Grants buttress local conservation planning
BATH — A number of Mid-coast area communities will receive portions of $291,000 in grant funding from Maine’s federal coastal management award from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The grants were awarded by the Maine State Planning Office for projects in the Maine Coastal Program.
The grants are designed to help enhance public access to the shore, reduce clam flat closures and improve water quality.
The Midcoast Council of Governments was awarded $47,500 to study and potentially open closed clam flats in collaboration with the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust, Maine Department of Marine Resources, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, shellfish conservation committees in Woolwich, Phippsburg, West Bath and Georgetown, and the Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District.
The town of Topsham scored $40,000 to hold public planning meetings on a Lower Village waterfront park and to develop, based on public input, a final park design. The park has been a goal in town since before it becomes part of the 1992 and 2005 comprehensive plans. It is also part of the 1996 Maine Street Plan and the 2008 Main Street Village Plan, according to a release.
Other funded projects include the city of Belfast ($ 40,000) for a conceptual design and engineering plan that identifies the feasibility of constructing 2.15 miles of a multi-use, pedestrian and bicycle paths within a railroad right- of- way located adjacent to the Passagassawakeag River; Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission ($ 29,400) to implement water quality improvement recommendations from the Piscataqua Region Estuary Plan in Kittery, York and South Berwick; Hancock County Planning Commission ($ 35,000) for a Blue Hill Bay watershed needs assessment; the city of Portland ($39,200) to develop an education campaign on stormwater management and stormwater infrastructure; Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission ($35,040) to evaluate the risks to infrastructure and the natural environment resulting from increasingly severe and more frequent coastal storms; and the town of Wells ($25,000) to undertake a feasibility study, obtain public input and design a pedestrian bridge to connect the eastern and western shores within the harbor and beach areas.
All of the projects include collaboration among partnerships, and each grantee will provide a minimum of 25 percent in matching funds or services.