Casco Bay Communities team up to combat coastal flooding

Ten Casco Bay coastal communities will be working together to prepare for the environmental, social and economic impacts of flooding caused by the climate crisis.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has awarded the Greater Portland Council of Governments (GPCOG) $250,000 for the regional initiative. GPCOG has raised an additional $250,000 in matching funds from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI), foundation grants and in-kind donations from municipalities. 

“Now is the time to start planning for the solutions that will ensure our coast can be economically, environmentally, and socially resilient to current and future impacts,” said Sara Mills-Knapp, Sustainability Program Manager at GPCOG. “We know that nature-based solutions to flooding are essential to protecting habitats and communities, and GPCOG looks forward to supporting our municipalities in this important long-term planning effort.”

“The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant will bring much needed resources to Maine’s coastal communities, supporting them in planning for climate impacts and incorporating nature-based solutions,” added Gayle Bowness, Municipal Climate Action Program Manager for the Gulf of Maine Research Institute.

Natural solutions harness the power of nature to act as an effective defense system against flooding. Examples in Maine are salt-marsh restoration, rain gardens, parks and open spaces, beach dune restoration and shoreline protection using natural materials.

The municipalities involved in the project include Freeport, Falmouth, Cumberland, Yarmouth, Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough, Portland, South Portland, Chebeague Island and Long Island. The Casco Bay watershed, comprise almost 1,000 square miles of land and host 20 percent of the state’s population. 

Photo: Greater Portland Council of Governments