Maine is getting $11 million for 16 community projects that will help pay for climate change initiatives, recreational opportunities and basic infrastructure needs.

Gov. Janet Mills and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced the new federal funds Wednesday at the University of Maine’s Advanced Composites Center.

The funds are through the Northern Border Regional Commission, which designates economic development funding for Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and upstate New York, Collins said.

“Rural Maine faces certain challenges that other parts of the country do not,” she said. “As our communities work to recover from the pandemic, deal with inflation and expand opportunity, it is more important than ever for Congress to renew its commitment to the northern border states.”

Mills called the awards “a recognition of the innovators and inventors who are driving the economic success of our region.”

The grants will go to projects such as $750,000 for East Millinocket to help redevelop a former mill site and $1 million for the university’s efforts to advance green engineering and building materials.

Other projects include $1 million for the Anson Madison Sanitary District; $671,364 for Stonington to pay for upgrades to ensure lobster can continue to be transported; and $380,000 to improve snowmaking abilities at Black Mountain in Rumford.

“This year, we will use these 16 grants to ensure Maine people can live in healthy communities, with safe roads, clean drinking water and accessible housing,” Mills said.

University system president Joan Ferrini-Mundy said over the last 30 years, the composites lab has worked with more than 500 companies and helped in the formation of 15 “spinoff companies.”

“Today, this lab is a global leader in advance and additive manufacturing,” she said. “Including through innovative utilization of low cost, low carbon materials derived from the state’s vast sustainable forest resources.”