Grant received for working waterfronts

Posted Wednesday, October 5, 2011 in News

Grant received for working waterfronts

Boothbay Harbor boat yard

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree announced Wednesday that the National Working Waterfronts and Waterways Council (NWWWC), which has several partners in Maine, would receive a $297,000 federal grant from the Economic Development Administration to help communities across the country protect their working waterfronts.
 
“In Maine, our waterfronts aren’t just something pretty on a postcard. They are active places where thousands of people make their living. But growing development is giving them fewer spots to access the ocean, making conservation critically important,” said Pingree. “This project will reach out to communities around the country to tell them of the economic value of conserving working waterfronts, while putting together a tool kit of resources to help them do it. It will make sure that those communities — whether it’s a municipality or a fishermen’s co-op — don’t have to waste time, effort and funds reinventing the wheel.”
 
The project’s work includes:
 
•  Developing a tool kit of working waterfront conservation resources, including case studies of successful efforts, sample ordinances, and funding options;
•  Reaching out to waterfront-dependent communities on the value of working waterfronts;
•  Gathering data on working waterfronts’ economic value; and
•  Studying best practices for outreach and education for communities.
 
Pingree, who plans to introduce legislation to protect working waterfronts later this week, wrote a letter to the Economic Development Administration in support of NWWWC’s grant application. The council formed after Pingree called for groups to form a national coalition at a working waterfronts conference in Portland last year. The coalition includes several groups in Maine, including the Island Institute, Maine Sea Grant, and Coastal Enterprises Inc.
 
The Maine groups have critical roles in the project. The Island Institute will coordinate the grant and put together the final report. Maine Sea Grant will provide training to communities while assessing the best strategies for education and outreach. Coastal Enterprises will put together resources for financing working waterfront conservation projects.
 
“Maine’s working waterfronts bring $800 million into our economy while supporting 30,000 jobs. They represent only 20 miles of our 3,300-mile coastline, meaning that a condo development here or a few summer houses there can swallow a huge portion of working land,” Pingree said. "It’s a growing threat around the country. This project will put together the resources communities need to protect these critical spots so people will be able to make their living from the ocean long into the future.”

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