An additional 54 Maine communities will receive grants to help prepare for climate change and cut carbon emissions as part of a $2.4 million expansion of a state climate change response program.

The funds will benefit projects across the state, including installing electric vehicle chargers and rebuilding roads vulnerable to storms, Gov. Janet Mills announced Monday.

Kaylee Collin, right, and Spencer Stone walk through water along North Avenue in Camp Ellis in Saco in March 2018. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer, file

This is the fourth round of grants in the Community Resilience Partnership, which has awarded more than $8.5 million to 226 cities, towns and tribal governments since 2021.

“While Maine communities continue to recover from recent devastating storms, it’s vital that we strengthen vital infrastructure for future severe storms, expected to become more frequent with climate change,” Mills said in a prepared statement. “These grants will help 54 Maine communities improve their resilience to intense storms and other impacts of climate change, reduce carbon emissions and boost energy efficiency.”

The grants were unveiled ahead of the Maine Climate Council’s June 18 meeting. Mills formed the 39-member council of scientists, business leaders and local and state officials in 2019 with the goal of creating a statewide climate plan.

Several southern and Midcoast Maine communities are among those benefitting from the grants. Cape Elizabeth, Gardiner, Gray, Lewiston, New Gloucester and Sanford were each awarded $50,000 for various projects. Gardiner, Sanford and New Gloucester each received grants to complete climate risk assessments.


The influx of funds comes following severe storms across the state this past winter, which racked up about $90 million in damage to Maine’s public infrastructure.

With extreme precipitation comes major flooding. The Maine Climate Council estimated in 2020 that climate-related flooding from overflowing rivers and streams could cause up to $2.4 billion in building damage alone.

Grant recipient Gardiner experienced historic flooding in December along the Kennebec River waterfront.

“Downtown Gardiner has seen more major flooding events in the past 12 months than it has in the prior 20 years.  Along with our historic downtown buildings, and the businesses and residents who occupy them, critical municipal infrastructure is also at risk from the increased frequency of rising floodwaters,” said Melissa Lindley, Gardiner economic development director and public information officer. “Data from this assessment will be used by the municipality to implement informed strategies in planning for and preparing our community to adapt to a changing climate.”

Other recipients include Cape Elizabeth, which received grant funds for an LED energy efficiency project. The city of Lewiston’s funds will go toward planting trees. The town of Gray is planning on using its $50,000 to protect vulnerable watersheds.

As of 2021, Maine’s greenhouse gas emission levels were down 30% from 1990 levels, per a June 2024 Department of Environmental Protection report.

Maine is required by state law to achieve statewide carbon neutrality by 2045 and lower emissions by 45% from 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% by 2050. The state surpassed its goal to reduce emissions to 10% less than 1990 levels by the start of 2020.

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