Last week’s back-to-back storms combined with astronomical high tides have caused damage like we have never seen before. As a lot of you know, DMR has been surveying the damage from the air, water and land. We have witnessed widespread damage to our working waterfront infrastructure.
As I stated in my previous notices, the first step toward recovery is to thoroughly document the damage that has been sustained.
Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is the lead on collecting damage information. MEMA is working with local officials to estimate the cost of damage caused by last week’s storms.
MEMA is also collecting this information via a survey on MEMA’s website where you can click on the Report Damage button under Current Alerts on the homepage.
For people who do not have internet access or are not comfortable filling out the survey themselves, they may dial 2-1-1 and an operator will help them do that.
MEMA is asking that impacted parties report the damage from the January 10th storm by January 18th, and from the January 13th storm by January 22nd. These deadlines will enable MEMA to keep this process moving in a timely manner.
Once that process is complete, MEMA will request that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) dispatch Federal officials to Maine as soon as possible to conduct a Federal Preliminary Damage Assessment to review and validate damage assessments gathered by local officials.
If the damage from these storms meets the financial statutory threshold exceeding the State’s ability to respond, Governor Mills will seek another Federal Disaster Declaration – in addition to the one she requested yesterday.
We recognize that docks, buildings and wharfs in the waterfront will need to be re-built and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is working on guidance for the necessary permits for rebuilding waterfront structures and we will share that guidance as soon as it is available.
DMR is working closely with our sister state agencies to identify other resources that may be available prior to any disaster funds being allocated. Among the resources we will be reviewing are grant and loan programs available through various federal agencies including the US Department of Labor, the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, the Economic Development Administration, and the US Department of Agriculture.
DMR is also looking at the long game and trying to determine if there are other disaster declarations that could be made specific to the working waterfront. This type of request will require additional information related to the impacts and will take a year or more to establish revenue loss. This is a much harder threshold to meet, but one we must look at if we are to be able to assist in the rebuilding of a more resilient working waterfront.
Rest assured we will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to find the resources to help you recover from the devastating effects of these storms.
I’ll continue to provide updates on damage assessment efforts and any other initiatives to seek support for coastal communities.
In the meantime, stay safe.