UMaine, USM Team Up for $20 Million Project 

Catherine Pegram

The University of Maine and the University of Southern Maine are teaming up to help shape the future of the state, thanks to a 20-million dollar grant.The money comes from the National Science Foundation to support a new project called the Sustainability Solutions Initiative. Governor Baldacci and other state leaders made the announcement today in Orono. For the next five years, Umaine, USM and other government and business partners will pool their resources as they learn how to spark economic and community development, while protecting the environment.The Governor says the effort will also create a number of jobs.”Directly they’re talking about 200 to 300 jobs but the ripple impact would be enormous. they’re talking on the order of thousands of people being able to ultimately be recognized through the research and development that this will provide.”The project will be lead by Umaine’s Senator George J. Mitchell Center.Initially, it’ll focus on problems related to urban sprawl, forest management and climate change, such as the rapid growth in Southern Maine versus the sale of forest lands and mill closures in Northern Maine.