|Program||# of Grants||EDA Funds|
|Economic Adjustment Assistance||1||$997,269|
|Regional Innovation Program||1||$454,532|
Walpole, ME - The University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center is the State's central program for gathering, analyzing and disseminating scientific data regarding Maine's coastal marine environment and its ecosystem. This data is critical to the sustainability of the commercial fishing economy, including the lobster industry which accounts for $500,000,000 in direct sales, an estimated $1,500,000,000 in total impact, and 8,000-10,000 jobs directly engaged in lobster fishing. The Center’s work also supports the fishing and aquaculture industries, the surrounding communities that depend on them, and affects the State's economy in other sectors such as boat and trap manufacturing, marine services and tourism. The Center's pier and laboratory flowing seawater system are essential for this work, but with aging infrastructure at more than fifty years old, it is severely deteriorated due to the harsh effects of saltwater.
In September 2017, EDA invested $1,500,000 in Public Works funds to the University of Maine for demolition and replacement of the Darling Marine Center’s 19’ X 94’ concrete commercial-capacity pier, renovation of 2,937 square foot of the Flowing Seawater Laboratory, construction of three new business incubation laboratory spaces, and the renovation of the flowing seawater system, including new pumps, pump houses and piping. A new commercial-grade concrete pier, updated laboratory and full-capacity flowing seawater system were necessary for the Center to be able to continue its essential work, but the University lacked the financial resources to complete the project without EDA’s assistance.
The completion of the project will ensure the continuing availability of marine environmental and ecosystem data. This is essential to the long-term health and sustainability of Maine’s commercial fishing economy. The Center estimates that this project will result in the creation of 50 additional jobs through business incubation and expansion.