For the first time, we asked applicants to document how their proposals would increase coastal waterfront climate resilience and address the recommendations described in Maine’s Climate Plan.”

For additional information about the Shore and Harbor Planning Grant, please visit the Maine Coastal Program website: The Shore and Harbor Planning Grant has been operating since 2006 and has distributed over $2 million to coastal communities. The next round of funding is anticipated in early 2023.