December 17, 2018
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Project aims to keep Maine tribe’s land from washing away

Bridget Brown | BDN
Bridget Brown | BDN
Flooding and shoreline erosion threaten properties at Pleasant Point Reservation, shown here in this 2007 file photo. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposes a $3 million project, that included building a retaining wall, to protect the properties.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposes to spend $3 million next year to save Passamaquoddy Tribe land in Down East Maine from shoreline erosion.

The erosion at Pleasant Point Reservation has washed away backyards within about 30 feet of some of the tribal homes near a reservation church and senior center off Route 190 near Perry.

“We are trying to tackle this right now to prevent further damage,” Brian Balukomis, a corps project manager, said Friday. “It is typical erosion from storms that come in from Passamaquoddy Bay itself. It’s been eroding for years.”

The corps plans to construct a 1,500-foot-long riprap retaining wall to stop the erosion, which has crept into the backyards of some homes. The work plan will be designed this year in consultation with tribal leaders and several federal and state agencies.

The urgency of the work is made plain in the six-page public notice published late last month.

“Tribe owned facilities may be at risk from further erosion unless immediate action is taken to stabilize the shoreline,” the notice states.

The Passamaquoddy Tribe has two federally recognized reservations in Maine, at Pleasant Point and Indian Township. Each is a distinct sovereign unit with its own government and services.

Located at the confluence of Passamaquoddy and Cobscook Bay, the Pleasant Point peninsula has always been a traditional seasonal fishing village to the Passamaquoddy for thousands of years.

The corps will receive public comment on its proposal until Feb. 27.

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