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  • Writer's pictureMonique Coombs

Coastal Storms UPDATE

On January 16th, the Island Institute hosted a webinar delving into the repercussions of the storms that affected Maine’s island and coastal communities. Island Institute President Kim Hamilton, PhD. moderated the panel that included Department of Marine Resources, the Maine Emergency Management Association (MEMA), and the Department of Economic and Community Development who provided insights on the many aspects of the recovery process and potential funding resources that may become available. If you missed the webinar, we’ve summarized some of the important points below. The Island Institute also expects to post a recording of the webinar. 

It’s also important to note that there is widespread recognition that storm impacts transcend economic losses and that there is an emotional toll that is just as important to address. Individuals and families may be experiencing a high degree of stress, anxiety, depression, and feelings of helplessness. You don’t have to go it alone in these trying times. Please reach out to MCFA to learn what resources are available.

The following are important bullet points from the discussion:

  • State officials are currently working through a multi-step process of securing official disaster recovery designations that may eventually enable federal funds to flow to Maine from various federal agencies. There will likely be differences in the availability and timelines for FEMA funds to help with recovery of public infrastructure vs. private holdings. Fishery disaster funding from NOAA is also a possibility, but that avenue may take more time to establish loss of income. Other types of assistance and resilience support are also being explored.

  • Municipal offices are incredibly important in the recovery process, and much of the information will aggregate up from the town level. County Emergency Management Agencies are also a critical part of the local support chain.

  • If you haven’t done so already, it is imperative that individuals of private industry and privately owned commercial infrastructure who sustained property damage from the January 10th storm & the January 13th storm, including wharves, floats, vessels, etc. document and report that damage through an online survey. State officials will be using these submissions to make the case for federal assistance. (There is a separate survey for individual and households)

Fishing businesses can find the survey HERE.

  • If you completed the survey following the storm on January 10 but experienced additional damage after the storm on January 13, it is advisable to submit the survey once more. This survey is specifically designed for businesses, including working waterfront businesses and commercial fishing establishments, as well as properties like short-term rentals.

  • Even though we all recognize the cumulative difference of the two storms, they will likely be treated as separate events for federal purposes.

  • Insurance, where applicable, will be the most readily available source of recovery dollars and individuals and businesses should proceed with submitting those claims. There is no need to wait for federal declarations to begin that process.

  • Consider maintaining a "flood folder" to meticulously record any damage incurred and the steps taken to address it. Place receipts, photos, and pertinent documents in this folder. Given that many available programs operate on a reimbursement basis, it is crucial to keep detailed notes and receipts for future reference.

  • There was general concerns expressed in the webinar chat regarding permitting. The Department of Marine Resources is in conversation with the appropriate agencies to understand and advise permits. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection can issue something called the Permit-by-Rule, “Permit-by-Rule is intended to save applicants the time and expense of filing a permit application with DEP, while at the same time protecting the environment and providing direction in the form of standards as to how an activity must be carried out.” MCFA will be following this conversation and share information as it becomes available.

  • The Governor has 30 days to submit a well-substantiated disaster declaration request to FEMA, and from there the declaration would go to the President’s desk for a signature. The signature process can take anywhere from two weeks to several months. At this time, it is estimated that the declaration request needs to be made by February 12.

  • MCFA and NAMI ME are good places to start if you or someone you know is struggling and would like more information about how to access mental health resources.

More information and resources will be available on our website as it become available as well as the following sites:

FMI, questions, or concerns:

Together, we persevere.



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