2019 Beaches Conference Plenary 1 Long Descriptions

Taking Action Across the Coast

How is the newest science and awareness being used to help us plan and act for our climate and environment uncertainty? How are communities using local assets to adapt? What are small changes we could each make that could have an impact? Leaders from diverse fields including meteorology, local government, historical preservation, and fisheries will share new developments that could influence everything from how we prepare for future storms to the kinds seafood we order out. Their lightning talks and images will launch the conference and ignite conversations that will catch fire throughout the day’s sessions.

Chris Feurt

Vinalhaven Adaptation Planning

Located 12 miles from the shoreline in the Penobscot Bay, the Town of Vinalhaven has begun to seek an understanding of the risk for sea level rise and flooding scenarios and identifying solutions to adaptation.  As of April 2019, the town’s SLR committee has helped to oversee multiple grants for assessment and resiliency planning as well as the completion of Maine’s Flood Resiliency Checklist. Andrew will highlight this work and outline the town’s next steps in adaptation.

Andrew Dorr

Sea Level Rise and its Impacts on Cultural Resources

Strawbery Banke Museum has been preserving and teaching history at its 9 acre site for over 60 years overcoming many challenges along the way.  Now the museum is facing a new threat. Some of our historic homes built as early as 1695 are being damaged from surface and ground water (salt water). Find out the cause, adaptation strategies and what you can do to help!

Rodney Rowland

Reducing Plastic Consumption

Sustainable Seacoast believes that local awareness and action when compounded around the world will lead us to solutions to many of our problems. For our mission we focus that belief specifically toward single-use plastic and disposable items. Keith will introduce this philosophy, and provide examples of successes, to explore new, positive ways to affect larger change to make an impact on plastic waste in our world, while dire, is not hopeless.

Keith Tharp

Seal Rescue and Mortality

Protecting marine mammals along the NH and ME coast! Seals come to the beach to rest and soak up the sun. Yet, what happens when a seal is in distress and in need of rescue? The Seacoast Science Center is home to the Marine Mammal Rescue Team who respond to stranded marine mammals in NH and northern MA. Find out how the team responds to seals on the beach, and about current diseases and threats to our local population. Marine mammals are an indicator species for the health of our ocean so it’s important to conserve them and take action to protect our ocean.

Sarah Perez

Creating and Marketing a Green Crab Fishery

The invasive European green crab has had a devastating impact on Maine’s soft-shell clam industry, as well as on crucial eel grass and salt marsh habitat. Despite the presence of green crabs in the U.S. for over 200 years, we are still struggling to mitigate and adapt to their harmful impacts. However, many researchers, organizations, fishermen, seafood and culinary experts have been diligently working to find ways to benefit from these invasive pests through fisheries and markets. Gabriela will share successes and challenges in green crab fishery and market development, as well as future opportunities.

Gabriela Bradt

Back to the Beach with the Maine Law Court

Maine’s unique history and lengthy coastline create a complex environmental and legal shorescape.  The state’s common law recognizes private property interests that extend to the low watermark. But even when private owners hold title to the intertidal area, certain public rights, including fishing, fowling and navigation, are reserved by the state for the benefit of the public.  Over the course of the last thirty years, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court (also known as the Law Court) has issued a series of legal opinions about the scope and extent of public rights in the intertidal area.  The most recent case pitted coastal owners against seaweed harvesters to determine whether an increasingly valuable resource, Rockweed (Ascophylum nodosum), is part of a coastal landowner’s property or if it is a public resource held in trust by the state.  In Ross v. Acadian Seaplants,Ltd., the Law Court resolved a long simmering dispute ruling that the rockweed in the intertidal area belongs to the landowner. But the opinion also highlighted an ongoing debate as to how the public’s intertidal access rights might be interpreted more expansively in the future.  This presentation briefly recounts the issue and the reasoning in the rockweed dispute. It also touches on the Law Court’s concern regarding whether Maine’s Public Trust Doctrine merits revisit and revision.

John Duff