Possible fund source found for erosion fix 



MOUNT DESERT — Friends of Acadia (FOA) has submitted a preliminary request for $1.5 million in federal funds for a permanent solution to the erosion that over the years has caused trees to be uprooted on a hillside in Seal Harbor and sediment to be deposited in Stanley Brook at the bottom of the hill.  

The Mount Desert Select Board endorsed the project and the funding request Tuesday night 

Stormwater from a Maine Department of Transportation’s drainage system on Route 3 and from the town’s drainage system on Jordan Pond Road flows into a catch basin beneath the town-owned dirt parking lot that is across Jordan Pond Road from the fire station. For many years, the water was then discharged onto the hillside at the rear of the parking lot. That hillside and everything below it is on Acadia National Park property. 

“The erosion has formed deep gullies, undermining the root system of many trees, causing them to fall over,” Mount Desert Public Works Director Tony Smith said in a December 2013 memo to Town Manager Durlin Lunt. “The eroded soils have migrated towards Stanley Brook, choking out vegetative growth on the forest floor. And possibly more critical, some [of the eroded soil] has made its way into the brook, altering the natural fish habitat.” 

Local, state and park officials agreed on a permanent solution that was estimated to cost at least $1 million, but no source of funding was found. So, in 2015, a “temporary” solution was implemented. 

A pre-treatment system was installed under the parking lot to remove oil, grease and suspended solids from the stormwater. From the rear of the parking lot, an above-ground pipe was installed to carry the water down the hill, through the woods and into Stanley Brook, a distance of about 290 feet. 

Stephanie Clement, interim president and CEO of FOA, said Sen. Susan Collins’ staff had identified a possible source of funding for a permanent solution: the National Park Service, National Recreation and Preservation, Statutory and Contractual Aid.  

Last year’s budget for that program included $33.9 million to support local community efforts to preserve natural and cultural resources. 

Clement said in a letter to the Select Board that FOA submitted “a bare bones request to Senator Collins on April 8 as a placeholder in her Congressionally Directed Spending Request process.” 

But she told the Select Board on Tuesday that, since FOA submitted the preliminary request for $1.5 million, it has learned that the permanent solution to the erosion problem is likely to cost about $3 million. 

Clement had asked the Select Board to agree that the town would be the recipient of any federal funds for the project. But that was not included in the motion that the board passed in support of the project. 

 

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

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