Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens has received a $18,629 fine for violating environmental regulations regarding its 2017 expansion project. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection cited CMBG for building structures without approval and filling wetlands, in violation of the state’s Natural Resources Protection Act. The fine will pay for the Atlantic Salmon Federation to complete a modification of Head Tide Dam in Alna on the Sheepscot River.
In 2017, CMBG was in the midst of an $18 million expansion project which included a new visitors center, parking and entrance road, plus stormwater controls and underground utilities. According to the DEP, the project was under a “lengthy appeals” process which slowed down the project. CMBG submitted several changes which also delayed the approval process. CMBG, fearing it may wait several months to receive DEP approval, moved forward with the project.
On April 4, Communications Director Kris Folsom said CMBG worked closely with DEP during the expansion project which took place more than a year ago. During construction, a DEP representative was on the construction site twice a week, Folsom said.
"We knew that their office was backlogged and the process was likely to drag on. We needed to move forward as we were in the midst of an active construction project," she wrote in an email. "We worked very closely with the DEP during that time as we waited for the permit to come through. While we disagree that there were violations, we respect their decision and are pleased the agreement gives us the opportunity to help support the Atlantic Salmon Federation and their Head Tide Dam project in Alna.”
In a Central Maine Morning Sentinel report, CMBG President and CEO Bill Cullina stated “We realized we were technically doing it without a permit, but nothing that was destructive environmentally.”
After DEP discovered the violations, CMBG completed a restoration plan.