Collins leads Working Waterfront Preservation Act

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) recently sponsored a bipartisan bill to support America’s commercial fishing, aquaculture, boatbuilding, and for-hire recreational fishing industries.

Sen. Collins on Nov. 1 introduced the Working Waterfront Preservation Act, S. 3180, which is cosponsored by U.S. Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) to establish a $20 million working waterfronts grant program.

“The hardworking men and women that make up Maine’s maritime industries continue to lose access to the waterfronts that sustain them. Recent demand for coastal property has only intensified the problem both in Maine and across the nation,” Sen. Collins said. “This bipartisan legislation would create a grant program to provide funding for municipal and state governments, nonprofit organizations, and participants in maritime industries to preserve and improve working waterfront property in our coastal states.” 

If enacted, the grant program established under S. 3180 would help those entities purchase or improve working waterfront property in coastal states, according to a bill summary provided by Sen. Collins’ staff.

Grants would be administered by the Economic Development Administration. Successful applicants would need to be endorsed by state fisheries agencies. To be eligible for a grant, recipients would be required to permanently protect an area as a working waterfront, the summary says.

“Today, our working waterfronts face a growing number of competing pressures, from rising sea levels to surging real estate prices and economic development challenges,” said Sen. Reed. “This new federal grant program would provide a lifeline to coastal communities to preserve, protect, and enhance working waterfronts, upgrade infrastructure, and ensure public access to the water.”

The Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, and the Fishing Communities Coalition endorsed S. 3180, which has been referred for consideration to the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.