The Maine Interagency Climate Adaptation (MICA) Work Group

The Maine Interagency Climate Adaptation (MICA) Work Group is coordinated by the Department with representatives from eight (8) state agencies sharing in the information forum. The group continues a 2013 Governor’s request to create an interagency effort to coordinate state adaptation activities (the Environment and Energy Resources Work Group). Members consolidate resources for adaptation, resilience, and mitigation, and collaborate on opportunities for cross-agency projects including making available existing information and assistance opportunities on the state climate webpages and Maine Adaptation Toolkit.

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Coordinating Agencies

Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry

Within the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, the Bureau of Resource Information and Land Use Planning has several complementary programs that work closely together to collect, develop, and translate scientifically sound data, and help provide the funding, technical tools, and support needed for municipalities, land managers, landowners, conservation planners, government agencies, and others in Maine to better understand and integrate climate science and resiliency into their decision making.

Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management - Maine Emergency Management Agency

Within the Department of Defense, Veterans, and Emergency Management, the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) works “to lessen the effects of disaster on the lives and property of the people of the State through leadership, coordination and support in the four phases of emergency management.” Of the four phases, the Mitigation Program administers project grants that eliminate or reduce future impacts from natural hazards, such as flooding and severe summer and winter weather events. Natural Hazard Mitigation Projects increase community resilience to severe weather events, where impacts may be exacerbated by climate change. MEMA addresses the effects of climate change on existing natural hazards in the State Hazard Mitigation Plan, and coordinates and supports the development of County-wide Hazard Mitigation Plans in all sixteen counties, all of which are updated every five years. Hazard Mitigation Plans must include natural hazard risk assessments and strategies for mitigating future impacts. When a disaster does impact Maine, MEMA coordinates the statewide response to the event and seeks to implement mitigation steps and best practices to improve a recovery project’s resilience to future events.

Maine Department of Environmental Protection

To better prepare for changes in our climate and the related impacts to our built and natural environments, the Department integrates preparation for these changes into agency programs, policies and rules to ensure they will be effective under future climatic conditions. This includes developing and implementing supporting regulatory and permitting programs within the Department, including some delegated to the DEP by EPA, and using EPA assessment tools as appropriate. The DEP is also taking action to reduce the impacts of climate change from greenhouse gas emissions by setting greenhouse gas reduction targets, based upon its greenhouse gas inventorying efforts. Building climate change resiliency into Maine’s infrastructure and landscape will be a long-term and collaborative process.

Department of Health and Human Services - Maine Center for Disease Control

The Maine Center for Disease Control (Maine CDC) continues to build on, develop and implement adaptation strategies for responding to climate-related public health threats, specifically those related to Lyme disease and other vector-borne diseases, heat-related illnesses, and waterborne diseases.  The Maine CDC is working towards an increased ability for high-risk groups (5 – 15 year olds and those 65 years and older) to identify deer ticks and prevent Lyme and other tick-borne diseases; reduced heat-related morbidity and mortality through operation of syndromic surveillance during heat events, issuing of alerts, coordination with the National Weather Service, and assisting Public Health Districts with development of Heat Response Plans; and improved understanding of the major risk factors for high rates of giardiasis and cryptosporidiosis, including possible climate / weather factors, and reduced rates of those diseases through the development and introduction of an implementation and monitoring plan. 

Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

The Twenty-first Century brings with it new challenges that are unprecedented in Maine's history of wildlife stewardship. Residential construction and land conversion are quickly outpacing traditional agriculture and forestry. Climate models predict significant changes along Maine's coastline as well as substantial changes in the timing, type, and quantity of precipitation that will affect Maine's aquatic communities. Predicted temperature changes will alter the character of Maine's southern forests and north woods and will forever change the current distribution of Maine's plants and animals. We are preparing for this change by assessing the vulnerability of our treasured landscapes and native species. Our ability to conserve Maine's natural heritage for future generations will depend on our success over the next few decades in maintaining a functional landscape that allows species and habitats to adapt to a changing climate.

Department of Marine Resources

The Department of Marine Resources is established to conserve and develop marine and estuarine resources; to conduct and sponsor scientific research; to promote and develop the Maine coastal fishing industries; to advise and cooperate with local, state, and federal officials concerning activities in coastal waters; and to implement, administer, and enforce the laws and regulations necessary for these purposes.  The DMR’s regulatory authority allows flexibility to match fisheries management to current conditions in Maine and more broadly to the Gulf of Maine region, and is uniquely positioned to do so, with extensive monitoring programs for the environment, resources, fisheries and public health.   A specific example of DMR’s work relevant to climate change is the Bureau of Public Health Growing Area Program which routinely monitors water quality at over 2000 stations along the entire coast and collects data such as temperature and salinity.  The BPH Growing Area Program also monitors Harmful Algal Blooms by conducting phytoplankton sampling and testing shellfish meats. 

Maine Department of Transportation

MaineDOT incorporates both mitigation and adaptation strategies into infrastructure design and maintenance where appropriate and feasible given current resources.  The Environment Office’s (ENV) current climate-related focus is on adaptation to extreme weather events that are trending to be increasingly frequent and intense. Existing infrastructure is evaluated for its vulnerability to changing conditions on a project-specific basis as well as on a broader priority corridor basis.  Based on recent analyses, hydrologic design standards for stream crossings between 5 and 10 feet in diameter have recently been changed department-wide to use a 100-year storm standard, proactively allowing for increased flows predicted throughout Maine’s landscape and increasing the likelihood that transportation infrastructure will be resilient in the face of an uncertain climate future.

Governors Energy Office

The Governor’s Energy Office is responsible for developing and updating the state’s comprehensive energy plan, which includes the association between energy planning and meeting statutory greenhouse gas reduction goals. The plan includes data and information on greenhouse gas emissions, as well as priorities and strategies for reducing emissions from the generation and consumption of energy across the state.