News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, April 11, 2019
Castine chosen for study on sea level rise impact
Will focus on town’s ‘working waterfront’

by Anne Berleant

Castine is one of 10 towns along Penobscot Bay chosen by the Maine Coastal Program for an assessment of the impact of sea level rise and storm surge. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association awarded the state program just over $200,000 for the study.

For Castine, the town dock is the focus of the study, Maine Coastal Program Deputy Director Matthew Nixon said.

“We’re going to have a consultant look at the facility to see what kind of documentation exists for its current condition,” Nixon said, including when it was built and the types of material used. Next, a model of the site will be used to look at how storm surge and sea level rise will affect that model.

Finally, an overview will show vulnerabilities and recommend ways to adapt to sea level rise “should the town decide to do a rebuild” of the dock, Nixon said. “The town would have a suite of recommendations to make the property more resilient in the future.”

Castine’s town dock made the final cut from a NOAA list of “large, important ports in [the] particular region,” Nixon said. “The town dock is a working waterfront property as it’s used for commercial fishing.”

Town Manager James Goodson met with Nixon and program staff before Castine was selected as a grant recipient.

“Having seen the potential for damage at our waterfront (as experienced in late October 2016), any type of analysis and assessment to prevent increasing damage from rogue storms and high winds would be welcomed,” Goodson said. “I just cannot fathom what the ‘fix’ would look like.”

While 10 towns were named to participate in the study, Nixon said,“We’re talking about a site within a certain town.”

These include the Stonington Lobster Co-op site, and waterfront sites in Rockland, Camden, South Thomaston, Lincolnville, Belfast, Searsport, Vinalhaven and North Haven.