Catherine Cutler Institute

University of Southern Maine Selected for Pilot Climate Resilience Project

New England Environmental Finance Center (New England EFC) and Casco Bay Estuary Partnership (CBEP) are partnering with the Towns of Harpswell, Phippsburg, and West Bath to help them prepare for the effects of climate change and develop climate planning models for other coastal communities in Maine.

The pilot projects, which are supported by $125,000 in private funds donated to the Maine Climate Council, were selected in a competitive process by the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future and the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

Maine’s four-year climate action plan, Maine Won’t Wait, recommended enhancing state support for communities to build climate resilience, such as by adopting official sea-level rise
projections, incorporating climate change in land-use planning, and strengthening public-health monitoring, education, and prevention.

“The neighboring coastal communities of our pilot project share distinct social and geographic vulnerabilities and have a history of collaboration,” according to Martha Sheils, Director, New England Environmental Finance Center, and Victoria Boundy, Community Engagement Coordinator, Casco Bay Estuary Partnership. “New England EFC and CBEP are excited to support these towns to make regionally informed, science-based policy and planning decisions and to set them up for sustainable financing.”

Other selected pilot projects are partnerships among the following communities and organizations:
  • Windham and Bridgton, with the Greater Portland Council of Governments
  • Caribou, Washburn, and Fort Fairfield, with the Northern Maine Development Commission and The Nature Conservancy in Maine

 “With increasing storm events, droughts, and rising sea levels, Maine’s climate action plan calls for empowering communities to help them become more resilient to the impacts of climate change,” said Hannah Pingree, Director, Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future, and co-chair of the Maine Climate Council. “The partnerships behind this pilot project will help inform the state as it seeks to increase both funding and technical assistance to support crucial resilience planning for Maine’s cities and towns.”