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Study looked at Harbor and Buoy Parks area

Rising seas could require $4.8 million in Rockland retrofits

By Stephen Betts | Jan 12, 2020
Photo by: Stephen Betts Rockland's middle pier was one of 10 sites around Penobscot Bay studied for future impacts from sea-level rise.

Rockland — The cost for Rockland to shore up its waterfront properties near Harbor and Buoy Parks from rising seas will cost more than $4.8 million.

These estimates do not include the cost to prepare other municipal shorefront properties or private property in Rockland.

These are the findings of a report commissioned last year by the Maine Department of Marine Resources. The city received the report earlier this month.

The Maine Resources-commissioned study looked at single sites in 10 communities along Penobscot Bay.

The Maine Coastal Program, part of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, received a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to conduct the study in Rockland, Camden, South Thomaston, Lincolnville, Belfast, Searsport, Vinalhaven, North Haven, Castine and Stonington.

For Rockland, the report -- developed by Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions, Inc. of Portland -- focused on the middle pier next to Buoy Park, the harbor master's building at Harbor Park, the sewage treatment pump station at Buoy Park, and the Lobster Cooker.

The report looked at NOAA sea level rise projections for 2030, 2050 and 2085.

The NOAA projections are for a 1-foot rise in storm surge wave action by 2030, 2-feet by 2050, and 4-feet by 2085.

By 2085, the authors are recommending that the middle pier be rebuilt at a higher elevation with granite blocks. The utilities that serve that pier should also be properly designed to resist water. The total cost of the pier work is estimated at nearly $2.7 million.

The city-owned building that houses the harbor master's office, the yacht club, and public restrooms should be replaced at a higher elevation, according to the report's recommendations.  That estimated cost is nearly $1.1 million.

The lobster cooker should be abandoned at its current location, which is in a flood zone, and built at a higher elevation, according to the report. The estimated cost of the design and construction is $200,000.

The current lobster cooker was built in 2008 with engraved bricks purchased by supporters of the Festival.

Retrofitting the sewage pump station is estimated to cost $450,000.

The report stated that raising the elevation of the Rockland Breakwater, which provides protection for the coastline, is also a consideration. The report did not issue that as one of its recommendations.

City Manager Tom Luttrell said he has looked at the study but is not sure how the estimated costs were developed.

The manager said is asking the state to make a presentation to the City Council and public on the report.

The city hired a sustainability coordinator -- Davis Saltonstall -- who began work last month at City Hall.

The hiring of that position was one of the recommendations in the climate action plan made by the Rockland Energy Committee.

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Comments (10)
Posted by: johanna stadler | Jan 13, 2020 17:45

see here's the thing.  I don;t live in rockland, I live on nabby cove in south thomaston.  I have lived here my entire life.  My people before me have lived here since the 1830's.  One thing I can tell you for sure. the tides are higher and the erosion is just devastating.  You can say what you want about the sky falling and all that other stuff, but in my world  it really is.  I have lost over 25 feet in the last 25 yrs.   I could stop it if I had 40 grand to put up a retaining wall.  Well since I live in a house valued at less than 20 grand, it's just not going to happen.  So I get to watch my history wash away with each storm.  It's impossible to pretend it's all bullshit when I see it destroying my world.

Posted by: Sumner Kinney | Jan 13, 2020 16:37

Inside sources say, the sky is falling.  I can have a plan and would appreciate your help. -  send a check to support my cause.


Posted by: Maine Coast TV | Jan 13, 2020 14:07

It's interesting that the predicted sea level rise by 2100 might be 1 foot. Or it might be 8.2 feet.  Or the world may go into a full scale nuclear war. In all three cases moving the lobster cooker is irrelevant.

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Jan 13, 2020 09:52

Don’t consultants just love to spend your money for something that may happen when we’re all pushing up daises. Is the concept of common sense foreign to these people ?  Yes let’s spend thousands to move the lobster cooker to Bennett hill. At least glad the city didn’t spend money on this study. Best place for this is in the circular file

Posted by: Doug Curtis Jr. | Jan 13, 2020 09:51

I wonder what the original cooker cost which was built by my grandfather Ervin L Curtis?

Posted by: Stephen Betts | Jan 13, 2020 07:24


I went to the NOAA site that you cited and this was also included on the page.

"If we follow a pathway with high emissions,  a worst-case scenario of as much as 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) above 2000 levels by 2100 cannot be ruled out."

The information in my article is from the Maine Coastal Program report.

Posted by: Maine Coast TV | Jan 12, 2020 23:08

According to NOAA website


"The global mean water level in the ocean rose by 0.14 inches (3.6 millimeters) per year from 2006–2015, which was 2.5 times the average rate of 0.06 inches (1.4 millimeters) per year throughout most of the twentieth century. By the end of the century, global mean sea level is likely to rise at least one foot (0.3 meters) above 2000 levels"


At  0.14 inches per year, the sea level during the next 10 years should be only 1.4", not a 1 foot rise as in this article. It will take, according to NOAA 80 years (year 2100) to rise one foot.

Posted by: Stephen Betts | Jan 12, 2020 20:19

The NOAA projections are for a 1-foot rise in storm surge wave action by 2030, 2-feet by 2050, and 4-feet by 2085.

Posted by: Joseph Steinberger | Jan 12, 2020 17:50

It would be interesting to know what are the NOAA sea level rise projections for 2030, 2050 and 2085.

Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Jan 12, 2020 12:43

Such a disaster and wonder if money poured into the solution is the right solution. My thoughts and prayers go out to the locals who live on the waterfront.

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