Governor Mills Announces $2.4 Million in Grants to 54 Maine Communities to Help Prepare for Climate Effects, Improve Energy Efficiency

Awards come through the Community Resilience Partnership, established by Governor Mills in 2021, which has grown to include 226 towns, cities, and Tribal governments representing nearly 70 percent of Maine’s population

Governor Janet Mills today announced $2.4 million in awards to 54 communities across Maine to protect infrastructure from damaging storms or rising sea levels, increase local planning capacity, and improve energy resilience and efficiency.

The awards to Maine cities, towns and Tribal governments come from the Community Resilience Partnership, a program established by Governor Mills in 2021 to help local communities undertake projects that increase resilience to climate effects and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Today, some 226 cities, towns and Tribal governments in Maine are participating in the Partnership either as individual entities or in regional coalitions. All the communities receiving grants today are first-time awardees of the Partnership. To date, the program has awarded nearly $8.5 million for projects in over 150 communities across the state.

In May, the supplemental budget signed by Governor Mills included an additional $5 million for resilience grants from the Partnership, to help 100 additional communities to participate. This investment followed unprecedented severe storms in December and January that caused an estimated $90 million damage to public infrastructure in Maine.

Of the awards announced today, 50 percent are communities that have joined the Partnership since the Governor announced the goal of helping another 100 communities in her State of the State address earlier this year. For an interactive map of communities awarded grants through the program, please visit the Partnership’s website.

“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. 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,” said Governor Janet Mills. “Since I unveiled the Community Resilience Partnership nearly three years ago, hundreds of cities and towns across the state have taken action to fight climate change and strengthen their communities. My Administration will continue our collaborative work with communities across Maine to protect our state for future generations.”

“The storms of this past winter, and the past two years, have shown the increasing need for communities to take action to strengthen their infrastructure to withstand climate effects, and make climate investments and actions that reflect local priorities,” said Hannah Pingree and Melanie Loyzim, co-chairs of the Maine Climate Council. “The Community Resilience Partnership is now supporting 226 communities across Maine in this important work. We are grateful for the efforts of our communities, and the support of this program from Governor Mills and the Legislature, to advance local and regional climate solutions.”

“Continuing municipal interest in the Community Resilience Partnership is not only evidence of the program’s success but also of the importance of the state/municipal partnership,” said Cathy Conlow, Executive Director of the Maine Municipal Association. “As designed, this partnership strikes the perfect balance between the state’s ability to access non-property tax revenue and provide technical assistance and local ingenuity and the ability to nimbly implement much needed resiliency building projects where they are most needed. The Association joins municipal leaders across Maine in commending Governor Mills and the Office of Policy Innovation and the Future for their ongoing investment in this program.”

Grantees in this round include Auburn, Gardiner, and Gouldsboro, which each received $50,000 for the following initiatives:

  • The city of Auburn will install six electric vehicle chargers in two priority locations – the Auburn Public Library and Norway Savings Bank Arena.
  • The city of Gardiner will complete a comprehensive assessment of climate vulnerability on community and waterfront infrastructure, focusing on the locations hit hardest during the winter storms.
  • The town of Gouldsboro will work with residents and working waterfront users to identify approaches to redesigning and rebuilding two roads essential to working waterfront operations and access in Corea Harbor and highly vulnerable to sea level rise and storm surge.

A list of awardees is available here (PDF). Some communities in this round are supported by funding approved in the supplemental budget signed by Governor Mills on May 9, and will receive grant funds after the budget legislation goes into effect on August 9.

"With tight local budgets making decisions about near term investments a challenge, the availability of the Community Resilience Partnership to provide a framework for planning and action steps as well as access to capital is a huge asset for our state, said Jonathan LaBonté, Transportation Systems Director, City of Auburn. “Our ability in Auburn to deploy electric vehicle charging infrastructure to serve our downtown neighborhood and public library patrons, as well as chargers for visitors to our arena, wouldn’t have been possible at this moment without the Partnership and its action grant program. It is a testament to the title of the state’s climate action plan, Maine Won’t Wait, in that, knowing the challenges with local capital, the state has provided the leadership to move on these initiatives now.”

“Downtown Gardiner has seen more major flooding events in the past twelve months than it has in the prior twenty 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, Economic Development Director & Public Information Officer, City of Gardiner. As a community with limited resources, this Community Action Grant provides essential funding for the City of Gardiner to partner with experts in climate science and resiliency to evaluate Gardiner’s vulnerabilities from a changing climate and the potential impacts to its built and natural environment, its citizens, and economy. 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."

“The January storms damaged the causeway that connects the Corea Lobster Co-op to the rest of Gouldsboro and Maine. Keeping that causeway open is essential to Gouldsboro’s economic well-being,” said Bill Zoellick, Gouldsboro, Chair, Climate Resilience Committee. “The Community Action Grant funding through the Community Resilience Partnership enables Gouldsboro to undertake the engineering feasibility study we need to go beyond just patching the causeway. It gives us a way to find a solution that will be resilient as we prepare for sea level rise and bigger storms.”

This award announcement comes in advance of the next meeting of the Maine Climate Council on Tuesday, June 18, at the Augusta Civic Center.

The Council, a 39-member assembly of scientists, industry leaders, bipartisan local and state officials, and citizens created by Governor Janet Mills in 2019 and charged with developing and updating a comprehensive climate action plan for Maine.

Following an extensive public process, the Council delivered its first four-year plan to prepare for and mitigate effects of climate change on Maine, Maine Won’t Wait, to Governor Mills on December 1, 2020.

By law, the Council is now working to deliver an updated four-year climate plan by Dec. 1, 2024. During the meeting on June 18, the Council will be presented with a series of draft climate strategies compiled by its expert working groups and task forces for potential inclusion in the climate plan update.

In May, Governor Mills also signed an Executive Order to establish a new commission that will develop the State of Maine’s first plan for long-term infrastructure resilience, following the two devastating winter storms and a record eight storm-related Federal disaster declarations in Maine over the past two years.

The 24-member commission will engage with communities, industries, and organizations across Maine to understand challenges following storms, identify and bridge gaps in resources like funding, financing, and insurance, how to improve the resilience of energy systems, propose new approaches to improve disaster recovery and response, and strengthen resilience supports at the state, regional, and local levels.

In the past legislative session, Governor Mills proposed, and the Legislature enacted, as part of the supplemental budget $60 million in storm recovery funding – the single largest investment by any Administration in Maine history.

For more information about available funding and supports for storm recovery, please visit the state’s flood resources and assistance hub,