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Maine Legislature approved $2.1 million in funds for working waterfront protection. Lands for Maine’s Future (LMF) and the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) will accept proposals for projects to protect further and secure commercial fishing access in Maine. Proposals will be accepted through a June 28 deadline.

The Working Waterfront Access Protection Program (WWAPP) funds given to winning proposals can be used to purchase property dedicated only to commercial fisheries or aquaculture use. Mixed-use properties must be clearly defined in support of a commercial fishing operation.

Applicants who are eligible for proposals include nonprofit land conservation organizations, private landowners, counties, cities, towns, and state agencies. Private businesses directly involved or other qualified organizations must provide permanent access for use by commercial fisheries. Potential applicants can contact Melissa Britsch, senior planner with the Maine Coastal Program, at 207-215-6171.

“For landowners who are willing to restrict future development of their property, the WWAPP could provide access to funds that can be used to build in a way that is resilient to the effects of a changing climate. This program will preserve and protect the valuable coastal facilities and infrastructure necessary to ensure a strong and durable coastal economy for Maine.” LMF board chair and DMR commissioner Patrick Keliher stated in a press release.

“Maine’s working waterfronts continue to face many challenges, not the least of which are the damages caused by last month’s coastal storms.”

To apply for WWAPP funds, the project must be sponsored by DMR. They encourage applicants to submit a letter of intent by March 4.

Further information on applying for LMF funds and details on the letter of intent can be found in the WWAPP Workbook.

“The partnership between LMF and DMR in implementing the Working Waterfront Access Protection Program has been a true success, with the protection of 30 working waterfront properties statewide,” said LMF Director Laura Graham. “But there is more work to be done, and we look forward to leveraging our shared resources to ensure Maine’s commercial fisheries businesses can access these funds.”

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Carli is a Content Specialist for National Fisherman. She comes from a fourth-generation fishing family off the coast of Maine. Her background consists of growing her own business within the marine community. She resides on one of the islands off the coast of Maine while also supporting the lobster community she grew up in.

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