Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay has successfully completed a restoration plan after the organization broke environmental laws during its $30 million expansion, according to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
In its monthly enforcement report, the department announced that a restoration plan submitted by the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in 2017 “has been completed to the department’s satisfaction.”
To resolve the environmental violations, the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens has agreed to pay the Atlantic Salmon Federation $18,629 for the purpose of completing the Head Tide Dam Modification Project, according to the DEP report.
In October 2016, state environmental regulators allowed Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens — as part of its expansion — to permanently alter about 62,600 square feet of freshwater wetland, convert 3,211 square feet of forested freshwater wetland to emergent wetland and permanently alter 262,935 square feet of critical terrestrial habitat of eight “significant vernal pools.”
Following the initial expansion application, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens — which opened in 2007 and now covers 295 acres — submitted a new application that included revisions to the plan.
In 2017, prior to the revisions being approved by the DEP, a third party inspector found that the organization violated the Natural Resources Act by placing permanent structures in areas not approved by the DEP, altered wetlands without approval and performed excavation and construction, again, without approval.
In June 2017, the DEP issued a formal Notice of Violation to Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, stating that the organization and its contractors violated four federal environmental laws during the expansion project.
The expansion project generated criticism from neighbors, and others, including the Boothbay Region Water District, since it was announced in April 2016. In 2018, a federal judge cleared the way for the project to be finished, after approving a consent agreement in two lawsuits involving the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, the town of Boothbay and a neighbor.