Casco Bay Currents, an email newsletter of the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership
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Winter 2019

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to the Winter 2019 edition of Casco Bay Currents, the newsletter for Casco Bay Estuary Partnership (CBEP).

You are receiving this quarterly email newsletter because you signed up for our newsletters in the past. If you wish to unsubscribe, please click the link at the bottom of this page. If this was forwarded by a friend and you would like to subscribe, you can do so at the bottom of our website home page.

2019 Casco Bay Community Grants
Application Deadline:
9 a.m. Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Request for Proposals Here

CBEP Community Grants RFP Available


Casco Bay Estuary Partnership invites proposals for the 2019 Casco Bay Community Grants Program. A total of $12,500 is available in 2019.

CBEP encourages new partnerships and innovative projects that engage communities with Casco Bay and its watershed. Proposals are welcome from educators, land trusts and other non-profit organizations, civic groups, municipal committees, churches, clubs, school groups and neighborhood associations. 

The Request for Proposals and application form are available for download on our website (link in blue box above). You can choose a fillable application form attached to the RFP or download a separate application in Microsoft Word format. If you have trouble downloading documents and would like the package emailed or mailed to you, please contact us. Please share this RFP with others who may be interested.
The application deadline is 9 a.m. on Tuesday, January 22, 2019.
If you have any questions or need further information, please contact Victoria Boundy or call (207) 780-5843.
Photos (Left to right, clockwise): Friends of Pope Preserve, South Portland; A student checking turbidity with Cape Elizabeth Land Trust. Phippsburg Elementary School students work with Kennebec Estuary Land Trust and local shellfishermen to check on clams planted from seed. Students work with Lakes Environmental Association to collect photo evidence of macroinvertebrate species in Stevens Brook. 
Portland Stormwater Fee

Review of Stormwater Fee Implementation in Portland, Maine, a report prepared by Nancy Leahy Martin for CBEP, is available here. CBEP is monitoring the implementation of Portland’s Stormwater Service Charge (“Stormwater Fee”), including reviews of the costs and benefits of projects funded by the fee. 

In 2016, after years of study and preparation, Portland enacted a stormwater service fee designed to raise an estimated $170 million over 15 years to properly fund projects and initiatives mandated under the federal Clean Water Act.

Portland is one of just five stormwater utilities in the State of Maine. Other communities are looking to Portland to see how successful this program will be. Therefore, the City should make its program goals and implementation as clear and transparent as possible to ensure its long-term support and success. The extent to which residents understand and appreciate the link between the stormwater fee and stormwater runoff, and how both relate to clean water, is a critical overall goal.

Here is the City's Stormwater Service Charge page, where you can get more information about the program.

Learn more about CBEP through our new brochure, hot off the press (click image for link)!

Harpswell Addresses Rising Tides

The Town of Harpswell has 216 miles of coastline, about one-third of the entire coastline of Casco Bay. About 20 percent of the town’s land is within 250 feet of the water and many of the roads are vulnerable to rising tides. One area of concern is Basin Point Road, near the end of Harpswell Neck in West Harpswell, where the road crosses a stream flowing from the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust's Curtis Farm Preserve.

Basin Point Road is a town-owned and maintained roadway that provides the sole overland access to residential and business properties along Basin Point, including Dolphin Marina. The road has a crossing that drains the adjacent wetland and pond, and during extreme high tide events, sea water begins to back-flow into the pond. Basin Point Road is predicted to be overtopped in a three-foot sea level rise scenario and is already nearing that point during storm surge events. As storm events become more frequent, approximately 115 households and a number of home businesses will lose road access. Dolphin Marina and Restaurant, which are at the end of the road and which employ over 90 people, would become inaccessible.

CBEP's Matt Craig identified this study site as a restoration opportunity while doing some rapid assessment surveys in 2011-12. This led to a collaborative proposal with the Town of Harpswell to the Maine Coastal Program's Coastal Communities Grant Program in 2017 for a feasibility study. The Town commissioned Gorrill Palmer Engineering to assess design options and costs for upgrading the road and culvert crossing to withstand anticipated sea level rise. It also commissioned CBEP to assess current ecological conditions and scenario planning for the impacts of culvert replacement and sea level rise on ecosystems adjacent to the road.

Salt marshes have historically maintained pace with sea level rise over time. The development of low-lying roadways and undersized culverts have altered wetlands' hydrological processes and "drowned" salt marshes, causing marsh elevations to fall behind sea levels due to the lack of peat formation and sediment deposition. As the pace of sea level rise increases, tidal restoration is increasingly important. 

The Harpswell Conservation Commission will be presenting this study to the Board of Selectmen this winter. The Town sees the need to develop a more comprehensive database of road infrastructure that integrates socioeconomic, ecological, and resilience information to identify priorities for replacement and upgrades. In a related project funded by a 2018 CBEP Community Grant, the Conservation Commission is engaging volunteers to take photos and measurements to document the impact of sea level rise on vulnerable roads, including Basin Point Road.

For more information, check the Town of Harpswell website.
Contact: Mary Ann Nahf, Harpswell Conservation Commission Chair
Winter on the Marsh. Bunganuc Point and Wharton Point, Brunswick.

Mark Your Calendars:
CBEP and Partner Events

  • January 9, 2019: CBEP Executive Committee meeting. Info here.
  • March 13, 2019: CBEP Management Committee meeting. Info here.
  • March 28, 2019: Maine Sustainability & Water Conference. Info here.
  • June 13-14, 2019: The Beaches Conference, Kittery Community Center. Info here.
Copyright © 2018, Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

University of Southern Maine Muskie School of Public Service
Wishcamper Center #229, 34 Bedford Street
Portland, ME 04104

Phone: (207) 780-4820
Fax: (207) 228-8460

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