Sea level rise and coastal flooding pose significant threats to southern Maine communities. Marked by picturesque seaside neighborhoods, ecologically significant coastal habitat, and a robust economy driven by coastal tourism, the region is a highly desirable place to live, work, and visit. Many of these characteristics that make Kennebunk so desirable also make it exceptionally vulnerable to coastal storms and rising seas.
The Tides, Taxes, & New Tactics project is addressing this dynamic by providing Kennebunk with vital information about sea level rise impacts, local vulnerabilities, and tailored strategies for protecting people, property, and natural resources from the impacts of coastal flooding. Led by the Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission (SMPDC) and funded by the Maine Coastal Communities Grant program, the project involves the towns of Kennebunk, Wells, and York.
The project team from SMPDC worked in partnership with the three towns to investigate municipal-level economic and social impacts of 1.6, 3.9, and 6.1 feet of sea level rise and develop adaptation and resilience planning strategies that address those impacts. Municipal staff from each community serve on a Project Advisory Committee (PAC) to guide the project and ensure that the methodology, findings, and recommendations are tailored to and suit the needs of each town.
This report summarizes the results of the sea level rise vulnerability assessments for Kennebunk, Wells and York, presents maps showing impacts from 1.6, 3.9 and 6.1 feet of sea level rise, provides and overview of coastal flood hazards facing Southern Maine, and presents a range of adaptation and resilience strategies that towns can integrate into existing planning, policy and decision-making frameworks.