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Town hoping for grant to assess condition of marsh culverts

The town is hoping for a $17,000 grant to conduct an assessment of culverts in town, a first step toward developing a plan for culvert replacement.

The grant, offered by the Maine Coastal Program and Municipal Planning Assistance Program, requires a 25-percent local match ($4,250), would could be aided by the Wells Reserve and the Nature Conservancy, if the culverts are negatively impacting wildlife. "Scouring is becoming evident adjacent to culverts connected to the Spurwink Marsh, which is one area of interest to the Wells Reserve," Town Planner Maureen O'Meara wrote in an April 3, 2017 memo to the Town Council.

Culverts are structures that allow water to flow under roads, trails or other obstructions. However, water flowing through culverts that are too small or are deteriorating can cause scouring of surrounding soils. The grant proposal would assess the condition of 20 culverts in town.

"Both the 2015 Sea Level Rise Assessment and the 2016 County Hazard Mitigation Plan will strengthen the town's grant application," O'Meara said. "If the culvert assessment is conducted, it will not only guide future municipal infrastructure investment, it can also be used to attract partnership funding, particularly where culvert replacements are the most expensive - in the Spurwink Marsh.

"Savings in the marsh can then be applied to aging culverts in other parts of town," she said.