July 2020 Newsletter
Program Update

Sunny days, soaring temperatures, and a steady stream of visitors cautiously returning to the coastline mean summer in southern Maine is in full swing. The Regional Program has been busy undertaking Work Plan activities, forging connections with state and local organizations, and pursing funding opportunities to support sustainability and coastal resilience initiatives in the six-town region. Sustainability and resilience assessments for each town are well underway, efforts to assess and plan for socio-economic impacts of sea level rise are ramping up, and the foundation for a regional greenhouse gas emissions inventory framework has been laid. Program staff have been coordinating with SMPDC's Transportation Director to investigate the novel use of StreetLight data to evaluate regional vehicle greenhouse gas emissions. The Program also submitted a grant application to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Coastal Resilience Fund to support the collaborative development of a regional coastal resilience plan for southern Maine. In the coming months, Program staff will complete a summary report outlining existing municipal and regional sustainability and coastal resilience efforts, policies, and regulations to provide a snapshot of the current status of work and serve as a baseline for tracking and evaluating future progress.
Transportation Impacts of COVID-19
The outbreak of Covid-19 has brought profound changes to transportation across the nation. The graph above shows the reduction in the daily miles traveled by vehicles in York County during the first few months of the pandemic. Travel data was collected using Streetlight data, a platform that uses location-based-services data to analyze transportation patterns. In April, daily mileage was reduced 66%, revealing broad compliance with Maine's Stay Healthy at Home order. While vehicle activity appeared to be increasing in July, it's still well below the typical summer volumes. 
Here at SMPDC, most of our 11 staff members worked remotely for the months of March-May. We looked at the emissions and cost savings to show how large of an impact our transportation patterns have on the environment (and our wallets).
Maine Climate Council Update
Check out the new

The Council's six working groups have all submitted their recommendations to the Climate Council. The recommendations can be found on the new website, along with detailed information about climate impacts in Maine, resources to help communicate about climate change, and surveys about each working group's recommendations to help the Council determine priorities for the State Climate Action Plan.
Share your thoughts with the Climate Council!
To give your input on the recommendations and inform the Climate Action Plan you can:
Student Spotlight
This summer, students are playing important roles in the sustainability and resilience projects happening in our communities. Check out their bios below! 
Amber Bauer is an aspiring wildlife biologist who grew up in Maine. Enjoying her time in both coastal and woodland habitats, she found her passion for nature and desire to work for habitat conservation. She is enrolled at Unitiy College and plans to graduate in 2021 with a bachelor's degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology. Amber works for the Town of Wells doing environmental maintenance on three beautiful beaches. She works closely with the federally threatened piping plover species in an effort to protect them and their coastal habitat. She is also assisting the SMPDC Sustainability and Resilience Program, gathering data on Wells sustainability efforts and helping to make the Southern Maine region more sustainable.
Aleksander Gulkewicz is a UNH Sustainability Fellow working with the Town of Kennebunk to finalize a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and to develop and prioritize emissions reduction strategies. This work will be used to formulate a municipal climate action plan for the town. Alek completed a BS in Environmental Engineering and is currently pursuing a MA in Environmental Policy with a concentration in Urban Environmental Policy and Planning at Lehigh University. Alek works as a Graduate Assistant in his university’s sustainability office and serves as a Youth Representative to the United Nations. In the future, he hopes to influence policy creation and reform to create more sustainable cities and to fight climate change.
Alexandra Duprey is the Josephine A. Lamprey Fellow in the UNH Sustainability Fellowship program. This program pairs exceptional students from across the U.S. with host partners in New England to work on transformative sustainability initiatives. She is working with the Town of Kittery to compile best practices for coastal flood resilience and map vulnerable neighborhoods. Alex is pursuing a dual degree M.A. in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, and Law and Diplomacy. Alex is driven to utilize policy and planning to prepare cities for the hazards associated with climate change and expanding urbanization, while prioritizing socioeconomic equity and ecological systems.
Did You Know...?
Septic Inspections and Pre/Post Development Photos: Shoreland Zoning Requirements Now in Effect
In 2019, the Legislature adopted several bills amending Title 30-A shoreland zoning requirements. LD 216 requires purchasers of property on which a subsurface waste water disposal system is located within any shoreland zoned area (not just in coastal shoreland zones) to be inspected by a certified person and if found to be malfunctioning the system must be repaired or replaced. LD 562 increased the maximum penalty amounts for shoreland zone violations and requires municipal ordinances to require permit applicants within the shoreland zone to provide preconstruction and post construction photographs of the shoreline vegetation and development site. 
Funding Opportunities

  • Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands: Land & Water Conservation Fund (due May 28th, 2021; pre-application site inspection request due October 31st, 2020)
Our Region in the News
Southern Maine Planning & Development Commission | Website