Damariscotta, Maine Adaptation Planning Study: Downtown Waterfront Area

The Town of Damariscotta is considered one of the most vulnerable communities on Maine’s coast for future sea level rise and storm surge. In 2014, Damariscotta received a Maine Coastal Resiliency Grant to study the effects of sea level rise and develop adaptation strategy options for protecting the town. The report reviews both individual measures that building owners may take to floodproof their own buildings, as well as community level adaptations that the town could take to adapt to sea level rise.

The findings and recommendations of the study are relevant to all coastal towns with urban areas susceptible to future flooding from sea-level rise and storm surge.  

The goals of this study, of which the results are shared in the report, were:

1. To determine the location and elevation of structures that are vulnerable to coastal flooding in Damariscotta. This included surveying the elevation of windows, doors, and other openings in existing buildings that may allow for intrusion of floodwaters.

2. To establish a sea level rise scenario and elevation for the town's use in planning improvements.

3. To identify opportunities and recommend improvements for protecting structures as well as the town's parking lot from flooding.

Many coastal adaptation strategies are discussed, with a focus on structural measures for flood mitigation. Example floodproofing measures described include international large-scale strategies, followed by neighborhood and site-specific strategies.

Section 3.3 - Neighborhood-Scale Adaptation Planning and Floodproofing describes six projects supported by the HUD “Rebuild By Design” program in New York and New Jersey as established after Hurricane Sandy. Additionally, the approach by the Town of Guilford, Connecticut is briefly reviewed.  Guilford developed a three-part Vulnerability Study and Coastal Resilience Plan that considers adaptation on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis. 

Section 3.4 - Structure-Specific Floodproofing and Retrofitting - provides details on the sea level rise adaptation measures of:

- Relocating the structure
- Elevating the structure and/or critical systems
- Abandon lowest floors and wet floodproof
- Permanent barriers such as floodwalls or levees
- Temporary floodwalls
- Installing gates at doors and windows
- Waterproofing building walls  


Damariscotta focused on "neighborhood"-based solutions, and two implementation options were considered for this approach, which are each described in detail. Both scenarios include considerations of pedestrian walkways, parking, accessibility and flood potential.  A summary of the options considered and probable construction costs are presented in Table 4. Supporting documentation for the cost opinions is in Appendix B.

Implementation of any of the concept plans would require that the town secure funding, potentially from a state or federal source. Potential funding programs are summarized including:

FEMA Mitigation Funds - Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs:

  • Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Program
  • Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP)
  • Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) Program

Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF)

Maine DOT Small Harbor Improvement Program

Maine Coastal Communities Grants

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers potential funding sources for project design and construction:

  • Section 205 – Small Flood Damage Reduction Projects
  • Section 103 – Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction Projects


This study was prepared for Damariscotta’s Coastal Communities Grant Oversight Committee by Milone & MacBroom, Inc.



Publication Date: February 2015

Related Organizations:

  • Town of Damariscotta, Maine


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Assessment

States Affected:


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