Collaboration to Increase Social Resilience in Midcoast Maine

Summary

The project convenes municipal stakeholders with service providers in emergency  management, social services, and land conservation from the coastal communities of Arrowsic, Bath, Brunswick, Georgetown, Harpswell, Phippsburg, West Bath and Woolwich.  The desired outcome is to develop a shared vision for better regional coordination to address barriers to climate adaptation, reducing the threat to the region’s most vulnerable populations. The project team will help vulnerable residents in these communities be better prepared to adapt and recover from storm events. The intended outcome is for emergency managers, social service providers, conservation organizations, and municipalities to be more coordinated and connected at a regional scale, and empowered to address social vulnerabilities in each community.

The target communities are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of storms due to a combination of social and geographic vulnerability. The typical demographic characteristics of these rural coastal communities, such as an aging population, older residents living alone, high reliance on natural resource economies, and high levels of self-employment, all combine to create a population that is at higher risk when coastal hazards disrupt transportation and other types of infrastructure within a town. The project’s goal to connect providers, responders and municipalities at a regional scale will lead to a coordinated network to serve the region’s vulnerable populations (short-term) and reduced disruptions to the regional economy, natural resources, and community social and physical infrastructure (long-term). The model developed through this project could be readily transferred to other small, rural communities throughout Midcoast and Downeast Maine.

Project Period

2017 -- ongoing

Activities

  • conducted interviews with stakeholders in the region to learn more about coastal adaptation work and challenges  
  • demonstrated  the Maine Coastal Risk Explorer, a TNC-developed web application that highlights where infrastructure and social vulnerability co-occur  
  • held separate stakeholder meetings with representatives from emergency management, social services, and conservation sectors from the southern midcoast region, to discuss their process, network connections, and resources used. 

Products

Emergency Service Providers Meeting Notes (2/25/2019)

Social Service Providers Meeting Notes (5/20/2019)

Conservation-based Organizations Meeting Notes (1/14/2020)

Getting to social resilience: first it starts with listening presentation at 2020 Social Coast Forum 

Resources

E. Johnson et. al., A lifeline and social vulnerability analysis of sea level rise impacts on rural coastal communities. Shore and Beach 86 (4), 38-44

Social Vulnerability Ranking within Coastal Risk Explorer

Partners

Blue Sky Consulting, Bowdoin College, Casco Bay Estuary Program, Kennebec Estuary Land Trust, Maine Sea Grant, The Nature Conservancy, Wells NERR 

Funding

2019 & 2020, Bowdoin College, Focus Group Meetings

June- August 2020. Maine Sea Grant, 8-week undergraduate research fellowship on scenario planning exercise development & implementation

August 2020 -Dec 2021 Maine Coastal Communities Grant Program,  to develop and carry out a table top scenario planning exercise for a coastal hazard event. To help realize this vision of improved regional coordination, we will analyze the exercise for lessons learned on how different sectors operate and cooperate in the face of an emergency event, and project results will be shared throughout the region.  


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