Falmouth, Yarmouth, Topsham receive coastal planning grants

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AUGUSTA — Projects in Falmouth, Yarmouth and Topsham are among eight along the coast that will receive part of $170,000 in state grants.

The land use team and Maine Coastal Program at the State Planning Office announced the grants, which are meant to enhance coastal habitat restoration and public access to the shore, as well as improve water quality and reduce clam flat closures.

Maine’s federal coastal management award from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration made the grants possible. Each project includes collaboration among partnerships, and each grantee will provide at least 25 percent in matching services or funds.

Falmouth is receiving $50,000 for a Route 1 Commercial District Stormwater Management Plan. The town, in partnership with the Maine Department of Transportation and the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, will study the linkage of public and private storm-water runoff in the commercial Route 1 area.

They will also come up with an integrated plan to address that runoff, and start the process of addressing discharges to Mussel Cove, where pollution has prevented shell fishing.

Yarmouth is receiving $29,000 for a feasibility study on reconnection of Yarmouth Village to the working waterfront. Interstate 295 was constructed through the town several decades ago, cutting off the Main Street and village neighborhoods from Yarmouth’s harbor.

The town will use the funds to conduct a feasibility study of pedestrian connectivity from Main Street to the town landing, and Main Street to the marinas.

Topsham is getting more than $5,100 for a barrier survey on the Little River watershed. The town is partnering in the endeavor with the Brunswick-Topsham and Kennebec Estuary land trusts, the Androscoggin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District, the Atlantic Salmon Federation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The project was preceded by the removal of a Little River dam, the first stage in opening more than 50 square miles of upstream habitat for native fish species.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.