Northeast
Maureen Milliken

Working waterfront groups to share $1.1 million in Land for Maine's Future grants

Six working waterfronts in Maine will receive grants through the Land for Maine's Future program.

ix projects that will help protect and sustain Maine's working waterfront will share $1.1 million in grants awarded by the Land for Maine's Future program.

Money from the program is allocated to support projects that sustain access to the waterfront for commercial fishing and aquaculture in exchange for development rights through a working waterfront covenant, LMF said in a news release. To date, 25 properties have received grants through the program.

The program is administered through the Land for Maine's Future program and the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

Receiving the grants are:

Stonington Co-Op, at 51 Indian Point Road, Stonington, was awarded a preliminary allocation of $216,250 to conduct site work to improve lobster and bait shipping and receiving. The co-op plans include construction of a 2,000-square-foot wharf that will allow boats to unload light gear and will provide 12 additional parking spaces. The site supports 40 fishing vessels that harvest lobster and scallops, and the expansion will allow the co-op to provide additional shoreside resources for aquaculture operations.

The town of Jonesport, home to 500 commercial fishermen, was awarded a preliminary allocation of $118,750 for site design and engineering, access road and parking development and boat ramp installation, along with and two floats, at Henrys Point, which is currently the location of a campground. The site will continue to support recreational activity, but its development as a commercial site will relieve pressure on a nearby state-owned marina, which provides the only public boat access in Jonesport.

Wottons Lobster Wharf LLC, in New Harbor, will use its $68,750 preliminary grant to install an above-ground fuel tank, additional bait storage and a new float with lobster crate storage at its 86 Southside Road, New Harbor, location. Wottons Wharf is used by four vessels year-round for lobster and bluefin tuna fishing. By improving infrastructure, the project offers the potential to add four additional full-time fishing crews and vessels.

Boothbay Region Maritime Foundation will use a preliminary allocation of $301,500 for the demolition and reconstruction of Carter's Wharf, 87 Atlantic Ave., in Boothbay Harbor. Carter's Wharf is home to 30 lobster fishing vessels and a lobster buying station run by Luke's Lobster. The new wharf could potentially serve an additional 10 to 15 vessels as well as aquaculture operations and allow other types of fish to be landed including crab and tuna.

boothbay harbor wharf

COURTESY / BOOTHBAY REGION MARITIME FOUNDATION

The Boothbay Region Maritime Foundation was one of the six working waterfront organizations to share in $1.1 million grants from the Land for Maine's Future program. The Boothbay money will be used to renovate Carter's Wharf, which is home to 30 lobster fishing operations and a lobster-buying station run by Luke's Lobster.

Interstate Lobster Inc., in Harpswell, will use its $155,500 allocation to support the demolition, replacement and expansion of the wharf at 241 Ash Point Road. The project will improve the structural integrity of the wharf, built in 1978, and suffering from cracked and split underpinnings, which have cost the co-op $10,000 to $30,000 per year to maintain. The wharf supports 21 co-op members and 20 additional boats that land lobsters, scallops and menhaden.

Spruce Head Fishermans Co-op, 275 Island Road in South Thomaston, will use the $276,000 grant to pay off a loan used to buy adjacent property that will be used to expand parking and storage for the co-op's 54 members. The co-op will then refinance the property and use the money to install a bait freezer which will help the members address potential bait shortages.

Preliminary allocations represent Land for Maine's Future board support for the projects. However, before money is disbursed, applicants must submit an appraisal, and complete all real estate due diligence to the satisfaction of the state, the news release said.

About the Working Waterfront Access Protection Program

The Working Waterfront Access Protection Program fund was first capitalized by a bond passed in 2005, and has been renewed three times since by Maine voters. Money is allocated by the board to support projects that sustain access to the waterfront for commercial fishing and aquaculture in exchange for development rights through a Working Waterfront Covenant. Money is set aside to buy development rights, through a legally binding agreement between the state and working waterfront owners, which will ensure that the property remains available to support commercial fishing or aquaculture activities. To date, 25 properties have receivedgrants through the program. The program is administered by the Maine Department of Marine Resources and the Land for Maine's Future Program. For more information, click here.

About Land for Maine's Future

The Land for Maine's Future Program is the state's primary funding vehicle for conserving land for its natural and recreational value. The program was established in 1987, when voters approved $35 million to buy land of statewide importance. In 32 years, LMF has assisted in the protection of 59 water access sites, 41 farms totaling more than 9,755 acres, 24 commercial working waterfront properties, more than 1,200 miles of shoreland, 158 miles of former railroad corridors for recreational trails and more than 600,919 acres of conservation and recreation land, including 333,425 acres of working land with permanent conservation easements. LMF acquires land only from willing sellers, pursues a mission defined by the public, provides a tangible return to everyone who cherishes Maine's landscape, from hunters, to hikers, snowmobilers to bird watchers, and leverages both federal and private funding for state priority purchases,the organization says.

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