(December 17, 2021) Yarmouth, Maine
Local sea farmers, dock and boat builders, business innovators, land use specialists, neighbors, and Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) collaborated with Sea Meadow Marine Foundation to acquire and protect twelve acres of working waterfront in Yarmouth, Maine. Sea Meadow, a local non-profit created to address the rapidly disappearing working waterfronts in Maine, closed on the property yesterday with with a USDA Community Facilities loan from CEI and an operating grant from the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation. The grant and loan funds will also help support a business incubator/marine business hub for early-stage fisheries and sustainable aquaculture businesses alongside marina services, heritage boat builders, and recreational marine organizations. The current tenants support 26 working waterfront jobs.
Sea Meadow’s Board President, Chad Strater, knew firsthand the need to protect the parcel. As a small business owner building docks, piers, and seawalls, he started this acquisition effort over three years ago when a local oyster farmer told him the parcel was on the market. CEI recognized the importance of Sea Meadow’s vision and worked with the team to establish long-term, flexible financing for the boatyard. After closing on the property, Chad stated that “the working waterfront is a critical aspect of Maine’s economy and environmental health. If the working waterfront goes away, it’s not coming back. We are excited to move forward with this project.”
“Of the state’s 3,400 miles of coastline, the working waterfront has been whittled down to only twenty-one miles, which includes critical enterprises such as fishing, aquaculture, boat building, and boatyards,” said board member Bill Perna. The author of a book entitled Maine Oysters, Stories of Resilience and Innovation and the director of a podcast series that focuses on Maine Aquaculture, Bill was excited to join the board of Sea Meadow. “These small remaining waterfronts, which employ many hard-working Mainers, are threatened by private, mostly residential, land purchases. Our goal is to collaboratively preserve Maine’s working waterfront areas which play a critical role in our blue economy.”
There are eight coastal counties of Maine (Cumberland, Hancock, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Waldo, Washington, and York). The number of water-dependent businesses and recreational use varies from county to county, however, the need for working waterfront access statewide is critical. Sea Meadow engages with coastal stakeholders to implement solutions that generate successful working waterfront models specific to each community’s needs.
Sea Meadow Marine Foundation will now launch a fundraising campaign, plan educational and innovation programs, and collaborate with partners to build Waterfronts that Work.
About Sea Meadow Marine Foundation
The Sea Meadow Marine Foundation preserves Maine’s working waterfront through a collaborative, sustainable approach to regenerate our coast, improve marine and public health, and protect our heritage. www.seameadow.org
CEI, based in Brunswick, is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 community development financial institution with a mission to grow good jobs, environmentally sustainable enterprises, and shared prosperity in Maine and rural regions across the U.S. www.ceimaine.org
About the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation
The Elmina B. Sewall Foundation supports work in Maine to improve the well-being of people, animals, and the environment while fostering relationships that strive for social equity and community resilience. www.sewallfoundation.org