Gouldsboro’s Select Board created the Gouldsboro Coastal Resilience Committee (CRC) at its August 31, 2023 meeting. At its October 26 meeting, it appointed Tim Fisher, Tom McKeag, John Renwick, Dwight Rodgers, and Bill Zoellick as the Committee’s initial members. Bill will serve as the initial committee chair. The Committee’s principal role is to support the Town staff and Select Board by:
- Working with the staff, Select Board, and other committees to create a list of the most pressing coastal resilience actions. Initially, many of these actions will emerge from the FB Environmental vulnerability study. As time passes, the Committee will consider other vulnerabilities as well as opportunities to reduce the town’s energy use, such as financial support to install heat pumps in town buildings.
- Keeping up-to-date on funding opportunities from the state, foundations, and other sources.
- Working with town staff and other stakeholders (e.g., fishermen and residents in Corea) to develop proposals to secure the needed funding.
Background: Identifying Vulnerabilities
Over the past two years, Gouldsboro used support from NOAA and the Maine Coastal Program to engage FB Environmental, a Portland-based environmental consulting firm, to identify where roads, buildings, harbors, and other infrastructure are most vulnerable to storm and sea-level rise damage.
This spring, Gouldsboro hosted a three-hour, come-and-go-as-you-can workshop where residents learned about the report and added their observations about erosion, flooding, and other town vulnerabilities and needs. Concerns included increased erosion in many areas, salt-water intrusion, loss of trees along the shore due to sea-level rise and storms, and loss of communications during storm events.
Maine’s Community Resilience Partnership Program
Maine’s Community Resilience Partnership program helps communities reduce carbon emissions, transition to clean energy, and become more resilient to climate change effects such as extreme weather, flooding, and rising sea levels. Local match requirements for financial assistance toward these goals are reduced or, in some cases, eliminated for communities with Partnership membership. Gouldsboro received notice that its membership application was accepted on September 21. One membership requirement is that each member town must designate either a staff member or Committee as its liaison to the Partnership. Gouldsboro’s CRC has that role.
Gouldsboro Shore and the CRC
We began the Gouldsboro Shore website and all the related volunteer activities when we first received funding from the Maine Coastal Program to work toward preserving shore access and identifying vulnerabilities related to sea-level rise and storms. Support from other sources allowed us to include our ongoing work with clams under the Gouldsboro Shore umbrella.
Our work over the past two years identified vulnerabilities that Gouldsboro needs to address. The CRC and the town’s new work as a Community Resilience Partnership member will allow it to continue what it began in Gouldsboro Shore’s first years. If anything, the pace of work will accelerate. The Gouldsboro Shore website and the support from volunteers will be central to continuing work toward preserving the tradition of permitting shore access for harvesters, sustaining resilient clam flats, and ensuring that the town is prepared for higher sea levels and more powerful storms.