2022 Beaches Conference Program

The Beaches Conference logo - Our Maine and New Hampshire Beaches and Coast

Note: Beaches Conference PowerPoint presentations are available on request by emailing the Webmaster. Please be specific about which presentation(s) you are interested in, including the year in which the session occurred.


8:00 – 9:00 | Registration, workshops & multimedia viewing session


Trash to Art

Kim Bernard, artist

Join visiting artist Kim Bernard in a DIY recycling project and turn your trash into art. Participants will collect, clean, shred and extrude #2 plastic using plastic recycling machines to create a collaborative sculptural installation. Each participant will create a line drawing, which will be translated into a 3 dimensional form.

9:00 – 10:30 | Welcome & Morning Plenary

Opening remarks

Cory Riley, Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Plenary I: An inclusive future out of an inherited past

Robert Sanford, University of Southern Maine
Nathan D. Hamilton, University of Southern Maine
Denise Pouliot, The Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook Abenaki People
Paul Pouliot, The Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook Abenaki People
Meghan Howey, University of New Hampshire

Two stories will uncover the extraordinary history of seemingly ordinary people and places. But however extraordinary, they were erased from the Maine and NH coastal history. Both stories explore history through integrated, collaborative approaches that draw on science, archeology, and merging Indigenous, local and western knowledges.

We’ll hear the archaeologically-informed story of a mixed race African-American community c. 1860-1912 on Malaga Island, Maine where residents were forced to leave their homes and community. We will look at interactions between the people and their environment, how the descendants reclaimed their heritage, and lessons that can be applied to other coastal areas.
The Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook Abenaki People are concerned about coastal changes that threaten Indigenous sacred and historical sites. A coastal archeological site in Great Bay, NH is among these sites where evidence of indigenous and colonial co-existence and even friendship can be discovered in the sandy soil.

10:30 – 10 :45 | Transition to Concurrent Session 1

10:45 – 12:15 | Concurrent Session I

What’s in the water? An overview of water quality monitoring and assessment Initiatives for coastal ME and NH

Meagan Sims, Maine Department of Environmental Protection
Michele Condon, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
Steve Jones, University of New Hampshire
Brian Determan, Southern Maine Community College

Ever wonder what efforts are involved with ensuring the beaches you swim at are safe or the mussels you eat are healthy? In this session, you’ll hear from state agencies and members of the research community as they highlight initiatives to address threats to human and animal health due to impaired water quality. ME and NH beach monitoring program coordinators will give an overview of their monitoring programs, including how the public is notified when unsafe water quality may pose a risk to human health. Members of the research community will share their use of innovative tools to identify human health risks in New England’s coastal waters and ongoing work to better understand how human activities are impacting the commercially important blue mussel. This session is for those with an interest in water quality who want to learn more about ongoing programs and research initiatives in coastal New England.

The Maine & New Hampshire Volunteer Beach Profiling Programs

Cynthia Nye and Students, Loranger Memorial School
Linda Stathoplos, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve volunteer
John Lillibridge, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve volunteer
John Zarrella, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve volunteer
Wellsley Costello, New Hampshire Sea Grant
Alyson Eberhardt, New Hampshire Sea Grant
Rachel Morrison, New Hampshire Sea Grant
Larry Ward, University of New Hampshire
Christian Williams, University of New Hampshire
Pete Slovinsky, Maine Geological Survey
Stephen Dickson, Maine Geological Survey

This session will provide updates on shoreline change trends along Maine and New Hampshire Beaches. Hear from geologists, volunteers, teachers, students, and Extension staff about results of data analysis, approaches to data collection, and the motivations to do this work.

Fostering Action: empowering communities and youth to build resilience

Brandy Hardiman, UNH Marine Docents-Ocean Acidification Team
Nancy Archibald, UNH Marine Docents-Ocean Acidification Team
Kate Leavitt, Seacoast Science Center
Lisa Wise, New Hampshire Sea Grant
Lindsey Williams, New Hampshire Sea Grant
Diane DeVries, New Hampshire Sea Grant
Melissa Luetji, Kennebunk High School and The Climate Initiative
Leia Lowery, Kennebunk High School and The Climate Initiative
Student Presenters
, Kennebunk High School and The Climate Initiative

Addressing and responding to climate change take an all-hands-on deck approach. Join the speakers in this session to learn about ways they connect with students, professionals, and members of the community. Featured examples will include a Marine Docent approach to teaching the fundamentals of ocean acidification, the Seacoast Science Center’s new initiative to grow a network of citizen science partners that is community-driven and open to all, a new cohort-based immersion program, CoastWise, for students and professionals working on coastal resilience and marine resource management, and ways to engage local students in hands-on community-based mitigation and adaptation solutions from the Gulf of Maine Field Studies Class.

Preparing for Flooding: The Role of Citizen Science, Community Planning, and Insurance

Parker Gassett, Maine Sea Grant
Hannah Baranes, Gulf of Maine Research Institute
Sue Baker
, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry

Flooding can happen anywhere, anytime, so how can communities and the insurance industry prepare? This session will highlight how citizen science can be used to build community understanding of localized flooding; how climate preparedness can be integrated into routine community planning efforts; and how FEMA has taken a transformational leap forward to deliver more equitable flood insurance rates that better reflect a property’s flood risk.

Managing a Changing Coastline through Regulation, Mitigation, and Adaptation

Marybeth Richardson, Maine Department of Environmental Protection
Nathan Dill, Ransom Engineers
Scott Hayward, Ransom Engineers
Dean Lessard, Town of York, Maine
Pete Hanrahan, Hanrahan Environmental, LLC
Noah Slovin, SLR Consulting

This session will examine a wide range of approaches to creating resilient coastal communities, including regulating development and redevelopment, modifying existing coastal barriers, mitigating the erosive effects of artificial structures, and instituting community-scale adaptation approaches. Presentations will include an overview of Maine’s approach to regulating development in the coastal sand dune system; a case study of the Long Sands Beach seawall reconstruction in York, Maine according to those rules; an examination of Camp Ellis (Saco, Maine), its history and lessons learned; and ideas on how to keep our coastal communities thriving in the face of rising seas.

Utilizing traditional and local knowledge to advance climate resilience

Jessica Brunacini, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve
Denise Pouliot
, The Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook Abenaki People
Paul Pouliot, Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook Abenaki People
Cameron Wake, University of New Hampshire
Carrigan Cyr, Traip Academy
Kristen Grant, Maine Sea Grant and UMaine Cooperative Extension

The communities that are most vulnerable to climate change are typically excluded from actively participating within the resilience decision-making process. This session will feature four examples of how engagement and inclusion of these diverse community perspectives can help identify local impacts of climate change and find more creative and equitable strategies for advancing resilience while protecting the environment.

12:15 – 1:00 | Lunch & Workshops

12:15 – 2:00 | Field Trip

$10 additional fee charged

Protecting Strawbery Banke and Portsmouth from Sea-Level Rise

Rodney Rowland, Strawberry Banke Museum

Explore the sea-level rise impacts at the Strawberry Banke Museum and see progress being made to understand and mitigate these impacts. Leave with actions steps to help make a difference in protecting our history and our planet.

1:00 – 1:45 | Plenary II

Tracing fossil fuel companies’ contributions to ocean warming, acidification and sea level rise

Brenda Ekwurzel, Union of Concerned Scientists

Scientists know today that a significant percentage of warming, ocean acidification and the increase in global sea level rise can be traced to the emissions from products of 88 major fossil fuel producers and cement manufacturers. This presentation will explain how science is able to trace these changes to responsible parties, and the audience will learn where this science is being used by states and municipalities in courtrooms across the country to hold these companies accountable and to pay their fair share of the costs of climate impacts.

1:45 – 2:00 | Next Steps

Call to action

Cory Riley, Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

2:00 – 2:45 | Break, Workshop and Multimedia Session with refreshments

2:45 – 4:15 | Concurrent Session II

Dive in! Hands on activities to inspire coastal engagement

Kate Leavitt, Seacoast Science Center
Gabrielle Broderick, University of Maine
Kristen Thompson, University of Maine
Kelle Loughlin, Great Bay Discovery Center
Gabriela Bradt, University of New Hampshire
Emily Burke, University of New Hampshire
David Reidmiller

Here’s your chance to participate in a session that will get you out of your seat! Join educators, researchers, and outreach specialists sharing interactive activities on topics ranging from fisheries and green crabs to community resilience and teacher training. You’ll have a chance to rotate through three, 20-minute activities of your choosing. This session is ideal for anyone eager to gain new ideas and skills to engage in coastal science.

Innovative solutions for fisheries assessment and management

Josh Carloni, New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game
Christopher Peter,
Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Alison Watts, University of New Hampshire
Heather Ballestero
, Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Jeffrey Miller
, University of New Hampshire
Emily Farr
, The Maine Shellfish Co-management Initiative
Jessica Joyce, The Maine Shellfish Co-management Initiative
Gabrielle Hillyer, The Maine Shellfish Co-management Initiative
Paloma Henriques, University of Maine

This session will feature creative solutions for more sustainably and equitably managing our fisheries. For example, we’ll hear about the Local Catch Network, which provides certifications for small scale fisheries in Alaska, and the Maine Shellfish Co-management Initiative, which is improving coordination across Maine’s wild clam and mussel fisheries.

Courting Opinions: Ownership, Access, and Use of the Maine Coast

Denise Pouliot, The Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook Abenaki People
Amy Tchao, Drummond Woodsum
Gordon Smith, Verrill Dana
Ben Ford, Archipelago

While the legal opinions of the judicial branch of state government can be difficult to interpret and at times confusing to understand, they have an impact on the everyday lives of residents, visitors, and landowners of the Maine coast. This session seeks to shed light on two Maine Supreme Judicial Court decisions that influenced what is a permissible use in the intertidal zone and who owns a stretch of beautiful shoreline in a York County town. It further presents an indigenous perspective on land stewardship v. ownership, as well as the latest challenge to past Supreme Court decisions about who actually owns the land between the tides in Maine. The goal of this session is to increase public awareness and understanding of complex legal issues and the court decisions that govern our lives along the coast of Maine.

Planting Native Species at the Coast and Tracking the Spread of Marine Invasives

Tracy Degan, Rockingham County Conservation District
Sue Schaller, Bar Mills Ecological
Judy Preston, Connecticut Sea Grant
Jeremy Miller, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve

This session will introduce case studies and tips for managing invasive species and adapting to coastline changes with climate-resilient and habitat-enhancing native species to improve biodiversity in coastal settings. The session will also present findings from more than a decade of survey data on marine invasive species at a number of long-term sampling sites located along about 91 kilometers of the Maine coast, and will demonstrate how useful volunteer monitoring data can be for efficiently detecting and tracking marine invasions in coastal systems.

Shaping coastal policy through the use of multi-community collaboration, innovative tools, and available data

Sara Mills-Knapp, Greater Portland Council of Governments
Madeline Tripp, Tidal Bay Consulting
Lynn Vaccaro, Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Jay Diener, Seabrook-Hamptons Estuary Alliance
Laura Diemer, FB Environmental Associates
Abbie Sherwin, Southern Maine Planning & Development Commission

Establishing coastal policies to address current and future challenges is a critical task that can be difficult due to required political coordination and a lack of information. In this session, presenters will showcase ongoing efforts to develop a multi-community estuary management plan, new planning tools for advancing resilience, and applicable data on intertidal systems and saltmarshes that can be used to inform decision-making. This session is designed for coastal stakeholders and decision-makers who want to learn more about the resources and approaches currently available to shape coastal planning and policy.

Marine Debris – Local Data, Impacts, and Solutions

Jen Kennedy, Blue Ocean Society
Danielle Kamberalis, Blue Ocean Society
Gabriela Bradt, New Hampshire Sea Grant
Nikki Tenaglia, Blue Ocean Society Program Assistant
The Blue Ocean Society Volunteer Network
Kim Bernard, Artist

This session will discuss the latest volunteer collected data regarding marine debris both big and small. Join us to discuss the local marine debris prevalence, potential solutions, and how you can get involved.

4:15 – 6:00 | Coastal Social at Berwick Academy