State of the Beach/State Reports/ME/Website

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Maine Ratings
Indicator Type Information Status
Beach Access52
Water Quality74
Beach Erosion8-
Erosion Response-6
Beach Fill5-
Shoreline Structures3 2
Beach Ecology5-
Surfing Areas25
Coastal Development{{{19}}}{{{20}}}
Sea Level Rise{{{21}}}{{{22}}}


Maine's Coastal Program (MCP) is part of the Department of Conservation, Bureau of Geology, Natural Areas, and Coastal Resources.

Here's a map of Maine's coastal zone.

The MCP Website provides some very useful information on beach access, water quality, and beach erosion. Information on the other beach health indicators is somewhat lacking.

The use of environmental indicators in Maine is receiving a lot of attention, however. In December 2002, more than 100 representatives of government agencies, academia and non-government organizations met in New Hampshire for the Atlantic Northeast Coastal Monitoring Summit, which explored the potential for integrated regional monitoring and provided participants with a forum to discuss possible indicators. As a follow-up, the Northeast Coastal Indicators Workshop in January 2004 developed regional indicators for six categories: fisheries, eutrophication, contaminants, land use, aquatic habitat and climate change.

Regional efforts culminated in the Gulf of Maine Summit in the fall of 2004. The purpose of the summit was to formally adopt environmental indicators and begin to evaluate and respond to regional environmental problems. See the report. Currently, MCP is populating the public access and governance indicator databases.

There is a nice discussion of indicators on the Gulf of Maine Council's Website. The Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment's has a EcoSystem Indicator Partnership (ESIP). The Council also has a prepared an Action Plan 2012-2017.

The 2007 Maine Beaches Conference offered several sessions on "Maine's Changing Beaches" as well as sessions on beach profiling, beach water quality, beach ecology and other topics. The 2009 Maine Beaches Conference included sessions on the value of Maine's beaches, the state of Maine's beaches, and adaptation strategies for storms, sea level rise and climate change. Here is a link to presentations at the 2011 Maine Beaches Conference.

Several publications are available via the Website. These include Maine's CZM Assessment and Strategy, also known as the "Maine Coastal Plan" which is available for 2001, 2006 and 2011.

Also available via the Website is Protecting Maine's Beaches for the Future (2006), A Proposal to Create an Integrated Beach Management Program. The report includes recommendations on beach nourishment, habitat management, acquisition of property from willing sellers, hazard mitigation, data and mapping and education and outreach. A specific implementation plan and strategy to develop new funding will direct the work of state agencies and others in the coming years. This comprehensive and forward thinking document is a must read for beach managers everywhere.

A great 4-page summary of volunteer and governmental efforts to monitor and protect Maine's beaches is the 2005 document The State of Maine's Beaches. Coincidentally, the topics in this document dovetail nicely with the topics in this report and the activities of Surfrider Foundation's Maine Chapter.

There is also The State of Maine's Beaches in 2007 from the Maine Geological Survey.

Maine rules and regulations are available via the MCP Website.

Although Maine Coastline, the former MCP newsletter, is no longer published, links to past issues from 2002 to 2008 are still available.

The MCP Website provides access to an overall map of map Maine's Coastal Zone, but no detailed maps or photos. For better maps, go here.

The MCP Website provides a extensive set of Coastlinks - a directory of the many organizations involved in coastal projects and issues in Maine. Government agencies, marine fishery trade organizations, environmental groups, research and educational institutions, land trusts, and economic development entities are represented. There are also Related Links

The MCP Website is generally up-to-date, although there are some dead links due to the elimination of the State Planning Office on July 1, 2012 and the purging of most documents and websites relating to climate change by the administration of Gov. Paul LePage.

Website Contact Info

Lisa Leahy

Tom Miragliuolo

State of the Beach Report: Maine
Maine Home Beach Description Beach Access Water Quality Beach Erosion Erosion Response Beach Fill Shoreline Structures Beach Ecology Surfing Areas Website
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