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Coastal resilience grants flow to Maine conservation projects

Emily Pratt, Sharon Pratt
Robert F. Bukaty
Emily Pratt and her mother, Sharon Pratt, of Rockport, Maine, pause to watch the rushing waters of the Megunticook River Falls where it flows into Camden Harbor, Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, in Camden, Maine. The unseasonably warm weather earlier in the week created a lot of snowmelt that has raised the level of the state's rivers.

Several Maine conservation projects got big boosts from federal funding awarded this week by NOAA and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The National Coastal Resilience Fund is designed to improve and restore coastal habitats, and help communities prepare for flooding and intense storms linked to climate change.

The Kennebec Estuary Land Trust got two grants totaling nearly $4 million. Land trust project director Ruth Indrick says some of the money will support their work on the Back River Creek marsh along Route 1 in Woolwich near the Taste of Maine Restaurant.

"It's a cool project, because it both increases the resilience of the salt marsh, and helps to restore the salt marsh," Indrick says."[It] also increases the resilience of the road and the water district infrastructure there."

Money is also going to the Town of Camden, to study dam removals and fish passage on the Megunticook River, the Down East Salmon Federation, to support salt marsh restoration in the Machias region, and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, to gather data on coastal flooding.

Murray Carpenter is Maine Public’s climate reporter, covering climate change and other environmental news.