Frequently Asked Questions
The Maine Coast Protection Initiative (MCPI) is a unique collaboration between public and private conservation partners to leverage funding, technical assistance, and other resources for organizational capacity building to conserve important areas along Maine ’s coastal zone.
Officially launched in May 2005, this program is designed to enhance strategic conservation, build organizational capacity and accelerate the pace of land protection efforts over a three year period (2005-2007). Our Vision is that the Maine Coast Protection Initiative will serve as a catalyst for funding, collaboration, and information gathering which will guide coastal land protection in Maine over the next 20 years.
For Mainers, as well as for those “from away,” Maine’s coast line represents an essential component of a unique coastal and estuarine ecosystem and the backdrop for the region’s rich cultural heritage. The Maine coast is also the foundation of an expanding regional economy based on tourism, commercial fishing, manufacturing and services. While the coastal zone represents just 15% of Maine’s land area, it contains more than 40% of the state’s population. This coastal region continues to absorb nearly all of the state’s economic and population growth. Unfortunately, this growth is contributing to rapid sprawl and habitat fragmentation, reductions in coastal access, and threats to fragile natural areas. These trends jeopardize the very character of the Maine coast. It is now urgently important to accelerate the pace of coastal conservation in Maine while key opportunities remain.
The Maine Coast Protection Initiative is sponsored by the Maine State Planning Office, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, the Coastal Services Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Land Trust Alliance, which joined together to devise a response to intensifying development pressures along the Maine coast. The Maine Coast Protection Initiative also is supported by a Coalitionof interested groups and Supporting Organizations that have helped shape the goals of the Strategic Conservation Framework, and which are working to meet them. This is why Maine Coast Protection Initiative represents a first-of-its kind public-private partnership, supported by organizations and public agencies operating in Maine, to dramatically increase coastal land conservation.
The mission of the Initiative is to increase the pace and quality of land protection by enhancing the capacity of Maine ’s conservation community to preserve the unique character of the Maine coast for the benefit of the people of Maine and beyond.
This mission statement defines the overarching objective of the Strategic Conservation Framework, which was created by the Maine Coast Protection Initiative Coalition to guide the activities and direct funding opportunities for this multi-year collaboration.
As articulated in the Strategic Conservation Framework, the Maine Coast Protection Initiative has three specific goals, each of which is intended to achieve several measurable outcomes: Goal 1 A viable network of conserved land that protects priority coastal and estuarine habitat, adequate coastal access to support commercial fisheries and recreational pursuits, and sufficient scenic viewsheds to preserve the unique character of the Maine coast. Goal 2 Land trusts with sustainable, professional, and technical capacity engaged in proactive strategic land conservation and long-term stewardship. Goal 3 Strong support and increased funding for coastal land conservation efforts. To meet these goals, Coalition members are working together to devise specific tasks, determine the best strategies and partnerships, and create a time frame for implementing these strategies.
Project partners recognize the need to accelerate land protection work along Maine ’s rapidly developing coast. The Maine Coast Protection Initiative will build on existing efforts, intensifying collaborations and identifying opportunities for new partnerships to bring more funding, resources, and public attention to bear on the goals shared by Coalition members. Ultimately, this will develop a more unified, influential, and effective voice for coastal land conservation in Maine .
In addition to the primary project sponsors – the Maine State Planning Office, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, the Coastal Services Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Land Trust Alliance– there are over 70 members of the Maine Coast Protection Initiative Coalition. Organizations and agencies in Maine interested in protecting the coastal region Maine Coast Protection Initiative welcomed to the Maine Coast Protection Initiative Coalition to help develop the goals, objectives, and measurable accomplishments of the program. The Coalition includes local and regional land trusts, municipalities, state and federal agencies, economic development and trade organizations, and planning commissions. While the Coalition represents a wide array of perspectives and interests, all members share a common commitment to the strategic protection of coast lands for the people of Maine and beyond. Through stakeholder input and involvement, the Coalition and other Support ing Organizations will put implementation strategies into action.
The Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP), established in 2002 by the US Department of Commerce, provides funds to states and municipalities to protect important coastal and estuarine areas that have significant conservation, recreation, ecological, historical, or aesthetic values, or that are threatened by conversion from their natural or recreational state to other uses, giving priority to lands which can be effectively managed and protected, and that have significant ecological value.
The State of Maine CELCP Plan was developed in conjunction with the development of the Maine Coast Protection Initiative (MCPI) because of the significant overlap in the purposes of each effort and the opportunity to engage crucial stakeholders in the planning process. Maine’s CELCP plan establishes conservation priorities and the process and guidelines to be used to evaluate and recommend coastal protection projects for federal CELCP land acquisition funding. Please refer to Appendix A (PDF) of the Strategic Conservation Framework for information about the State of Maine’s CELCP plan.
To date, CELCP funding has been distributed through congressional earmarks, and targeted to specific coastal conservation projects. In Maine, two projects have received CELCP funding totaling $2.8 million for coastal land acquisitions in 2004 and 2005. While the Maine Coast Protection Initiative will not fund land and conservation easement acquisition, the close relationship between the Maine Coast Protection Initiative and the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program will help leverage and enhance funding from other public and private entities for high priority coastal conservation projects. The Maine Coast Protection Initiative will build the capacity for conserving high priority resources and a fully funded CELCP will provide critical funding support for achieving desired conservation outcomes in coastal Maine.
The Initiative is guided by three committees - the Coalition, the Steering Committee, and the Executive Committee - as well as several workgroups that focus on specific topics. Maine Coast Protection Initiative Coalition
The Coalition brings together people and organizations interested in the resources of the Maine Coast . Over 70 organizations participated in planning and developing the Maine Coast Protection Initiative Strategic Framework. These organizations, and others, are encouraged to become Supporting Organizations. Participants in the Coalition are also welcome to join workgroups for areas of special interest.
The Steering Committee is a subset of the Coalition and represents the diverse interests of the Coalition. Steering Committee members direct the project, are empowered with decision-making authority and are responsible for seeking the advice and counsel of the Coalition in order to effectively guide the project over time.
The Executive Committee is an administrative entity contributing staff time and is responsible for advancing the project between Steering Committee and Coalition meetings. Executive Committee members represent the principal project sponsors:
Maine State Planning Office
Maine Coast Heritage Trust
Coastal Services Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency
Land Trust Alliance
Workgroups are responsible for implementing many of the strategies identified in the Strategic Conservation Framework. Each workgroup has a specific focus and includes Steering Committee members as well as participants from the Coalition. Membership in workgroups is open to any interested participant.
The Maine Coast Protection Initiative is intended to bring a wide variety of public, private, and not-for-profit partners together for the purpose of conserving the natural and cultural heritage of the Maine coast. All groups--including recreation groups, land trusts, commercial fishing groups, tourism and economic development councils, municipalities, sporting groups, businesses and corporation-- interested in becoming a part of the Initiative are welcome!
You can help the Initiative by attending meetings to learn more; by contributing your expertise through participation in the work groups; and, by showing your support by becoming a Supporting Organizations. Click here to learn more about ways to get involved.
Yes. As of May 2005, the budget for the three year project (2005-2007) is $1.49 million. Fundraising efforts toward this goal are continuing and are vital to the long term success of the program. If you would like to contribute to the Maine Coast Protection Initiative, please contact Amy Owsley, the Maine Coast Protection Initiative Field Representative.
The key activity of Maine Coast Protection Initiative will be to deliver technical assistance, training, and grant funding to those groups and individuals working to fulfill the specific goals of the Initiative. Project activities detail how the Maine Coast Protection Initiative will work to achieve each goal formulated in the Strategic Conservation Framework. Goal strategies describe how each will be addressed and are designed to move the Coalition towards achievement of the Vision. The MPCI website has additional information on specific implementation strategies, including a brief description and timeline for each section.
As articulated in the Strategic Conservation Framework, there are two primary grant programs – Implementation Grants and Capacity-Building Grants – in addition to a grant program to support enhanced geographic information systems (GIS). These grant programs have specific application requirements and timeframes – please refer to “Grant Opportunities” on the Maine Coast Protection Initiative website for additional detail.
Implementation grants were available to nonprofit and state organizations seeking to support strategies that further Maine Coast Protection Initiative Goal 1 and/or Goal 3. For example, an implementation grant project may fill an identified coastal resources or habitat data gap. For more information on the awards, please see the press release.
Capacity-building grants support Maine Coast Protection Initiative Goal 2 and will be available as soon as possible to coastal land trusts seeking to move to a higher level of organizational or programmatic capacity. Capacity-building grants are intended to help land trusts move to a higher level of organizational or programmatic capacity so they can dramatically increase the pace of land conservation along the Maine coast.
Eligibility for this type of this grant is restricted to land trusts. Selected land trusts will receive grant funding and Land Trust Alliance staff support for an organizational assessment and the development of a tangible plan to increase conservation capacity.
Maine Coast Protection Initiative anticipates that up to $350,000 will be available for Capacity-Building grants. A summary of the Capacity-Building Grants Program, grant guidelines and application materials will be soon be available on the Maine Coast Protection Initiative website.
No. Maine Coast Protection Initiative grants will not fund specific fee or easement acquisition projects.
Yes. If your organization meets eligibility requirements for both categories of grants, there are no specific restrictions on receiving funding for both Implementation and Capacity-Building projects.
Northeast Program Coordinator - Land Trust Alliance