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  • Writer's pictureHaley

Windfall! $1.8 MILLION grant for Coastal Salt Marsh Resilience

WOW! Downeast Salmon Federation has been awarded a $1.8M grant to conduct some baseline studies on marshes in Washington County. Of that amount, a significant portion will be directed to conservation projects at three sites in Addison and Machias.

This grant will build on coastal infrastructure work that is already happening along the Maine coast. This funding will help us investigate what will happen when marshes are re-opened to tidal flow. Funding will support a full ecological assessment of specific regional salt marshes. Data will be used to develop a restoration design to rehabilitate salt marsh vegetation, prepare the marsh platform for increased tidal flow, and increase flood buffer protection.

The overarching goal of this study will be to explore nature-based solutions to coastal resilience, including salt marsh rehabilitation, and to provide a benefit to local communities in the face of an uncertain future climate.

A technical advisory committee will oversee the work described above and have the opportunity to provide input. We want to work with, not against, the planning board and community members and we want to have community input for every step of the process.

We are working with a number of top partners in the field to research and support habitat restoration under this grant, including: Maine Coast Heritage Trust, the Machias Town Manager, ME Dept. of Marine Resources, The Nature Conservancy, Downeast Coastal Conservancy, US Fish & Wildlife Service Gulf of Maine Coastal Program, and UMaine-Machias, among others.

Funding will help to advance these large coastal infrastructure projects to the final design and permitting phase. These infrastructure improvements will benefit the towns by providing flood protection, the fishery by providing passage to spawning and rearing habitat, and the overall health of the salt marsh by returning the tides.

DSF's Habitat Restoration Project Manager Kirstin Underwood out on the marsh with MCHT's Jacob Van de Sande, surveying soil composition. We're looking forward to spending a lot of time out at these sites to assess the direction of our projects and a future for coastal marsh resilience in coastal Maine!

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