Great Meadow Wetland and Bass Harbor Marsh Selected for Federal Funding


Acadia National Park will receive federal funds for two crucial environmental projects in the park over the next two years.

The Great Meadow Wetland restoration will receive $500K in fiscal year 2022 and Bass Harbor Marsh $400K in fiscal year 2023. The funding was authorized through the bipartisan $550 billion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that Congress passed last November. Both projects are Wild Acadia initiatives and a collaborative effort between Acadia National Park, Friends of Acadia, and the Schoodic Institute.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a $1 trillion investment in America’s infrastructure and will support National Park Service efforts to tackle the climate crisis in parks across the country. This is the largest investment in American history devoted to the restoration and protection of the environment.

Rebecca Cole-Will, Acadia’s Chief of Resource Management, said the new funding is intended to do ecosystem restoration for recreation and climate-smart management. “This federal funding supports and leverages significant investments by Friends of Acadia and the National Park Service in forwardthinking adaptive management. The Wild Acadia Initiative is a model approach, and this funding recognizes that.”

In the Great Meadow Wetland, the work will build on six years of previous efforts. Project plans include plugging ditches in the wetland to retain water naturally and prevent flooding downstream, installing culverts and boardwalks to enhance the recreation value of the trails and restore natural water flow, and planting native plants appropriate for future climates.

The project will begin in 2022 and will enable a more climateresilient and recreation-friendly environment. Additional funding is allocated to Bass Harbor Marsh in 2023. Bass Harbor Marsh is the largest salt marsh in the park and provides an important habitat for Nelson’s sparrows, which breed in salt marshes. It is also a culturally significant landscape for traditional harvesting of sweetgrass by Wabanaki people from the four federally recognized Indian Tribes affiliated with Acadia.

The Bass Harbor Marsh project is a part of a public-private partnership project to co-manage the marsh by integrating indigenous science and climate-smart techniques to restore salt marshes throughout the Maine Coastal Watershed. This project will leverage more than $6 million in private funding for restoration in the region and will be completed in 2023.

Brian Henkel, Wild Acadia Project Coordinator, said he believes that Acadia was well positioned for this federal funding thanks to its leadership in addressing how parks tackle climate change through the Resist-Accept-Direct (RAD) framework.

“In 2021, Acadia received national press for its work on climate change and the RAD framework. We in turn had visits from U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and a delegation from the U.S. House of Representatives Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition. Other parks are also reaching out to learn more about our work and I think we’ve built momentum. This is a great example of how private philanthropy and government can work together.”

SHANNON BRYAN is Friends of Acadia’s Content and Website Manager and LORI SCHAEFER is Friends of Acadia’s Communications Director