Pingree Welcomes $1.3 Million for Coastal Resilience Projects in Maine
Funded through the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, these grants will enhance coastal resilience efforts in Kittery wetlands, Casco Bay, and Spurwink Marsh
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today welcomed news from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) that three federal grants totaling nearly $1.3 million were awarded to support coastal resilience projects in Maine’s First Congressional District. The grants for Maine—focused in the Spurwink Marsh, Casco Bay, and tidal wetlands in Kittery—are among the 109 projects nationwide announced today that were funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Congressional appropriations, and private partnerships. These grants, which will generate more than $97 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of $242 million, will support design and implementation of projects to enhance the resilience of coastal communities and improve habitat for fish and wildlife across the U.S.
“Tidal flooding, rising sea levels, and erosion are already greatly impacting our environment and wildlife, especially on the coast,” said Pingree, Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Interior and Environment Subcommittee. “Strengthening coastal resiliency is crucial as the climate crisis worsens, and federal grants like these will help ensure vulnerable coastal communities, environments, and wildlife in Maine and across the country are prepared and protected from the growing impacts of climate change.”
The grants for Maine include:
Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission: Strengthening Community and Military Resilience Through Tidal Wetland Planning in Kittery, Maine ($519,896.26)
Kittery, Maine is home to significant coastal habitat and wildlife, a robust population, and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, a critical U.S. military installation and one of only four remaining U.S. Navy repair shipyards in the country and is extremely vulnerable to sea level rise and other coastal hazards. Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission will conduct site assessment and preliminary design of nature-based solutions to enhance the coastal resilience of a tidal wetland, wildlife habitat, and critical transportation infrastructure in Kittery, Maine adjacent to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, a U.S. Navy installation. The project will evaluate three conceptual designs and select one design to advance to 60% design through robust collaboration between the community, stakeholders, and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Town of Cape Elizabeth: Designing Habitat Resilience in the Spurwink Marsh ($318,959.29)
Roads cross the Spurwink Marsh at several locations where they restrict tidal flooding to upstream marsh areas and limit the ability of the marsh to respond to sea level rise and coastal flood events causing these roads to overtop during extreme flood events, creating public safety and road maintenance issues. The Town of Cape Elizabeth will develop preliminary design for Spurwink Marsh resilience with marsh surface and habitat remediation, tidal flooding, and gray infrastructure removal. The project will assess the potential removal of tidal restrictions restoring natural tidal hydrology to over 93 acres of estuarine emergent and brackish wetlands and will facilitate marsh migration in response to sea level rise potentially creating over 200 acres of new habitat in undeveloped areas.
Greater Portland Council of Governments: Planning for Restoration and Management in the Casco Bay Coastal Bluff Ecosystem ($350,000)
Casco Bay, where in certain areas 40% of coastal bluffs are unstable, is at the risk of erosion that would subsequently put homes, businesses, working waterfront access, municipal wastewater infrastructure, transportation routes, water quality, and fish and wildlife habitat at risk. Greater Portland Council of Governments will complete planning and build capacity for improvements in coastal bluff data and imagery, development of mechanisms for coastal bluff management, and advances understanding of nature-based solutions in Casco Bay, Maine.