2019 Beaches Conference Program

Field Trips, 13 June
Conference Sessions 14 June




Plenary I

"Sea Level Rise in Maine" - an animated short by O'Chang Comics of Rockland, Maine.

Chris Feurt, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve & University of New England

Plenary Session I: Taking Action Across the Coast

Leaders from across Maine and New Hampshire will share stories of action they are taking to sustain the ecosystems, wildlife, and communities of our coasts in a round of lightning talks designed to introduce us to key topics.

Recent Powerful Nor'easters
John Cannon, National Weather Service

Vinalhaven Adaptation Planning
Andrew Dorr, Town of Vinalhaven

Sea Level Rise and its Impacts on Cultural Resources
Rodney D. Rowland, Director of Special Projects and Facilities, Strawbery Banke Museum

Dune Restoration in Seacoast NH
Alyson Eberhardt, NH Sea Grant/UNH Extension

Reducing Plastic Consumption
Keith Tharp, Sustainable Seacoast

Seal Rescue and Mortality
Sarah Perez, Seacoast Science Center

Creating and Marketing a Green Crab Fishery
Gabriela Bradt, NH Sea Grant/UNH Extension


Multimedia Session with Refreshments

Tools Demonstration
Interested in trying out and learning more about the latest tools and platforms used by our presenters? Join them during the break around the round tables in the gym for a fun hands-on demonstration.

Underwater: Coastal Property at Risk Interactive Maps: Union of Concerned Scientists, Roger Stephenson
Our Underwater interactive maps show how many homes are at risk to chronic flooding by state, community, and ZIP Code. The maps also show the current property value, estimated population, and the property tax base at risk. Data and fact sheets for coastal Congressional districts are also available.

Wave Run Up Forecast Tool: The Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems, Tom Shyka and the National Weather Service, John Cannon
This web based tool utilizes a wave run up model developed by the US Geological Survey, which predicts the possibility of dune erosion, overwash, and inundation/flooding at specific beach locations.

Maine Adaptation Toolkit: Maine Climate and Adaptation Program, Nathan Robbins
In recognition of work at state agencies, and by active organizations in Maine and our region, DEP maintains webpages to provide a Maine-focused and centralized directory of available climate resources for entry- and technical-level users. Collectively this information can enable and enhance consideration of climate-related factors that affect communities, homes, or businesses, and can be integrated into decision making for short and long-term projects and plans.

Web-based Local Vulnerability Assessment Mapping in South Portland: South Portland, Lucy Brennan
In collaboration with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, this tool serves as a key resource in the re-imagination of our coastal community in the face of a changing climate. Built in ESRI, the map will integrate data related to historical flooding, SLR, critical infrastructure, economic and social vulnerability, and emergency evacuation routes.

Adapting Stormwater Management for Coastal Floods: NOAA Digital Coast, Jamie Carter
Developed for stormwater and floodplain managers, as well as land use planners, this interactive website incorporates tools and methods to derive critical coastal water-level thresholds, as well as assess the potential impacts of exceeding those thresholds on stormwater infrastructure. Managers can take various actions to address the issue, and this guide introduces planning, policy, on-the-ground, and funding options.

Buffer Options for the Bay: Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Steve Miller
Buffer Options for the Bay (BOB) is an informational resource intended to support policy and land use decisions in New Hampshire’s Great Bay region that involve buffers, defined for this project as the naturally vegetated stretches of land directly upslope of a water resource, such as a lake, stream, river, pond, estuary, or wetland. BOB was created through a collaboration of public, academic, and nonprofit organizations dedicated to leveraging the capacity of buffers to protect water quality, guard against storm surge and sea level rise, and sustain fish and wildlife in New Hampshire’s Great Bay region.


Concurrent Session I

Rockweed in Maine
Along the coast, the rocky-intertidal zone plays a pivotal role in Maine’s healthy coastal ecosystems and marine resource economy. Ownership of and access to the intertidal zone has been examined in Maine courts over decades, most recently with respect to the harvest of rockweed from intertidal lands. This session will explore the ecological benefits of rockweed in Maine as well as the current state of coastal access and associated challenges from the unique perspectives of a variety of stakeholders.

Shifting Shorelines: Building and measuring coastal habitat resilience to protect communities and nature
This group of dynamic speakers will describe efforts to show how shorelines are managed and how shoreline health is measured to focus on resilience and nature-based design. Speakers from Maine and New Hampshire will share stories from their work on community-based dune restoration, marsh integrity monitoring, mapping suitability, and changing regulations.

New Hampshire Living Shorelines
Kirsten Howard, New Hampshire Coastal Program

Salt marsh integrity
Sarah Dodgin, Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge

Dune Restoration
Alyson Eberhardt, New Hampshire Sea Grant/UNH Extension

Alison Sirois, Session Resource
Alison Sirois, Maine DEP

Engaging communities to evaluate, plan, and improve resilience to storms and flooding
This session will highlight how to bring community members together to think about resilience and share resources that support community conversations about what their community needs to be more resilient. It will share examples of the ways these techniques and resources are supporting coastal communities in identifying and addressing vulnerability to flooding from storm surge and sea level rise.

Community Resilience Assessment
John Duff, University of Massachusetts Boston
Emily Mitchell, University of Massachusetts Boston

Resilient Approaches for Resilient Outcomes
Nathan Robbins, Climate and Adaptation Program, Office of Communications, Education and Outreach, Maine Department of Environmental Protection
Esperanza Stancioff, Extension Professor and Climate Change Educator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension & Maine Sea Grant
Samantha Paradis, Mayor, RN, City of Belfast
Ivan Fernandez, Professor, Climate Change Institute, School of Forest Resources, School of Food and Agriculture, University of Maine, Orono, Maine

Stonington Vulnerability Study Framework
Leila Pike, GEI Consultants, Inc.

Understanding Beach Change along the Maine and New Hampshire Coastlines
This session will provide updates on shoreline change trends along Maine and New Hampshire Beaches. It will also share specific techniques learned by profiling volunteers that will help ensure quality beach profile data.


Assessing the Stability of New Hampshire Beaches: Research Involving the University of New Hampshire, New Hampshire State Agencies, and Citizen Scientists
Larry Ward, University of New Hampshire

The State of Maine’s Beaches in 2019
Peter Slovinsky, Maine Geological Survey
Stephen Dickson, Maine Geological Survey

Three (or Four) Ways to Improve Your Beach Profiles
John Lillibridge, Southern Maine Beach Profiling Program Volunteer
John Zarrella, Southern Maine Beach Profiling Program Volunteer

Coastal Messaging and Behavior Change
Local professionals from the seacoast area share their findings and practices relative to coastal health messaging and behavior change.

Water Quality Friendly Lawn Care
Julia Peterson, NH Sea Grant

Perceptions of Beach Water Quality
George Voigt, University of Maine

Plastic consumption
Gabriela Bradt, NH Sea Grant/UNH Extension
Patricia Jarema, University of New Hampshire

Shell Middens and Midden Minders panel
Learn about citizen-scientists monitoring eroding shell middens on Maine’s coast to inform cultural resources management decisions.

Dr. Alice Kelley, Associate Research Professor in the Climate Change Institute, and Instructor in the School of Earth and Climate Sciences, and a Cooperating Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of Maine.
Dr. Arthur Speiss, State Historic Preservation Officer, Maine Historic Preservation Commission
Chris Sockalexis, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Penobscot Nation
Dr. Joseph Kelley, Professor of Marine Geology, School of Earth and Climate Sciences, University of Maine


Lunch Roundtables

Q&A with Maine Department of Environmental Protection and NH Department of Environmental Services
Alison Sirois, Regional Licensing and Compliance Manager for Southern Maine Bureau of Land Resources, Maine Department of Environmental Protection
Eben Lewis, Wetlands Inspector, NH Dept. of Environmental Services

Q&A with Maine and NH Floodplain Management
Sue Baker, Maine Floodplain Management Program
Jennifer Gilbert, NH Office of Strategic Initiatives


Plenary II
Introduction by Julia Peterson, NH Sea Grant

UNDERCURRENTS: Navigating the Human Dynamics of Coastal Adaptation
This interactive session features the professional actors and facilitators of UNH PowerPlay demonstrating the points of view, frustrations, fears, and concerns, of stakeholders engaged in conversations around moving out of harm’s way. Participants can question the characters in order to develop a more nuanced understanding of the points of view and general behaviors at play in these challenging conversations.


Transition and Coffee


Concurrent Session II

Sea Level Rise, Chronic Flooding and Property Values
Chronic flooding driven by rising sea levels is an emerging threat. Flood Insurance Rate Maps depict flood-prone land and require flood insurance as a condition of a loan in the floodplains. This impacts the real estate market and municipal services. See how professionals in the fields of real estate, insurance, and the financial sector are addressing this risk.
Erika Spanger-Siegfried, Union of Concerned Scientists
Mike Bellamente, Keller-Williams Coastal Reality
Craig Foley, LAER Realty Partners
Sue Baker, Maine Floodplain Management Program

Collaboration to monitor the coast
This session highlights three programs using innovative collaborations and methods in order to pull together local interest and expertise from multiple locations along the coast, making it possible to gain a picture of the conditions and changes across the region in coastal acidification, the rocky intertidal zone, and beach litter.

Northeastern Coastal Stations Alliance Intertidal Monitoring
Hannah Webber, Schoodic Institute

Shell Day & Ocean acidification monitoring in the Northeast
Parker Gassett, University of Maine
Esperanza Stancioff, Maine Sea Grant/UMaine Extension

Community Beach Cleanups
Jennifer Kennedy, Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation
Katie Pelon, Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation

Awareness to Action: Local Communities Building Resilience
Climate change may be a global problem, but solutions need to be localized. See how Portsmouth, Hampton, and South Portland are building resilience in their communities.

Adapting to Flooding in Hampton
Jay Diener, Seabrook-Hamptons Estuary Alliance
Ryanne Dionne, Seabrook-Hamptons Estuary Alliance

Local Vulnerability Assessment Mapping in South Portland
Lucy Brennan, City of South Portland
Gayle Bowness, Gulf of Maine Research Institute

City of Portsmouth NH Historic Resources Vulnerability Assessment
Julie LaBranche, Rockingham Planning Commission
Peter Britz, City of Portsmouth

A Tale of Conflict: Wildlife Interactions Along Our Coast
Conflicts between wildlife and humans are not limited to the water’s edge or any one season. This panel will discuss how nesting birds, migratory birds, and North Atlantic right whales are impacted as well as solutions that can benefit us all.

Beach Management is for the Birds
Laura Zitske, Maine Audubon
Kate O'Brien, Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge
Brad Zitske, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

Sharing beaches with birds during migration
Pamela Hunt, NH Audubon

North Atlantic Right Whales & Fixed Gear Fishery Interactions
Caitlin Cleaver, FB Environmental

Dynamic Coasts: using science to inform forecasts, management, and policy
Explore the nature of coastal processes and their intersection with buildings and infrastructure. Featured examples will include the history of coastal change at Camp Ellis, the integration of sediment transport into coastal policy, and wave run up forecasting.

History of Coastal Changes at Camp Ellis
Joseph Kelley, University of Maine

Presentation Title: Littoral Dynamics and Public Policy
Emily Mitchell, University of Massachusetts Boston

Powerful Storms, Battering Waves
Tom Shyka, Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems
John Cannon, National Weather Service, Gray, ME

Improving Coastal Water Quality
As a recurring topic from previous conferences, this session aims to update the audience on the state-of-the-science regarding fecal source tracking efforts in coastal environments. Speakers will cover information on traditional and innovative approaches to fecal source tracking, as well as the successes and challenges with these approaches in specific watersheds and on a larger coastal New England scale.

Who’s Polluting the Water? Pointing the Finger in the Right Direction
Stephen Jones, University of New Hampshire
Audrey Berenson, University of New Hampshire

Expanding the fecal source tracking toolbox to better remediate human fecal pollution to Goose Rocks Beach, Kennebunkport
Meagan Sims, Maine Healthy Beaches Program

Reflecting on the success of remediating fecal pollution to the Medomak River using a collaborative task force
Margaret Burns, FB Environmental Associates
Julie Keizer, Town of Waldoboro




Concurrent III

Sea Level Rise
The causes of Sea Level Rise (SLR) are seemingly simple and yet the issue is almost incomprehensible to digest. Join this session to gain an understanding of the data behind as well as the present realities of High Tide Flooding, Storm Surge Height, as well as the need and challenges of SLR Adaptation.

Sea Level Rise and High Tide Flooding: Patterns and Projections in the Northeast
Jamie Carter, NOAA Office of Coastal Management

Back Barrier Salt Marshes as a Geological Archive of Storm Activity
Rachel Stearns, Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge

How Will We Adapt to Rising Seas?
Peter M. Hanrahan, CPESC, E.J. Prescott, Inc.

Aquaculture Engagement Round Table
This session aims to engage in discussions with coastal community members, such as coastal managers, policymakers, aquaculture industry members, and other stakeholders, on the Sustainable Aquaculture Working Group’s mission to develop long-term strategies for sustainable aquaculture in coastal waters of Maine and what vision or input attendees have regarding the opportunity (or not) to integrate aquaculture to the Maine fishing economy.

Caitlin Cleaver, FB Environmental Associates
Marissa McMahan, Manomet
Joshua Stoll, University of Maine

New Developments in the Law Affecting the Seashore: Access, Ownership and Seaweed
Amy K. Tchao, Drummond Woodsum
David Kallin, Drummond Woodsum

Best of the Seacoast Film Festival
How can film be a catalyst for environmental engagement and action? We'll discuss two different models. Now in its third year, the Seacoast Environmental Film Festival is a day-long event of important, current and locally relevant films about a range of topics, each followed by a panel discussion with local activists and experts. A benefit for the Kittery Land Trust, SEFF has become a go-to event for a wide swath of the Seacoast environmental community. The second model is a coordinated campaign of statewide screenings of a film about PFAS pollution that, in 2019, generated more than 1000 petition signatures and hundreds of letters to regulators and legislators. This session will feature a showing a several short films, and engage the audience in considering how to use film effectively to build visibility, inform and inspire, and ultimately, to catalyze action.
Melissa Paly, Conservation Law Foundation


Coastal Social at The Blue Mermaid Grill, Kittery
Join Beaches Conference attendees and presenters at the Coastal Social, a post-conference networking and socializing event at the popular Blue Mermaid Grill, just a short 5-minute walk downhill from the Kittery Community Center. Ticket price includes complimentary hors-oeuvres, cash bar, and an opportunity to raise a toast to our coasts.

Thursday 13 June

Field Sessions and Workshops

Full Day

Island Shoreline Clean-Up, New Meadows River
Chris Wall, Maine Island Trail Association
9 am – 3 pm
Fee: $10

The two Regional Stewardship Managers for the Maine Island Trail Association manage island projects and volunteer stewards for over 225 Trail sites between Kittery and Eastport. They regularly work with groups to clean shorelines along the Maine Coast and would like to offer this as an experience for up to 10 beach clean-up participants. Volunteers walk away from a cleanup with a greater awareness of marine debris impacts on wildlife and habitat, the complicated logistics of removal, and the amount of debris directly contributed by the commercial fishing industry.

Shell Middens and Maine Midden Minders
Damariscotta and Newcastle, ME
Alice Kelley, University of Maine; Arthur Spiess, Maine Historic Preservation Commission
Sarah Gladu, Damariscotta River Association
10 am - 2 pm
Fee: $10

Maine’s coast hosts approximately 2,000 Native American shell middens. Built by indigenous people prior to the arrival of Europeans, these features are composed of clam and oyster shells, artifacts, and animal, fish, and bird bones. Once thought of as trash heaps, middens represent thousands of years of coastal occupation, as well as an archive of paleo-environmental information about the western Gulf of Maine. Sea-level rise and increasing storm intensity is impacting Maine’s middens, with predictions suggesting that the pace of destruction will increase. Looting for curios or saleable artifacts is also damaging these irreplaceable archaeological sites. This trip will visit the Glidden and Whaleback Middens and smaller middens in Damariscotta and Newcastle. The Glidden Midden is the largest remaining shell midden in the Northeast. The Whaleback Midden, a State Historic site, was largely removed by mining, but a hint of its once impressive size remains. Participants will have the opportunity to see these little-known sites, learn about the lifeways of the people who created the middens, local archaeology, and learn how the Maine Midden Minders, a citizen-science initiative, are beginning to monitor and document changes to Maine’s shell middens.


Aquaculture in Casco Bay
Freeport and Brunswick, ME
Peter Millholland, Seacoast Tours of Freeport
Jaclyn Robidoux, Maine Sea Grant
Time: 9 am - 12 pm
Fee: $40

In Maine, aquaculture is an increasingly large part of the marine resource economy and builds on Maine’s maritime heritage. Aquaculture is not new to Maine, but recent developments and expansion, changing coastal waters, and concerns about the future of Maine's working waterfronts, have focused public attention on this industry. Many are familiar with the products of aquaculture - oysters, mussels, seaweed, etc. - but are disconnected from the sea farms and farmers that produce these valuable local species. In this field trip, participants will have the opportunity to interact with sea farmers on their active lease sites, to better understand the community and systems of sustainable seafood production. Additionally, participants will learn about the ecological benefits of sea farming and experience Maine’s diversified and developing sustainable working waterfront. This trip will visit, by boat, a variety of aquaculture sites in Freeport and Brunswick, to explore shellfish and seaweed aquaculture occurring on various scales. Participants will gain a better understanding of the challenges, opportunities, and realities of local aquaculture, to foster positive public engagement toward Maine’s aquaculture industries.

Beyond the Poster: New ways to engage people in their communities
Wells NERR, Wells, ME
Kristen Grant, Maine Sea Grant and UM Cooperative Extension
9 am – 12 pm
Fee: $10

If you've tacked up posters inviting people to attend your event, are you really engaging your community? Join this training to identify the benefits and challenges of community engagement. Learn about foundational concepts that enable people to contribute in meaningful ways. Gain skills to help groups work effectively together to meet their goals. Consider when you might use outreach approaches, and when you might need to achieve deeper levels of participation. In this 3 hour, interactive training you will apply concepts and skills to your own experiences and walk away with new tools to use.

Buffer Options for the Bay and Understanding the Community Assessment
Great Bay NERR, Greenland, NH
Steve Miller, Great Bay NERR
9 am – 12 pm (includes short walk along boardwalk)
Fee: $10

Healthy, intact buffers help keep our water clean and our basements dry, offer a home for wildlife, and protect oyster beds and eelgrass. They provide all these benefits and more by moderating some of the major stressors on the health of our region’s water bodies. The Great Bay NERR and the NH Chapter of The Nature Conservancy co-led a project to pull together the best available science, the perceptions and challenges related to buffer regulations, and economic and legal considerations related to protecting and restoring buffers around Great Bay. Steve Miller, Great Bay NERR Coastal Training Program Coordinator will present the BOB findings and resources, and we will have an opportunity to discuss how to use the findings and resources to advance buffers and improve water quality. This workshop will also focus on utilizing the BOB Community Assessment and how to use this social science data to develop and implement a buffer outreach program.


Explore and help maintain two New Hampshire living shoreline sites
Portsmouth, NH
Kirsten Howard, NH Coastal Program
Dave Burdick, UNH
Tom Ballestero, UNH
1 pm – 5 pm
Fee: $10

Living shoreline projects present new opportunities for habitat-friendly, adaptive approaches to shoreline stabilization. Participants will start by visiting a seawall structure where they will learn about the pros and cons associated with seawall structures. Participants will then visit two fringe salt marsh living shoreline projects in coastal New Hampshire’s Great Bay Estuary at Cutts Cove in Portsmouth and Wagon Hill Farm in Durham, NH. Cutts Cove was installed in 2017 and Wagon Hill Farm is planned for installation in spring 2019. At both sites, participants will learn about the project goals, design approaches, and adaptive management that have been employed at the sites, as well as public outreach and engagement conducted by the project teams. They will also have an opportunity to assist with site maintenance through an activity that will be determined based on site needs at that time—this could include plantings, watering, or other activities.

Tide Pooling: The Changing Rocky Shore
Rye, NH
Emma Carey, Seacoast Science Center
1:30 – 3 pm
Fee: $12

The diverse and dynamic rocky shore ecosystem is constantly seeking balance. Join us on a visit down into the rocky intertidal, where we will explore the tidal pools to better understand the ecology of this unique habitat. Biology, climate science, and citizen science on the rocky shore will be discussed.

Beach Profiling and Higgins beach tour
Scarborough, ME
Emily J. Greene, Wells Reserve and UNE
Steve Seabury, Volunteer beach profiler at Higgins Beach
1:30– 4:30pm
Fee: $10

In this trip, you will learn about this citizen science project and why it is important to engage volunteers of all ages. The information that we collect on the beach is crucial to the state of Maine and municipalities in making decision for the management of our beaches.


Gundalow Tour
Portsmouth, NH
Gretchen Carlson, Gundalow Company
6 pm – 8 pm
Fee: $30

Participants will sail along the Piscataqua River past forts, lighthouses, the Naval Shipyard and prison, and will learn about the cultural and natural history of the region. One of our crew/educators will do a 20-minute talk about the history of the region and how it relates to the health of the estuary. We will also open our exhibit up for participants 30 minutes prior to the sail for passengers to explore: “Changing Nature: 400 Years in the Piscataqua Region in the historic Sheafe Warehouse."

Field Trips, 13 June
Conference Sessions 14 June