Gulf of Maine Coastal Program
Northeast Region


Jed Wright

In Memory of Jed Wright
Gulf of Maine Coastal Program
Project Leader

The Gulf of Maine Coastal Program works with a variety of partners to share information, knowledge, and capabilities for habitat conservation at the landscape scale to support healthy populations of fish and wildlife. Together, we protect and restore habitats that sustain diverse and abundant populations of fish, wildlife, and plants throughout the Gulf of Maine watershed. With the threat of climate change, successful landscape level habitat conservation will provide opportunities for fish and wildlife to adapt. This holistic approach ensures that individual projects produce meaningful and sustainable results for fish and wildlife and makes the best use of limited resources.



Latest news:

Urban pollinator habitat restoration project connects people to nature

Deering Oaks Park, Portland, Maine

June 11, 2019

The Gulf of Maine Coastal Program worked with the City of Portland, Maine Audubon, and 80 students and teachers at King Middle School to restore native pollinator habitat in Deering Oaks Park, a public greenway in Portland, ME. Students, USFWS biologists, Portland Parks Department employees, and Maine Audubon staff planted over 200 native northeastern plants, mulched a path for a new interpretive trail, and installed posts for planned interpretive signage that will be linked to QR codes.

This was the culminating event of a year-long educational expedition at King Middle School. Students learned about native northeastern flora and fauna, raised plants from seeds in the classroom, and produced online animated videos (Powtoons) explaining the plants and their benefits to native pollinators. The project was partially supported with funding from a cooperative agreement with the Gulf of Maine Coastal Program Office. GOMCP staff were involved in the planning stages of this project, provided input at planning meetings, and provided technical assistance for projects that connected students to nature.

The planted area was established as a permanent outdoor classroom for King Middle School, providing opportunities for countless ecology-based learning expeditions in the future.

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Coastal Wetlands Grant awarded to protect island on Maine coast

Clark Island, St. George, Maine

June 7, 2019

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded a Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant for a habitat protection project in Saint George, Maine. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), working with Maine Coast Heritage Trust, will purchase 168 acres of Clark Island abutting MDIFW’s 250-acre Clark Island conservation easement. The site will be a preserve that protects significant breeding and migratory bird habitats and enhances wildlife-oriented recreation opportunities. The project will protect approximately 53 acres of nationally decreasing coastal wetland types, more than 800 linear feet of tributary streams that drain to intertidal habitats, 25 functional vernal pool habitats and almost two miles of undeveloped tidal shore frontage. The Clark Island Wetlands Conservation Project directly addresses habitat protection goals for 28 Highest and High Priority species of migratory passerines, shorebirds, waterfowl and wading birds identified by the Atlantic Coast Joint Venture.

Press Release

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Grants awarded to protect habitat in Maine

Saltmarsh on Mason Bay, Addison , Maine

March 15, 2019

On March 15th, 2019 conservation partners in Maine were informed that their project proposals were selected for funding by the North American Wetlands Conservation Council. Gulf of Maine Coastal Program staff and consultants helped partners develop three of the four successful grant applications. These grants will provide $400,000 for habitat protection projects, protecting close to 5,000 acres of important wetland habitat and upland buffer in Jefferson, Bald Mountain TWP, Cooper and Addison. Grant recipients were Pleasant River Wildlife Foundation, Downeast Salmon Federation, Trust for Public Land and Midcoast Conservancy.

North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grants conserve migratory bird populations and wetland habitats, while supporting local economies and American traditions such as hunting, fishing, bird watching, family farming, and cattle ranching. Wetlands protected by NAWCA provide valuable benefits such as flood control, reduced coastal erosion, improved water and air quality, and recharged ground water. Partners in Maine have received over 70 NAWCA grants totaling over $30 million and have protected over one million acres of important habitat.

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Connecting and restoring habitat for wildlife and people in Maine

Stream crossing in Newburgh, Maine

September 10 , 2018

The Maine Connectivity Collaborative has been selected as an Honorable Mention for the 2018 Climate Adaptation Leadership Award for Natural Resources. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Regional Director Wendi Weber accepted the award earlier today on behalf of the partnership at the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Annual Meeting in Tampa, Florida. The Climate Adaptation Leadership Award, established in 2016, recognizes exemplary leadership by individuals, agencies, businesses and other organizations to reduce impacts and advance adaptation of the nation’s vital natural resources and the many people who depend on them in a changing world. Fragmentation of aquatic habitat is a vital concern in Maine, as it is globally. To address this concern, Maine Connectivity Collaborative has been working since 2007 with partners from more than 50 state, federal, tribal, commercial, local and non-governmental organizations. The Collaborative works to increase the pace and quality of restoration, representing a variety of flexible working groups pursuing strategies to inventory, prioritize, and correct connectivity problems at thousands of stream crossings. The Collaborative includes biologists, geomorphologists, engineers, culvert manufacturers, landowners, regulators, fishermen, land trusts, and concerned citizens.
Learn more about Climate Adaptation Leadership Awards.

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Updated Maine Stream Habitat Viewer Available

Maine Stream Habitat Viewer

April 10 , 2017

Version 2.0 of the Maine Stream Habitat Viewer is here! First released in 2013, the Stream Habitat Viewer has successfully brought together people seeking to cooperatively restore and conserve Maine’s streams and wetlands while also looking for opportunities to ease the financial burdens of road and dam owners. The Viewer displays stream habitats for species important to Maine’s economy, ecology and way of life and also provides information about dams and road crossings that can act as barriers to fish passage and stream health. For more information see the Stream Habitat Viewer website or go directly to the viewer

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Grants awarded to protect and restore habitat in Maine

Surry project
View of Surry project and Blue Hill Bay. (Tate Yoder photo)

March 22, 2017

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded a Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant for a habitat protection project in Surry, Maine and also awarded three small NAWCA grants for habitat protection in Franklin, Bar Harbor and Hancock, Maine. There was also a small NAWCA grant awarded for seabird island protection (one island) and restoration work (six islands) in coastal Maine. The Coastal Wetlands Grant involved ME Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Blue Hill Heritage Trust and several other conservation partners. They were awarded $532,000 to help protect over 2,000 acres of important wetland and associated upland habitat in Surry.
The small NAWCA projects were each awarded $100,000 and partners included Frenchman’s Bay Conservancy, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, National Audubon Society and others. Over 300 acres of important habitat will be protected, including a seabird nesting island, and seabird restoration will progress on six islands.
Match provided by partners totals over $1M for these projects. Habitat will be protected in perpetuity for waterfowl, seabirds and other trust resources.
News release-National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program

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In a race against extinction, rusty patched bumble bee is listed as endangered

Rusty Patched Bumble Bee
Rusty Patched Bumble Bee (Bombus affinis) .

March 8, 2017

Just 20 years ago, the rusty patched bumble bee was a common sight, so ordinary that it went almost unnoticed as it moved from flower to flower, collecting nectar and pollen. But the species, now balancing precariously on the brink of extinction, has become the first-ever bumble bee in the United States -- and the first bee of any kind in the contiguous 48 states -- to be declared endangered.
Read more.

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Restoring Fish Passage in Crystal Brook

Mt.Chase culvert
Open-bottom arch culvert prepped and ready to install into the stream.

August 30, 2016

The Gulf of Maine Coastal Program guided construction of a new stream crossing in Atlantic salmon critical habitat in the town of Mount Chase. A collection of old, undersized culvert pipes were removed and replaced with a 25 foot wide aluminum arch spanning Crystal Brook under the Owlsboro Road. The stream now flows over a natural bottom, providing passage for all fish species, capacity for very large flood events, and banks built inside to provide passage for terrestrial creatures. The project was primarily funded by disaster relief funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, with critical assistance from The Nature Conservancy.

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2016 Federal Junior Duck Stamp Program Celebration

Current Dams on Outlet Stream.
Join us for a celebration of the 2016 Junior Duck Stamp winners and the Centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty!

March 26, 2016

The Gulf of Maine Coastal Program partnered with L.L. Bean and USFWS Migratory Birds to host a celebration of the 2016 Federal Junior Duck Stamp Contest and the Centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty. The Junior Duck Stamp Program is designed to promote waterfowl and wetland conservation education through art. The winning Maine artist will go on to compete in the National Contest; the overall winner will have their artwork made into a $5 stamp, proceeds of which will go towards conservation education.




More Information on the Junior Duck Stamp Program

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Casco Bay Eelgrass Restoration

Current Dams on Outlet Stream.
GOMP staff and Casco Bay Estuary Partnership intern prepare eelgrass shoots for planting in Casco Bay.

October 9, 2015

Gulf of Maine Coastal Program staff partnered with the Casco Bay Eelgrass Consortium to build capacity for eelgrass restoration through a pilot project designed by the USGS and the University of New Hampshire. Donor plants were collected from a healthy population in Casco Bay and were transplanted via four distinct planting methods to Maquoit Bay.

These plants will be monitored to evaluate which methods were most successful; such methods will lead to future restoration efforts as more information and expertise is acquired. This project is a follow up to an eelgrass-invasive green crab study, conducted in 2014.

News Article in the Falmouth Forecaster

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China Lake Watershed Restoration

Current Dams on Outlet Stream.
Current Dams on Outlet Stream.

April 6, 2015

The Gulf of Maine Coastal Program is partnering with USDA-NRCS, Sebasticook Regional Land Trust, Maine DMR, Maine Rivers, and local landowners to bypass or remove the six remaining dams on Outlet Stream in the China Lake watershed, located within the Kennebec River and Sebasticook River watersheds.

The coalition, known as the Alewife Restoration Intiative, hopes to restore fish passage along the 10-miles of river to China Lake, which could add up to a million adult alewives to the annual Kennebec River run.

News Release

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Grants Awarded to Conserve Coastal Wetlands in Maine

Serena Doose
Weskeag Marsh in South Thomaston, ME.

January 7, 2015

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grants to habitat protection projects in Harpswell and South Thomaston, Maine today. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife was awarded $220,000 to acquire and permanently protect over 40 acres of important habitat and more than a mile of shorefront on Little Yarmouth Island in eastern Casco Bay. MDIFW was also awarded $450,000 to protect over 250 acres of important wetland habitat and over 2 miles of shorefront along the Weskeag River in South Thomaston. The award is provided by the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant system of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is matched by more than $780,000 in Partner contributions. Habitat will be protected in perpetuity for shorebirds, seabirds and other trust resources.

National News Release

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Advanced Stream Simulation Design Course

Serena Doose
Class members conducting a stream survey.

October 23, 2014

The Gulf of Maine Coastal Program organized and hosted a five-day Advanced Stream Simulation Design Course this week. The workshop taught participants how to design road‐stream crossing structures that provide unimpeded fish and other aquatic organism passage, restore natural channel processes through the structure, and maximize the long‐term stability of the structure. The course was held at the Appalachian Mountain Club's lodge near Greenville, ME and was led by national experts including Bob Gubernick (USFS) and Dale Higgins (USFS).

Jed, Alex, and Serena from GOMCP identified and surveyed field instruction sites, developed the curriculum and obtained outside funding to support the workshop. Service staff attended from ES and Fisheries and included regional fish passage engineers. A diverse set of participants came from throughout New England and included private consulting engineers, staff from Maine Department of Transportation, NGOs and NRCS. GOMCP's investment in training is helping to build capacity to increase the pace, scale and scope of restoration of critical aquatic habitats in the Northeast.

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Upper Flag Island Coastal Cleanup

Coastal Cleanup Crew
Coastal Cleanup crew on Upper Flag Island, Harpswell, Maine

September 27 , 2014

In support of the Maine Coastal Program and International Ocean Conservancy's "Coastal Cleanup Week" and National Public Lands Day, GOMCP staff Bob Houston coordinated a cleanup of Upper Flag Island (a MCINWR island) with the 'Coastal Studies for Girls - Science and Leadership School' class from Freeport, Maine. Bob took the class of 15 high school girls and 4 staff to the island by boat. While there he provided an overview of the importance of these islands to seabirds and the Service, background on how GOMCP contributes to conservation, and information on careers in the Service. All trash collected was categorized and entered on data sheets that are submitted to the Ocean Conservancy for their international database. The Coastal Studies for Girls class will also use the data, as well as past years' data that Bob has collected, in their classroom studies to look at types of trash collected and trends. This is an incredible opportunity to introduce these future leaders to the Service and add to their conservation education!


Coastal Studies for Girls Facebook


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Branch Brook Fish Ladder Restored

Branch Brook fish ladder. Click to read Jacob Aman's about the project.
The Branch Brook fish ladder.

April 8, 2014

We recently helped fund the restoration of the Branch Brook fish ladder, in partnership with Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Construction was completed in February and the newly restored ladder is scheduled to be opened on May 10... just in time for this year's alewife run!


Jacob Aman's (Wells Reserve) blog post


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Study shows Maine's wildlife threatened by climate change

The cover of the report. Click to download the full report.

February 24, 2014

Atlantic salmon. Canada lynx. Moose. Atlantic puffins. What will happen to them as the climate continues to change? On our Northeast blog, GOMCP's very own biologist and GIS specialist Bob Houston shares his knowledge from a study released about the impacts of climate change on Maine's already vulnerable wildlife.

The study, Climate Change and Biodiversity in Maine, identified 168 vulnerable species that could experience large range shifts and population declines in Maine as a result of climate change by 2100.

The report was written by a team of scientists from Manomet; Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry; Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife; The Nature Conservancy; Maine Coast Heritage Trust; Maine Audubon; and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Bob Houston's blog post
News release

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$1 million will conserve coastal wetlands in Harpswell

The waters of Middle Bay and Casco Bay provide critically important habitat for many commercially, recreationally and/or ecologically valuable fish species, such as alewife (pictured), American shad and Atlantic salmon.
The waters of Middle Bay and Casco Bay provide critically important habitat for many commercially, recreationally and/or ecologically valuable fish species, such as alewife (pictured), American shad and Atlantic salmon.

January 16, 2014

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that a $1 million grant will conserve coastal wetlands across 86 acres on Middle Bay in Harpswell, Maine. An additional $424,980 will be provided by partner contributions. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, in partnership with Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, will conserve three parcels through acquisition of fee title and conservation easements. A large portion of the wetlands provides significant habitat for waterfowl and wading birds, as well as feeding and roosting habitat for shorebirds. Five bald eagle nests and a great blue heron colony are within two miles of the project, which is also within the feeding area of endangered roseate terns. The project will benefit salt marsh sparrows, migrating peregrine falcons, and 38 state-endangered, threatened and special concern species.

National news release
List of all grants (PDF 126 KB)

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New website: Atlantic Salmon and Sea-run Fish Restoration in Maine

The banner for the new website.
The new site is a companion site to the North Atlantic LCC website. It is funded by USFWS, NOAA and the North Atlantic LCC.

January 8, 2014

Partners working to restore Atlantic salmon and other sea-run fish in Maine unveiled their new website Atlantic Salmon and Sea-run Fish Restoration in Maine. The new website is a centralized location for sharing information, improving stakeholder and public knowledge, and connecting recovery efforts with stakeholders.

We formed a web team, led by GOMCP, to work with a private contractor and the North Atlantic LCC to create a comprehensive web content management system tailored to the needs of all partners involved in Atlantic salmon and sea-run fish restoration in Maine

Visit the new site
Learn more about the Atlantic Salmon Recovery Framework

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Cooperation will be key to restoring St. Croix

Tribal and federal logos from the Statement of Cooperation document.
Logos from the Schoodic River Statement of Cooperation between Wabanaki Tribal Leaders and four federal agencies.

July 10, 2013

On June 5, 2013 the Wabanaki Tribe and several U.S federal agencies signed a Statement of Cooperation (PDF 152 KB) to continue working together to restore the St. Croix River and Passamaquoddy Bay watershed. This action followed an April 2013 vote by Maine legislators to reopen fishways on Woodland Dam and Grand Falls Dam to allow sea-run fish to pass.


Latest updates on the St. Croix


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Maine Stream Habitat Viewer online

Modified header from the Viewer's website.
The Maine Stream Habitat Viewer is hosted by the Maine Office of GIS.

July 8, 2013

Maine has a new online tool that will enhance statewide stream restoration and conservation efforts. The Maine Stream Habitat Viewer, hosted by the Maine Office of GIS, provides a starting point for towns, private landowners, and others to learn more about stream habitats and barriers to fish passage across the state.

Read more

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GOMCP leads stream simulation workshop

Bob Guberneck and the stream restoration class overlooking a stream.
Instructor Bob Guberneck (USDA Forest Service) explains the importance of aquatic connectivity.
Credit: Jed Wright/USFWS

July 1, 2013

GOMCP led a 4-day workshop to teach the latest techniques on designing and building bridges and culverts that allow streams and the aquatic life they support to flow naturally. The workshop was held at Appalachian Mountain Club’s Gorman Chairback Lodge and Cabins near Long Pond.

Organizing technical trainings and pooling resources with partners allow USFWS staff to expand our conservation impact across a much larger audience and positively impact restoration projects across the state.


Read the full story

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Last updated: June 12, 2019

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