NOAA holds session for Maine Coastal Management Program
Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission (LCRPC) hosted a listening session May 3 as part of a federal evaluation of the Maine Coastal Management Program. MCMP is an inter-agency group dedicated to issues important to the Maine coast, including sea level rise, coastal cleanup, harbors, access questions, and more.
The evaluation is being conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The goal for the meeting was for MCMP to hear how the program was working in Maine towns, most attendees were hoping for a presentation of some sort. Several people said the communication was unclear.
Still, many had questions and comments for NOAA and MCMP. Legislators Mick Devin (D-Newcastle), Lydia Blume (D-York) and Eloise Vitelli (D-Sagadahoc County) expressed concerns that many rules prevent MCMP members from attending hearings and work sessions in the Legislature, even when the issue relates directly to coastal management. Blume said she had begun a Coastal Coalition, but to date, no one from the program had been allowed to attend.
Others said the request for proposals on grant programs arrived too late to develop a grant program for this year. Several people raised access to the coastline as a significant issue. Others were concerned about coastal pollution.
Richard Tucker of Westport Island said the grant programs don’t appeal to people with small projects, like the Westport Island Boat Launch, which didn’t need support with engineering or planning, but could have used some material support.
Several members of local land trusts echoed sentiments that information on grants should come sooner, and should come to them, because many towns have a great deal of changeover on the municipal side, but volunteers with the land trusts, many of which deal with coastal and water issues, tend to remain in place for many years.
MCMP provides grants for shore and harbor management issues. It also helps support LCRPC on coastal economic development issues. Planning grants and technical grants are competitive.
The evaluation team, which includes members of NOAA as well as MCMP, is particularly interested in how well the program is being administered, coastal habitat issues and coastal hazards and resilience. Anyone in Lincoln County may submit written comments via email to email@example.com. Comments are due May 12.