Question 4 on this fall’s Nov. 6 ballot is a $35.5 million Natural Resources bond that will provide $3 million to protect Maine’s dwindling working waterfront. The working waterfront bond funding is part of a larger package that includes funding for parks, rivers and the Land for Maine’s Future fund. The new funding will extend the Department of Marine Resources’ Working Waterfront Access Pilot Program.

Recent research by the Island Institute shows that fewer than 20 miles of Maine’s 5,300-mile coast remain available to support those who rely on water access for fishing-related jobs. A full 66 percent of working waterfront is privately owned and vulnerable to sale for non-fishing-related use, so the need to purchase and protect critical access points is greater than ever. Working waterfronts account for approximately 40,000 jobs that contribute $740 million to Maine’s economy.