Past Coastal & Sea Level Rise Reports

SMPDC, in partnership with the Maine Coastal Program, the Maine Geological Survey, and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, has long worked with member coastal communities on land use and development in hazardous coastal erosion areas and areas subject to inundation from sea level rise. Our work includes sea level rise chapters for municipal comprehensive plans, policy development, sea level rise presentations, GIS mapping, and other relevant tasks.

This page houses many of our past regional studies relevant to sea level rise, coastal communities, and water quality. 

View our active Coastal Resilience work here


 York River Watershed Study (2018)

The York River Study Committee, in partnership with Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission (SMPDC), received a Coastal Communities Grant from the Maine Coastal Program to examine development potential within the York River Watershed and associated impacts to key resources. SMPDC conducted an assessment of existing regulatory and non-regulatory initiatives in the watershed, drafted a report outlining watershed protection strategies, and contracted with Spatial Alternatives, Inc. to conduct a build-out analysis of the watershed based on existing land use regulations and ordinances as well as several alternative zoning scenarios.

York River Watershed Final Story Map


 Natural Disaster Debris Management Site Planning (2016)

Natural Disaster Debris Management Site Planning - Considerations for York County Coastal Communities  

This report and accompanying maps are intended to be an overview on identifying potential debris management sites an understanding the logistics that surround choosing these sites. Specific suggestions and observations from SMPDC and the Committee are also included in the report as well as a more extensive list of helpful materials.



 Saco River Drinking Water Resiliency Project (2016-17)

Recognizing the importance of "the Saco" as a drinking water resource, this EPA Healthy Communities Grant, in collaboration with GPCOG, was an effort to evaluate potential contaminants and threats to drinking water within a one-mile buffer along the Maine portion of the river.

Final Report Story Map


 Evacuation Route Signs & Emergency Shelters (2016)

Considerations for York County Coastal Communities (2016)

This report and accompanying map are intended to be an overview of York County's current evacuation sign system and how it relates to the State-designated evacuation routes and emergency shelter locations. Specific suggestions and observations from SMPDC and the Committee are also included in the report as well as a list of helpful materials.

Evacuation Signs & Shelters Map

Transfer Stations in York County Map


 Sea Level Adaptation Working Group (2015)

The purpose of the Sea Level Adaptation Working Group (SLAWG) is to review information from the Coastal Hazard Resiliency Tools Project that has analyzed the problem of sea level rise, to create a Vulnerability Assessment for Saco Bay, and to develop and implement an Action Plan of implementation strategies for regional solutions.  The SLAWG shall limit its scope to its defined region, which shall consist of any coastal estuaries, marshes and beaches subject to tidal influence and storm surges, whether by fresh or salt water, as well as any associated developed areas, roads, and other infrastructure, within the four member municipalities.  At this time, the SLAWG has completed its initial versions of a Vulnerability Assessment and this Action Plan, both of which are intended to be continually refined, as the identified actions are researched, designed, and implemented.

Sea Level Rise Adaptation Working Group - Regional Infrastructure Assessment  (2015)

This report was generated by the Saco Bay Sea Level Adaptation Working Group (SLAWG) for the purpose of identifying and assessing the potential impacts of several different scenarios of sea level rise or storm surge on both public and private roads within the Saco Bay region. 

SLAWG Action Plan 

Steering Committee 


 Sea Level Rise Municipal Comprehensive Plan Chapters

SMPDC offers support and technical assistance for communities who wish to include Sea Level Rise chapters in their Comprehensive Plan updates. So far, SMPDC has assisted the following communities:
  • York
  • Wells
  • Kennebunk
  • Biddeford
  • Saco
  • Old Orchard Beach
  • Ogunquit


 Maine Department of Environmental Projection

Update to Chapter 1000: Guidelines for Municipal Shoreland Zoning Ordinances

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) updated Chapter 1000: Guidelines for Municipal Shoreland Zoning Ordinances in December 2014. These are standards the Maine DEP uses as a guide when reviewing municipal ordinances. A municipality need not adopt the guidelines word for word. Municipalities are encouraged to consider local planning documents and other special local considerations. A municipality may wish to adopt a more stringent ordinance, or an ordinance different from the "Guidelines." This is acceptable as long as the ordinance is equally or more effective in achieving the purposes of the Shoreland Zoning Law.