Through the “Maine Won’t Wait” climate action plan, grant funding is available for municipalities that partner with the state to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, achieve carbon neutrality, and work toward climate resilience and sustainability.
All are invited to a public hearing on July 21 at 5 p.m. to learn about the Harpswell Resiliency and Sustainability Committee’s specific plans and proposals toward these goals.
In 2019, the town knew that adapting its coastal infrastructure to remove it from risk or make it resilient to flooding would not be an inexpensive or easy process, as a number of its public roads and landings are already experiencing the effects of higher tides and storm surge. The town applied for and received a Shore-Up Technical Assistance Grant from the Island Institute.
A Climate Resilience Task Force was appointed by the select board to assess town infrastructure that would be affected by climate change impacts and the resulting economic, cultural and ecological disruptions that could occur.
Once the risks were assessed, the task force intended to draft a 10-year work plan for conducting the needed research, engineering and planning to develop approaches for dealing with the highest-priority facilities.
In 2021, the state introduced Maine’s four-year climate action plan, which includes programs and funding for towns, so they can help the state meet its goals to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2045.
Earlier this year, the select board appointed a Resiliency and Sustainability Committee, which replaced the task force and will guide the town toward meeting the state’s goals. The Resiliency and Sustainability Committee is developing grant proposals that will allow the town to benefit from state funding while it works to accomplish these goals.
The hearing will present Harpswell’s steps toward reaching climate resilience and sustainability. Following the hearing, the draft plan, including its priorities, will be updated and presented in resolution form to the select board in August to adopt and become a partner with the state. As a state partner, the town will be eligible to apply for the next round of grants.