This page provides an overview of the actions Maine is taking to support adaptation efforts at the local level.
Maine agencies provide guidance, tools, funding, and technical support for local adaptation projects, which helps communities assess their climate vulnerabilities, increase science-based knowledge on the wide-ranging effects of climate change, and implement resilience projects.
Planning Assistance and Resources
Through the Municipal Climate Adaptation Guidance Series, Maine’s Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry’s (DACF) Municipal Planning Assistance Program and the Maine Regional Planning Organizations offer broad support to local governments by developing resources on how communities can become more resilient in many areas like transportation, water, and land-use planning. The Municipal Planning Assistance Program provides land-use planning expertise for all of Maine’s municipalities and promotes growth management principles at both the state and local levels. In addition, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) launched a Climate Adaptation Toolkit, an online reference library focused on resources for adaptation and resiliency planning in the state. Available on DEP’s website, the toolkit provides links to key state, federal, and other climate-related documents, climate models, data sources, and technical providers, to assist with adaptation work in Maine. In August 2017, DACF published its Flood Resilience Checklist, a self-assessment tool for coastal communities to evaluate vulnerability to flood hazards and increase resilience.
Maine’s DACF also cooperates with GrowSmart Maine, an organization that raises awareness and support of smart growth principles in the state, to realize Project Canopy, an effort to help towns and communities develop long-term community tree programs and maximize the many benefits of trees and forests, including minimizing climate impacts like hotter temperatures.
The state also provides funding to support adaptation initiatives. DACF Natural Resources Conservation Service has announced that it will award $250,000 in Conservation Innovation Grants to advance conservation efforts in 2018, including grants to address climate impacts to grazing lands, organic agriculture systems, and soil health. The Maine Coastal Program administers the Coastal Communities Grant Program that funds municipal vulnerability assessments and other projects to increase local resilience by incorporating sea-level rise into comprehensive and capital improvement plans and land use and floodplain ordinances. DEP, in partnership with the Maine Municipal Bond Bank, awards low-interest loans to municipalities through the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund (CWSRF) to construct wastewater infrastructure projects. Beginning in 2015, DEP began providing an incentive to local governments, in the form of a “standalone principal forgiveness loan to borrowers,” to encourage development of Climate Adaptation Plans for wastewater treatment systems. Plans must identify both gradual (i.e., sea-level rise) and sudden (e.g., hurricane) hazards associated with climate change, evaluate their impacts on critical assets, identify potential adaptation practices, and recommend how to build resilience into the critical assets.
(Research last updated: May 30, 2018).