2017 Beaches Conference Program
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.
Plenary I: Shedding Light on the Past and Present to Better Manage Our Future
Moderator: Nathan Robbins, Maine Department of Environmental Protection
Observable changes and resulting trends in our region’s climate affect our natural systems, built environment, and in turn, our coastal and inland communities. Researchers and citizen science volunteers are busy identifying, observing and studying the changes that are occurring to help reveal historical trends, current conditions, and determine likely future scenarios. Establishing and continually updating this baseline of information is essential for informing and supporting sustainably minded decisions as we plan for, and adapt to, future environmental conditions. This session will shed light on: current monitoring efforts in our natural, built and cultural resources; how these efforts are informing a cause for adaptation; and, the planning, management, regulatory and policy decisions that are taking place. This plenary is aptly named, “shedding light on the past, and present, to better manage our future.”
State of the Beaches: Highlights of monitoring programs in Maine and New Hampshire (Presentation available)
Peter Slovinsky, Maine Geological Survey, Dept. of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and Larry Ward, University of New Hampshire
This presentation will include quick highlights of beach conditions from monitoring programs in both Maine and New Hampshire. For Maine, monitoring includes data collected by the State of Maine Beach Profiling Program (SMBPP) and the Maine Beach Mapping Program (MBMAP). Full results from these programs are summarized in the State of Maine’s Beaches report, which is released every 2 years in conjunction with the Beaches Conference. The presentation will also include an overview of the newly formed New Hampshire Volunteer Beach Monitoring Program and will showcase initial monitoring results
Lost to the Sea: Maine’s Ancient Cultural and Environmental History (Presentation available)
Alice R. Kelley, University of Maine
Maine’s coast hosts over 2,000 shell middens. These remnants of Native American occupations are composed of clam and oyster shells combined with archaeological artifacts and animal, bird and fish bones. First dismissed as “garbage dumps”, these features represent a rich archive of the last 4,000 years of indigenous lifeways and coastal ecosystem structure prior to European contact. The Glidden Midden, in Damariscotta, is the largest such feature north of Florida, and is only one of a group of associated, nearby middens. Virtually all of these deposits are eroding in the face of sea-level rise, and some have disappeared within the last decade. As they vanish, an irreplaceable cultural and environmental record is lost to the sea. Archaeological evaluation and rescue of all of these sites is impossible due to the sheer numbers and time required for this exacting work. This presentation summarizes the work of our current Sea Grant funded project to address the loss of these valuable cultural resources. We seek to develop geophysical and spatial analysis techniques to rapidly characterize the size and archaeological and paleo environmental potential of eroding sites and begin to develop a policy for the monitoring and rescue of these vital resources.
Key Considerations in Determining the Beach Action Value (Bacteria Count) for Water Quality Monitoring (Presentation available)
Keri Kaczor, UMaine Extension/Sea Grant; Maine Healthy Beaches
The Maine Healthy Beaches (MHB) Program is the state’s only unified, quality-assured structure for monitoring water quality and protecting public health on valued coastal beaches. Recently, US EPA released new Beach Guidance requiring states to adopt a lower beach action value (BAV), the bacteria level at which beaches are posted under a contamination advisory, or provide justification for an alternative. Given the impact on public health, local economies largely based on tourism, public perceptions, and limited program resources, MHB engaged diverse partners in the BAV selection process, including convening a technical advisory committee. To better understand the impacts of changing the BAV, MHB researched the limitations of assessment tools and public health data and analyzed 10 years of routine beach data (2006-2015). Key considerations of the BAV selection process and the outcome will be shared. An update on NH’s beach action value will also be shared. The audience will learn about the state of the science, predominant pollution sources, problematic vs. clean beaches, actions to improve water quality, policy changes, and expected impacts.
Resources for Climate Change Adaptation Planning (Presentation available)
William DeLong, US Department of Homeland Security – Office for Infrastructure Protection
This talk will share the results of the Maine Climate Change Adaptation Regional Resiliency Assessment Project (RRAP) that examined the threats to critical infrastructure in the Casco Bay watershed from climate change. Also presented will be the resulting regional downscaled climate data, regional intensity duration frequency (IDF) curves, and storm surge modeling completed in support of the RRAP, all of which is publicly available. These are all valuable sources of data, available for use in climate change adaptation planning.
Old laws & new realities: the balance of interests along Maine and New Hampshire’s coastlines (Presentation available)
John Duff, University of Massachusetts Boston
Different states employ different legal principles to issues of ownership and management of coastal areas. The legal histories and bodies of law in Maine and New Hampshire provide one of the starkest examples of how the legal regimes regarding the balance between private and public interests in coastal areas have emerged and evolved since the seventeenth century. This presentation provides an overview of relevant differences and highlights the implications on whether and how the public’s interests along the shoreline are reconciled with private interests in the area.
Flood Zone Mapping – Roles and Resources for Stakeholders (Presentation available)
Jim Nadeau, Nadeau Land Surveying
With recent policy reforms affecting flood insurance rates, more public attention has been brought to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), flood zone mapping and determinations, as well as the impact that flood insurance has on property values and development potential, leaving many people unsure about the value of their biggest investment – their homes. Involved in these investments, are a diversity of stakeholders – from homeowners, to real estate professionals, land use consultants, lenders, insurance agents, and community officials. Each has a role they play in increasing public safety through adoption of regulations that protect people and properties from flood damage, but sometimes the best solutions are not offered because of lack of knowledge about the NFIP and the ways each stakeholder can help. The presentation will identify situations that cause confusion and create misconceptions due to disconnects among stakeholders. The expected outcome is that students will learn how to effectively approach flood issues for themselves or their clients, by knowing where to look for more information.
Capturing the Coastline with Technology
Marshes and Beaches and Drones – Oh My! Integration of UAS Technology into the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (Presentation available)
Susan Bickford, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve
The National Estuarine Research Reserve System (part of NOAA) is testing the ability of small Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) to collect high resolution multi-spectral imagery and lidar elevation in three sites around the country. The project is assessing the positional accuracy attainable by the PrecisionHawk UAS system and the applicability of the data for use within the NERRS and beyond. By collecting data on test plots in three different NERRs, we are examining the advantages of using a UAS across ecosystems, varying from relatively simple dunes to complex estuarine salt marshes. The more complex site will be overflown in two different seasons to test the multi-season enhancement for habitat mapping and the replicability of the LIDAR data.
Drones as Tools for Coastal Planning Management and Stakeholder Engagement (Presentation available)
Jon Budreski, Air Shark
Drones (UAVs) are incredibly useful tools to help augment data collection for coastal projects. Using photogrammetry, elevation models can be created to ascertain storm and restoration impacts. Oblique photos, videos and now even LiDAR and NDVI sensors are being incorporated on UAS for coastal managers and stakeholders. AirShark has completed several coastal projects on Cape Cod and will showcase some of these missions, lessons learned, and speak about evolving regulatory environment for commercial drone use today.
Monitoring Coastal Erosion via Drone (Presentation available)
Rick Harbison, Greater Portland Council of Governments
In the past year, the Greater Portland Council of Governments (GPCOG) has been experimenting with the use of a drone to provide high quality aerial images and videos to our projects. In the summer of 2016 GPCOG teamed up with Maine Geological Survey to use the drone to capture aerial images of coastal bluff erosion at various sites in Casco Bay, as well as to create a large orthoimage (stitched from 900+ individual images) of Pine Point, Ferry and Western Beaches in Scarborough to aid MGS in its efforts to study the impacts of beach nourishment in this area. Rick Harbison will discuss what’s involved to operate the drone safely and effectively, and its many potential uses.
Making Waves: Engaging Communities of Learners in Marine Education
Discovering the World of Aquaculture with K-5 Students (Presentation available)
Laurie Bragg, Maine EPSCoR and Sarah Sparks, 4-H Science Professional
ME EPSCoR and UMaine Cooperative Extension has created new aquaculture curriculum activities designed for K-5. The lessons are based on university level research currently being conducted by the Maine EPSCoR SEANET project. This curriculum connects elementary students with science research and career exploration. All lessons are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards and based in the foundational premise of the NRC Framework, which includes opportunities for learners to develop the ability to engage in science discourse, and connect learning to their everyday worlds.
Making Waves Across the Region (Presentation available)
Jen Kennedy, Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation
Successful management of coastal habitats comes from a combination of strategic research and an engaged and informed public. Successful outreach and education is vital in order to bring audiences across this spectrum together to make progress. The Gulf of Maine Marine Education Association is an organization that can assist with outreach and networking among coastal organizations. This facilitated group discussion will explore pros and cons of various outreach strategies, including examining the impact of community-level organizations, the various messaging being offered by local organizations, and whether we’re duplicating efforts. We will also discuss tools for information sharing that participants find most useful, and events that would be effective at increasing coastal collaborations and learning opportunities.
Clam Class – Teaching 4th-6th Graders About Marine Ecosystems and Fisheries (Presentation available)
Ruth Indrick, Kennebec Estuary Land Trust
This presentation will share curriculum KELT developed that focuses on soft-shell clams, Maine marine ecosystems, fisheries, and aquaculture. The materials are appropriate for 4th-6th grade students. KELT developed this curriculum as a part of Manomet’s Maine Soft-shell Clam Aquaculture Project. Handouts of the curriculum will be available for participants who are interested in sharing it with youth in their own communities.
Long-term Environmental and Biological Monitoring: How the Wells NERR Collects Long-term Data Sets to Understand Changes in Our Coastal Environments
Jeremy Miller, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve
Conference attendees will be introduced to the many continuous, long-term monitoring activities being conducted in the area (Wells Harbor). The presentation will cover both abiotic and biotic monitoring programs and will include an overview of our long term water quality, water level, and weather monitoring with the SWMP program, Invasive species monitoring with the MIMIC program, and our larval fish monitoring program. Attendees will get hands on experience in identifying marine invasive species, using water quality monitoring devices, etc.
Beach Water Quality Monitoring
Keri Kaczor, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Meagan Sims, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Participants will learn about the Maine Healthy Beaches Program, the typical sources of contamination impacting coastal beach water quality, and how to collect water samples and other field parameters using quality assured methods.
A Brief Geologic History of the Sands Along Southern Maine’s Beaches: Strawberry Island, Kennebunk (Presentation available)
Jon Dykstra, Retired Geologist, Former VP of Research & Development, MDA Information Services
The intent is to educate folks on the geologic origin of our local beaches. The excellent bedrock exposures on Strawberry Island will help illustrate the erosional force of the glaciers that covered the Maine coast some 15,000 years ago. With a series of diagrams and the actual surroundings, we will attempt to demonstrate the wave-generated sorting processes that turned the old glacial till into our sandy beaches. We will have samples of beach sand from several of our area beaches to demonstrate the variety of grain sizes and compositions. If time permits we may also visit the bedrock exposures along the north end of the Mother’s Beach that beautifully display the tectonics associated with the opening of the present day Atlantic Ocean.
Sounds Worth Saving: Using Soundscape Ecology for Coastal Habitat Management at Wells Reserve (Presentation available)
Susan Bickford, Wells Reserve
Soundscapes are dynamic parts of ecological systems. Soundscape Ecology studies how the complete sounds of an ecological system- both man-made and natural- affect the living organisms within that system. The Wells Reserve is using sound recording devices to record baseline acoustic signatures for a variety of coastal habitats and has set up a multi-year study in an early successional forest. These recordings will help determine biodiversity within habitats and help record changes in species use as coastal habitats respond to the changing environment.
Mapping your own love of place: making personal maps of coastlines and beaches (Presentation available)
Molly Holmberg Brown, MollyMaps
With most of our map use now streamlined and digitized, made for expedient navigation, we have few visuals that celebrate meaningful places with lasting orientation. This workshop explores personal map-making as a meditation on the value of our connection to specific places in our lives. Participants will be hand-held through a series of steps to create a small, exquisite watercolor map (a “mappette”) which can then be shared and combined with others’ to create a mosaic of personal love of place. This process can be directly applied to the mission of land trusts and place-based organizations as a way to 1) involve the public in fun, engaging activities about your landscape, 2) gather data on the most meaningful sites of your land area, and 3) create tangible, beautiful visualizations of the places that people love most in your land/park/region that can then be used for social media, fundraising, posters, calendars, etc.
Tools to be Equipped for Change: from Raising Awareness to Adaptation Practices – a training introducing the Maine Adaptation Toolkit, Flood Resilience Checklist, & C-RISE, (Community Resilience Informed by Science Experience) (Presentation available)
Gayle Bowness, Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Nathan Robbins, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Abbie Sherwin, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
The impacts of climate change are becoming increasingly visible in our state and across the nation. Business owners, home owners, public officials, utility operators, resource managers, consultants and others are asking and being asked questions about what we can do and what our communities are doing to prepare for climate resiliency. Ensuring the region’s resiliency to climate impacts requires an informed and engaged public, now and in the future. Awareness is only the first step towards developing a climate adaptation plan. Join us to experience GMRI’s sea level rise community outreach program, C-RISE (Community Resilience Informed by Science and Experience), Maine Coastal Program’s Flood Resilience Checklist, and explore options for adaptation using the resources available through Maine’s Adaptation Toolkit. Leave with skills to examine climate data through a community lens and the knowledge to locate local adaptation information and options to help further the resilience of your community.
Breakout Sessions I
Session 1 Planning for Action: Creating Climate-Resilient Communities
Communicating for Engagement (Presentation available)
Christa Daniels, Antioch University New England and Climate Access
There is broad scientific consensus that climate change is occurring and is anthropogenic. However, there is limited implementation of climate adaptation to help create resilient local communities. Municipalities have access to a wide range of resources that can help them become more resilient to climate impacts. However, even with this information, communities still face significant barriers bridging the gap from planning to action. In fact, the US Third National Climate Assessment lists implementation as the number one significant gap in the success of adaptation. In order to overcome many of these barriers at the local level, civic engagement is needed to support municipal action on implementing their climate mitigation and adaptation goals. Visual communication, along with a participatory process, has been shown to increase risk perception and efficacy to prompt community members to engage in climate change processes at the local level. This session will provide guidance on how to effectively engage the general public in order to build the political will and public support needed for implementation. Lessons learned from a 3D visualization project in Marin County and San Mateo County California will be discussed for application in New Hampshire and Maine. The interactive presentation will cover:
- Basic principles on crafting an effective engagement strategy;
- Utilizing visualization to increase urgency and motivation to engage in a public planning process;
- How to communicate effectively to your audience based on lessons learned from the recent elections; and
- Best practices for dialogue and crafting stories to connect with new targeted audiences
The New Hampshire Coastal Adaptation Workgroup: effective collaboration for coastal adaptation (Presentation available)
Steve Miller, Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Cameron Wake, University of New Hampshire
Rising seas are expected to have significant impacts on infrastructure and natural and cultural resources on New Hampshire’s 18 mile open-ocean coastline and 235 miles of tidal shoreline. However, most coastal municipalities in NH lack financial and human resources to even assess vulnerability, let alone plan for climate change. This gap has been filled since 2010 by the NH Coastal Adaptation Workgroup (CAW), composed of 21 regional, state, and federal agencies, businesses, municipalities, academics, and NGOs that bring together stakeholders to discuss climate change challenges and collaboratively develop and implement effective coastal adaptation strategies. Our grassroots efforts serve to nurture existing and build new relationships, disseminate coastal watershed climate assessments, and tap into state, federal, and foundation funds for specific coastal adaptation projects. CAW has achieved collective impact by connecting federal and state resources to communities by raising money and facilitating projects, translating climate science, educating community members, providing direct technical assistance and general capacity, and sharing success stories and lessons learned. NHCAW represents an interesting model about how to institutionalize collaboration for coastal adaptation. This presentation will describe NHCAW, its history, successes, and how NHCAW’s institutional design drives successful collaboration around climate adaptation planning.
What Do Adaptation Community Champions Need from Technical Assistance Providers? (Presentation available)
Julia Peterson, NH Sea Grant and UNH Cooperative Extension, Ally Phillip, New England Grassroots Foundation
What Do Northern New England’s Local Climate Adaptation Champions Want Technical Assistance Providers to Know? In many cases throughout the country, local coastal communities are leading the way in preparing for a changing climate. Individuals within these communities, often supported by technical assistance providers, are raising awareness and taking action locally. This session will share the findings from a study, conducted in the summer of 2014, which looked at the role and needs of coastal community climate adaptation champions in northern Massachusetts, seacoast New Hampshire and southern Maine. The findings and a set of recommendations provide important information for community leaders, municipal officials and professionals who work with local decision makers on climate adaptation. Participants will learn what interviewees said about:
- the climate impacts champions are most concerned about
- what they are doing to help their communities
- the assistance that is most helpful to them
- the barriers to adaptation for their communities
- what else they need from technical assistance providers.
Session 2 Coastal and Marine Wildlife
Marine Mammal Rescue and Response (Presentation available)
Ashley Stokes, Seacoast Science Center Marine Mammal Rescue Team
This presentation would be about the Seacoast Science Center’s Marine Mammal Rescue Team; New Hampshire. It will incorporate what the marine mammal rescue team is responsible for, the chain of events for live and dead marine mammals on the beaches, statistics, and commonly seen species in the area.
Racing the Tide: Nesting Ecology and Conservation of Maine’s Tidal Marsh Birds
Bri Benvenuti, Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge
Maine’s coastal marshes are home to a community of birds that are uniquely adapted to living in this dynamic environment. Many of these species build nests on the marsh surface, making them highly susceptible to tidal flooding. Rising sea levels and climate change add an additional threat to the persistence of tidal marsh birds throughout the Northeast as storm frequency and flooding duration increases. One species most vulnerable to these changes is the Saltmarsh Sparrow, a specialist species that is currently experiencing dramatic population declines. Join us as we discuss the conservation of tidal marsh birds in Maine, and how we can protect these unique species and their habitat.
Landscaping for Humans & Wildlife at the Coastal Edge (Presentation available in three parts)
Sue Schaller, Bar Mills Ecological
Many small actions combine to create cumulative impacts on wildlife habitat and natural resources. Whether you fill a wet corner of your yard, make a hobby of perfecting your lawn, or install a landscape with all the showiest and brightest choices any nursery can offer, every action affects wildlife habitat. On shore front properties, your choices also affect protection of your property during winter storms. In this session, we will offer yardscaping options that also support butterflies, salamanders, dragonflies, pollinators, snowy owls, nesting birds, wildlife movement corridors, vernal pools, drinking water, shellfish flats and the water quality where you swim. Advance planning can provide a beautiful landscape based in native plants that supports wildlife through the seasons. Small buffers can protect vernal pools, water quality, and allow safe travel for wildlife. Healthy dunes reduce storm damage — while supporting monarch butterflies and nesting wildlife. Trap-neuter-rehoming programs for feral cats protect wildlife, add a buffer against rabies, and provide rodent control to barns and working farms.
Session 3 Shoreline Change and Living Shorelines
A Vision for Smart Shorelines in the N.H. Seacoast (Presentation available)
Kirsten Howard, New Hampshire Coastal Program
In this presentation, I would like to share the emerging resilient shoreline vision and strategy of the NH Coastal Program. The vision and strategy focus on utilizing soft shoreline protection solutions that mimic natural processes—called living shorelines—as one mechanism to ensure property and habitats are resilient to accelerating sea-level rise and intensifying storm surge. I would begin the presentation by describing data related to hardened shoreline protection structures along NH’s tidal waters, collected in a 2015 shoreline inventory effort. I would then describe the concept of living shoreline management as an alternative to hardened protection structures, such as rip rap and seawalls. I would explain some ongoing efforts by the NH Coastal Program and its partners to better understand and develop guidance about the options for living shorelines in the Northeast, focused specifically on low to medium energy salt marsh environments. To demonstrate the living shoreline approach, I would share details about a pilot project that the NH Coastal Program is helping coordinate at Wagon Hill Farm in Durham, New Hampshire. I would end the presentation with a discussion of the next steps to advance resilient shorelines, including development of a living shoreline site suitability inventory.
Advancing Coastal Resilience: An Institutional Analysis of Living Shorelines in New Hampshire (Presentation available)
Trevor Mattera, University of New Hampshire
Despite their economic and ecological value, national attention to shorelines has been largely reactionary, neglecting proactive efforts to protect coastal areas and communities. Additionally, evidence suggests many current approaches to coastal protection, such as the use of grey infrastructure, harm coastal habitats and limit opportunities for climate adaptation. In contrast, living shorelines protect coastlines and prevent erosion, while also maintaining natural, ecological processes. However, significant barriers impede broad implementation of living shorelines along New England’s coastline. This presentation features research analyzing the current institutional framework for implementing living shorelines in New Hampshire (NH), identifying specific institutional barriers, as well as opportunities for addressing them. Results are based on interviews with key stakeholders – state regulators, town and regional planning agencies, developers, etc. – case studies of two living shoreline projects in NH, and document analysis. Preliminary findings indicate multiple institutional barriers, including insufficient technical knowledge and familiarity, and a regulatory framework that disincentivizes implementation. Analysis of this study will be completed over the spring of 2017. Lessons learned from this research will be of interest to other New England coastal communities trying to facilitate living shoreline implementation due to an understanding of potentially shared barriers and options to overcome them.
Dealing with Coastal Erosion Through a Spectrum of Control Methods (Presentation available)
Greg Berman, Woods Hole Sea Grant and Cape Cod Cooperative Extension
Discussion of current trends and developments in managing erosion on coastal beaches, dunes, and banks. General overview of “soft” vs “hard” shoreline stabilization and how they interact with the coastal resource areas. Talk about appropriate stabilization methods for beaches and dunes, then move into how “soft” alternatives can really at best slow erosion…not stop it, and the need to include retreat and maintenance plans with all methods, including “soft” methods.
Session 4 Flood Insurance and the Community Rating System
Overview of the National Flood Insurance Program (Presentation available)
Sue Baker, Maine Floodplain Management Program
Navigating the National Flood Insurance Program: An update for coastal property owners. An overview of the building regulations and flood insurance requirements for property owners mapped in the special flood hazard area.
FEMA Community Rating System and Coastal Georgia (Presentation available)
Madeleine Russell, Georgia Sea Grant
Using the NFIP Community Rating System to reduce flood insurance rates for coastal residents, we have been able to coordinate our floodplain managers into a working Users Group. Our group has lowered the ratings for all its participants, encouraged developing a unified coastal flood ordinance, shared resources and outreach materials. This success is easily transferred and translated, so I will talk about what is working and how the same principles can be implemented in your communities.
The Community Rating System in Coastal New England: Regional Approaches and Lessons Learned (Presentation available)
Abbie Sherwin, Maine Coastal Program, Julie LaBranche, Rockingham Planning Commission, Shannon Jarbeau, Cape Cod Cooperative Extension
Rising flood insurance premiums and worsening coastal flood hazards pose financial burdens and management challenges for property owners and public officials. From ME to Cape Cod, efforts are underway to help coastal communities reduce flood insurance costs and increase resiliency through the Community Rating System, a voluntary program that encourages and rewards community actions that exceed the minimum floodplain management requirements. Learn about the CRS program, what regional and state staff in NH, ME, and MA are doing to facilitate CRS participation, lessons learned from each state’s approach, and how CRS can be better utilized as a tool for communities to enhance their resilience to coastal flood hazards.
Session 5 Maine and New Hampshire Legislation
Protecting Maine’s Beaches for the Future: 2017 Report Update (Presentation available)
Bob Marvinney, Maine Geological Survey, Dept. of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Tina Zabierek, Maine Department of Environmental Protection
This report was legislatively directed to update to the similarly titled 2006 report. This report revisits the data and actions taken on the recommendations from the 2006 report, and reflects the views, opinions and recommendations of the integrated Bach Management Program (IBMP) working group established to review the 2006 report. This presentation will be a brief overview of the recommendations of the work group to the Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Legislative committee and a panel question and answer session, if time allows.
Preparing NH for Projected Storm Surge, Sea Level Rise, and Extreme Precipitation: A Summary of the New Hampshire Coastal Risk and Hazards Commission Report and Ongoing Implementation Initiatives (Presentation available)
Nathalie Morison, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, Coastal Program
This presentation will provide an overview of the New Hampshire Coastal Risk and Hazards Commission’s (CRHC) recently released (November 2016) final report entitled, Preparing New Hampshire for Projected Storm Surge, Sea-Level Rise, and Extreme Precipitation, The Report summarizes New Hampshire’s vulnerabilities to projected coastal flood risk with 35 recommendations and associated actions. As a first next step, the New Hampshire Coastal Program and partners have secured NOAA Project of Special Merit funding to support state and municipal implementation of the CRHC report and recommendations through outreach and technical assistance. Additionally, two pieces of implementing legislation (SB 374 and SB 452) were enacted just prior to the CRHC’s sunset in 2016, directing select state agencies to act on several CRHC recommendations.
Session 6 New Topics in Coastal Law and Policy: Access, Ownership, and Marine Plants
Can you get to the beach? The latest word from Maine courts on public beach access rights and how some communities have responded (Presentation available)
Amy Tchao, Drummond Woodsum Law Firm
This presentation will examine the state of the law governing public access vs. private property rights and responsibilities with respect to beaches, as well as the impact that recent court decisions have had on parties reaching partnerships or agreements for beach access. The first part of the presentation will be an update on the state of the law on public prescriptive easements, the public trust doctrine and other legal theories on beach ownership and/or use rights. Since the Law Court’s reconsidered decision in 2014 in Almeder v. Town of Kennebunkport, private beachfront owners and the Town have gone back to trial to determine who has legal title to the dry and wet sand portions of Goose Rocks Beach. A Superior Court decision in this phase of the litigation is expected in the spring of 2017, and the Court may raise points important to public beach access in its decision. I will also discuss other important court decisions that have come down since the Almeder case, including the 2016 Cedar Beach decision out of Harpswell, Maine. The second part of the presentation will be a discussion of alternatives to beach-rights litigation for securing lasting public beach access through partnerships among municipalities, other entities, beach users and private landowners. Here, I will discuss the experience of the towns of Kennebunkport and Harpswell, both towns which I represented in negotiating beach use/access agreements with property owners and other stakeholders. The audience would receive an update on the law involving beach rights and would also hear about the experience of two different Maine coastal towns in negotiating agreements with landowners for public beach access/use.
Seaweed and the Shore — Pending Lawsuits Before Maine Courts (Presentation available)
Ben Leoni, Curtis Thaxter Law Firm
Since colonial times, New Englanders have been harvesting seaweed from the shore for fertilizer, animal feed, and sustenance. A new lawsuit currently pending before the Maine Supreme Court will settle, for the first time, whether this activity is “legal” or not. In other words: who owns the seaweed growing on or washed up on the shore in Maine and who, if anyone, has the right to harvest it? This case, Ross et al. v. Acadian Seaplants, is only the most recent lawsuit to explore and interpret the limits of Maine’s rule providing the public the right to use the intertidal zone for “fishing, fowling, and navigation.” More importantly, this decision could seriously impact the growing seaweed harvesting industry in Maine. Join attorney Ben Leoni in exploring the legal underpinnings of the lawsuit and how it could impact commercial, public and private use of the intertidal zone.”
Plenary II: Listening for A Change: Stories of Our Responses to Sea Level Rise
This session will explore the range of individual perspectives on responding to sea level rise. These perspectives are in part, a result of the speakers’ experiences which are uniquely their own. Robert Almeder shares his experience as a Professor of Philosophy and Epistemology questioning the nature of knowledge, belief, and opinion. Julie Clark Boak uses her experience as a playwright to chronicle her struggle to address sea level rise at her coastal home on Long Island. And Cameron Wake reflects on lessons learned from serving on the NH Coastal Risks and Hazards Commission. It is the intent of this session to take the time to listen to the stories of these experiences. We hope that this opportunity to actively, and respectfully listen will provide an opportunity for civil dialogue and help conference participants to better understand the speakers’ perspectives, although not necessarily agree with those perspectives.
Notice to Mariners — On Navigating a Shore. (Presentation available)
Julie Clark Boak, Salmagundi Productions
Excerpts from a work-in-progress
Breakout Sessions II
Session 1 Community and Infrastructure Assessments
Understanding the Full Spectrum of Future Coastal Flood Risk on Maine’s Coast
Nate Dill, Ransom Consulting
We are conducting studies to assess the vulnerability of coastal flooding due to storm surge and sea level rise at critical locations on the islands of Islesboro and Vinalhaven. Both of these communities received grants from the Maine Coastal Program to conduct risk assessments to help the communities increase their resiliency and plan for adaptation. We have created an ADCIRC model of Penobscot Bay which utilizes a subset of the Army Corps of Engineers’ North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study (NACCS) data to determine a water levels for various storm return periods. We are integrating a probabilistic distribution of sea level rise to give a better understanding of total risk to community members. These studies are examples of how the NACCS data can be used in local settings to get an in-depth assessment of vulnerability at specific locations.
Development and Utilization of a Decision Support Tool for Culvert Prioritization (Presentation available)
Tom Reinauer, Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission, Jake Aman, Wells Reserve
In 2015 SMPD developed a tool to rate culverts and roads in order to determine the level of importance for reconstruction and bringing culverts up to the appropriate sizes to handle storms of today. This tool brings in to light a number of factors including the need to be considered include evacuation routes emergency access during storm events and access upstream for habitat to thrive.
Assessing Tidal Crossings for Coastal Resilience (Presentation available)
Pete Steckler, The Nature Conservancy, New Hampshire
Over the past year and a half, a group of partners in New Hampshire have worked to develop a tidal crossing assessment protocol to identify and prioritize for replacement road crossings that are tidal restrictions, barriers to aquatic organism passage and saltmarsh migration, and that are at risk from storm events and sea level rise. The protocol will be finalized in June, 2017.
Session 2 Swim, Surf, Steward: Engaging beachgoers to inform ecosystem management
Beachgoers of Maine: Who are they and what do they think about water quality? (Presentation available)
Ross Anthony, University of Maine, Charles Colgan, Center for the Blue Economy
Maine and New Hampshire beaches are valuable natural assets for visitors and residents alike. However, changes to our water quality present potential alterations in beachgoing habits in our states, for example changes in water quality. There is a clear risk associated with entering the water of a beach under an advisory or closure; poor water quality on coastal beaches has been known to be a conductor of various illnesses, including gastrointestinal diseases (Wade et al., 2008) (Dorevitch et al., 2012) and epidemiological conditions (Fleisher & Kay, 2006) (Prüss, 1997). The goal of this presentation is to provide key insights about beachgoers’ current behaviors, attitudes and information sources in learning about and making choices about beach selection and water quality. This work respects the needs of coastal stakeholders to continue learning about the needs and values of Maine and New Hampshire beachgoers. Further, insight about the beach going public improves our ability to communicate about changes to our beaches, including safety information particularly as we adapt to future water quality conditions. We use data collected by the New England Sustainability Consortium’s Safe Beaches & Shellfish Project. An intercept survey of beachgoers was conducted from 2014-2016 covering most of the beaches in southern Maine and New Hampshire (n=5,000) and a survey of coastal residents that was conducted in 2015 (n=600). Responses from these two unique data sources provide key extensions regarding people’s preferences and behavior surrounding beaches including choices under advisory/closure conditions. We will examine factors impacting beach selection, common “myths” surrounding water quality, reported illnesses from coastal waters, awareness of coastal beach advisories and respondents’ source of information to improve our understanding of risk perception associated with beaches under advisories/closures.
Pre-Contact Fish Weirs in Southern Maine? (Presentation available)
Tim Spahr, Cape Porpoise Archaeological Partnership
Cape Porpoise Harbor holds important archaeological information. Preliminary evidence indicates that these islands were populated by Native Americans and some of the first Europeans to arrive in northern New England. Global sea level rise, however, is increasing at a rate of 0.14 inches per year. Although small in proportion, this gradual increase equates to higher tides and greater storm surges jeopardizing the existence of these islands and thus the Historic and Prehistoric evidence they hold. This research is the work of Cape Porpoise Archaeological Partnership; an alliance of the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust and the Brick Store Museum. The focus of CPAP (Sea-Pap) is the archaeological analysis of Cape Porpoise Harbor and its nine islands. Archaeological research conducted by CPAP is funded by grants from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission and the Rust Family Foundation.
Surfing the wave of sustainability science (Presentation available)
Sophia Scott, Plymouth State University, Shannon Rogers, Plymouth State University
Surfers represent a culturally and economically important subpopulation of beachgoers who are subject to higher risks associated with impaired water quality. In our research we surveyed almost 300 surfers and conducted 20 interviews with key informants in the surfing community. Though we approached our research from the angle of water quality risk and decision-making, the major theme that emerged from our interviews is that surfers in ME and NH hold a wealth of local ecological knowledge (LEK) especially around issues of water quality. LEK has been heralded as an important knowledge source in the realm of sustainability science and has proven to be useful in coastal management. Additionally, we find that surfers indicate that water quality and pollution can impact an individual’s decision to surf. Given this, surfers should have improved access to water quality information at their local surf spots. With this research we hope to show that surfer’s knowledge of their environment can prove useful to researchers and help drive policy changes related to water quality management.
Session 3 Building at the Beach: Navigating the Maze of Federal, State, and Local Regulations
Redeveloping on the Beach: A closer look at the permitting and building process (Presentation available)
William Walsh, Walsh Engineering, Werner Gilliam, Town of Kennebunkport
This session will present a typical residential beach reconstruction project, and will outline all of the different regulatory and construction hurdles that make construction in a coastal dune environment complex.
Regulatory Updates to Sand Dune Rules (Presentation available)
Dave Cherry, Maine Department of Environmental Protection
Maine’s Coastal Sand Dune Rules: How they apply to new development, redevelopment, and activities designed to adapt to sea level rise and coastal storms.
Session 4 Beach Management – Dunes and Seaweed
Collaborating for Coastal Resilience in Seabrook, NH (Presentation available)
Emily Bialowas, University of New Hampshire
This presentation will focus on the interconnected social and ecological issues that impact beach and dune management in Seabrook, and the stakeholders connected to those issues. I will also discuss what I have recommended to stakeholders as opportunities to collaborate for beach and dune management in Seabrook.
The State of Maine’s Beaches in 2017 (Presentation available)
Peter Slovinsky, Maine Geological Survey, Dept. of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
This presentation will discuss the major beach profile and shoreline change trends (from 2010 to 2016, or 2017, as data are available) at the beaches monitored by the Southern Maine Beach Profiling Program and the Maine Beach Monitoring Program.
Digging In: Understanding the Complexities of Addressing Excessive Seaweed Accumulation on Maine’s Coastal Beaches (Presentation available)
Keri Kaczor, University of Maine Cooperative Extension/Sea Grant and Maine Healthy Beaches
Mounds of cast seaweed covering valued beaches during Maine’s short summer season have presented challenges for many coastal communities. When this occurs, there are important factors to consider: water quality, public health, aesthetics, tourist economies, ecosystem health, and the laws meant to preserve ecosystem integrity. Physical and biological factors cause the apparent increase, yet the phenomenon is not well documented or understood. Municipalities have been challenged by the aesthetics, impacts on water quality, and how best to manage the mounds. The public has been generally outraged by the negative impacts on their beach experience, overwhelming municipalities with complaints. Bacteria levels in nearby beach water can be negatively impacted, as detached seaweed cast onto the beach warms in the sun, allowing bacteria to persist and multiply in seaweed mats and neighboring sand. Management often requires site-specific considerations. For example, if the area falls within a coastal sand dune system, communities can move but not remove the seaweed from the system. How the seaweed issue has prompted research, legislation, and adaptive beach management plans will also be shared.
Session 5 Collaboration
The Coastal Research Volunteer Program – Achieving Multiple Benefits Through Collaboration in Citizen Science (Presentation available)
Alyson Eberhardt, New Hampshire Sea Grant and UNH Cooperative Extension, Amy Lopata, Elmer S Bagnall School, Lisa Anderson, Coastal Research Volunteer
Given limited resources available to support research and monitoring, the Coastal Research Volunteer (CRV) program is a citizen science group created to increase research capacity as well as to provide community members with authentic research and stewardship experiences along the coast. The CRV program is a novel model of citizen science that engages both adult and student volunteers to work with university researchers and state and local partners on a variety of projects. CRV assists in projects such as horseshoe crab surveys, monitoring blue mussels for toxic contaminants, eel monitoring, sand dune restoration and research as well as a newly launched beach profiling effort modeled after the one in Maine. This presentation will detail CRV program impacts in terms of both on the ground accomplishments as well as our efforts toward creating a network of citizens engaged in the stewardship of coastal resources. We will discuss the power of engaging volunteers in coastal science from the perspective of a community volunteer, a 4th grade teacher, student volunteers and the CRV program manager.
From Maps to Action: Citizen Scientists Collect Marine Debris in the Great Bay Estuary (Presentation available)
Abigail Lyon, Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership, Emily Lord, Stewardship Network: New England
In 2016 the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership partnered with UNH Cooperative Extension and The Stewardship Network: New England to organize a citizen science effort to map and remove marine debris around the Great Bay Estuary. The project began after The Great Bay Gunners expressed concern regarding marine debris they encountered along the estuary. But how much and what kind of debris was out there? During a training workshop (spring of 2016), volunteers learned to use the mobile-app Track-Kit. Using their own watercraft and mobile phones, volunteers mapped and photographed locations of marine debris for assigned sections of the estuary. Project staff complied volunteer data using Google Earth, and the team identified areas for cleanup efforts in June and September. Our presentation will address the overarching problem of marine debris in coastal environments, how our team chose to tackle the problem with citizen scientists and mobile-app data collection, and lessons learned in hopes that other groups will replicate this model for other coastal regions. Key messages will include: the extent of marine debris in the Great Bay Estuary, the role of citizen scientists, the use of technology and smart phones to engage volunteers, and the importance of collaboration with existing organizations.
Collaborating Regionally for Citizen Science Monitoring of Maine’s Coastal Waters: the Maine Coastal Observing Alliance (Presentation available)
Ruth Indrick, Kennebec Estuary Land Trust
The Maine Coastal Observing Alliance is a collaboration between 10 land trusts, conservation commissions, and watershed organizations that carry out volunteer water quality monitoring along the coast. In 2014, these organizations came together to focus on learning more about Maine’s estuaries. The collaboration has made it possible for the partners to standardize methods, share data, and access tools and expertise that increase capacity. For the last three years, the partners have carried out regional water sampling, collecting profile data from estuaries from Casco Bay to Rockport Harbor. This presentation will teach about this collaboration and provide opportunities for connecting with others who are monitoring water quality along Maine’s coast. It will also share sampling results that reveal interesting information about the processes in Maine’s estuaries that control water pH and dissolved oxygen.
Session 6 Marine Debris
Litter on New Hampshire Beaches: Collaborating to Assess and Mitigate the Problem (Presentation available)
Jen Kennedy, Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation, Meredity Collins, NH Division of Parks and Recreation
Even though New Hampshire has a relatively small coastline, litter is a pervasive issue. Through beach raking and volunteer beach cleanups, NH Parks and Blue Ocean Society have gathered data on the amount and types of litter on the beach. The two organizations have used this information to address the problem in a variety of ways, including educational programs, organized beach cleanups, and raising public awareness . In this presentation, we will discuss the amount of litter on New Hampshire beaches, the tools we are using to address the problem, some of the direct and indirect costs and impacts of litter, and next steps for our programs.
Is a clean beach a safe beach?
Ella van Gool, Environmental Research Institute, University of Waikato
New Zealand consists of two main islands with a vast coastline, making the beach an integral part of the Kiwi lifestyle. We will present some results of our research combining phone interviews, national health data and actual marine debris data. Insights that could also be applied to beaches in Maine (or elsewhere) highlighting the importance of an integrated and international approach to this universal problem.
Microplastics on New Hampshire Beaches: How impacted are our beaches really? (Presentation available)
Gabriela Bradt, UNH Cooperative Extension and NH Sea Grant
Since 2013, NH Sea Grant has worked with Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation to involve local volunteers in studying microplastics on New Hampshire beaches. This study involves sampling several locations at each beach from April through October, then sorting the samples to determine the presence and type of microplastics (plastics from 1-5mm in size). This presentation will discuss project methods, results, lessons learned and how audience members can implement their own microplastics studies in their community.
Session 7 Tracking Bacterial Water Pollution to Its Source: New Tools and Applications
Using co-indicators along with traditional source tracking methods to better pinpoint human sources of fecal contamination: a case study in Rye, NY (Presentation available)
Laura Diemer, FB Environmental Associates
Coastal beaches are impacted by fecal contamination sourced largely from inland coastal watersheds. Specific sources include stormwater runoff, malfunctioning septic systems, pet, livestock, and wildlife waste, leaky sewer lines, and other aging infrastructure. This fecal contamination generates a significant threat to water quality, public health, and the local economy. Communities are eager to learn how to better manage fecal sources in their waterways, but monitoring, tracking, and managing fecal sources is very difficult, particularly when the pathogen indicators (e.g., Enterococci or E.coli) are highly variable to track and measure as well. We discuss results from a recent study in Parsons Creek, Rye, NH that sampled indicator bacteria, Enterococci, along with co-indicators (nitrate and/or optical brighteners) during moderate storm events and baseflow conditions to more effectively tease out the relative human contribution to fecal contamination within a river network draining to a coastal beach. The presence of optical brighteners, along with high bacteria counts and high nitrate concentrations, may help identify human fecal contamination “hotspots” for more targeted management or remediation strategies. The use of co-indicators along with traditional tracking methods can be a cost-effective way to pinpoint human fecal sources in surface waters.
Application of robust microbial source tracking method for identifying bacterial contamination sources near Maine’s Beaches
Steve Jones, University of New Hampshire
Our group at UNH, including MS student Derek Rothenheber and technicians have adopted the best and most widely used microbial source tracking (MST) methods for identifying bacterial pollution sources at beaches and adjoining watersheds and assessing their relative significance. The proposed presentation will focus on findings from an array of studies at beaches in NH and ME during 2015-16, and provide a high level summary of findings that relate to potential application of these methods in our region and their limitations. We have collaborated closely with the Maine Healthy Beaches Program, researchers at UMO and the NH Beaches Program to help design studies to best address current challenges to managing bacterial pollution at beaches. Thus, the findings will reflect a blend of research and applied studies that are directly relevant to our two-state region.
Integrating Microbial Source Tracking Tools into Local Remediation Strategies in the Goosefare Brook Watershed (Presentation available)
Meagan Sims, University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Healthy Beaches
Many of Maine’s coastal communities largely sustained by tourism experience seasonal population increases during the peak summer months, placing pressure on aging infrastructure and contributing to unsafe bacteria levels and swimming conditions at nearby coastal beaches. Routine monitoring at the mouth of the Goosefare Brook, an urban impaired stream, revealed consistently elevated bacteria levels potentially impacting popular Old Orchard and Saco swimming beaches, prompting the need for expanded monitoring and pollution source identification. Maine Healthy Beaches (MHB) has worked with diverse partners on multi-year efforts to address pollution throughout the watershed. Assessing water quality by measuring fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) levels can be a valuable tool, but FIBs do not differentiate the source(s) of fecal contamination. In 2016, MHB forged an applied research partnership with UNH researchers to further pinpoint source(s) of bacterial pollution by utilizing Microbial Source Tracking (MST) techniques. By incorporating MST, the most prevalent source(s) of fecal contamination can be determined with a priority on tracking down human source(s), as these are of greatest risk to human health. How this data has been transformed into action items to support ongoing remediation and restoration efforts within the watershed will be shared.
On Navigating a Shore — A short play — Drama & Improv Session (Presentation available)
Julie Clark Boak, Salmagundi Productions
This session is The Beaches Conference’ first venture into using theater as a channel to explore the thoughts and feelings of people who face threats to places they love. To do so, we will begin with a short play, drawn from Notice To Mariners: [Notes] On Navigating A Shore, an unconventional book about my own delicious, dead serious, OMG, sometimes LOL journey into the realities of sea level rise. We will improvise from the play, creating new scenes from all participants’ voices and experience. We are limited to 20 people. Do come; we will have serious fun.
Lightning Round: Unique Coastal Habitats, Current Challenges, and the Future; Multiple Approaches to Managing Our Coast
Coastal Restoration Experiences in Southern Maine (Presentation available)
Sue Schaller, Bar Mills Ecological
Case Studies in Dune Restoration in Southern Maine: Coastal dunes provide a range of valuable environmental services that include storm protection to coastal communities, wildlife habitat, and the aesthetic beauty that helps define our coastlines. Dune erosion, and the success of dune restoration in southern Maine is determined by a range of factors. These include the local geology that forms the beach, winter storms, homeowner practices, recreational use of the beach, tides, and changes in sea level. All of these factors affect what can be done to maintain beaches and whether it will be successful. This session will present case studies in dune restoration from locations in Saco and Old Orchard Beach, and discuss how they performed over time. Condo associations present some special challenges because multiple owners are involved. Wide beaches and narrow dunes that seem benign in the summer and yet they can create openings for storm wave damage over the winter when conditions combine to form a perfect storm. The first case study is from Ferry Beach in the shadow of Camp Ellis and the erosion caused by the jetty. The second site is at Bay View, less affected by Camp Ellis and yet still subject to a number of challenges. The and fourth locations are on Old Orchard Beach where the millions of summer visitors and the hotels that cater to them create additional challenges.
Are We Ready for Rising Seas? (Presentation available)
Pete Hanranhan, CPESC. E.J. Prescott
Rising seas are on a collision course with some of the most highly developed communities in this country. As a society we must put together a working plan for our future. Our approach must be carefully considered and responsibly executed. Those who attend this session can expect to be presented with a comprehensive set of challenges that must be met in order to provide our coastal communities with a sustainable future. There is not a minute to lose.
Let’s Talk Wetland Benefits (Presentation available)
Jane Ballard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
This presentation will provide insight into the progress of my NOAA Digital Coast fellowship, specifically by showcasing one ecosystem service provided by coastal wetlands and one decision point within the local decision-making context. This will help show how the relevant information and tools are currently used and how they could potentially be used, with example projects and/or programs. This will touch on my project’s exploration of the disconnect between the availability and actual use of this type of information in decision-making. It will also highlight the negative impact that this disconnect can have on wetland extent and quality and how this links back to priorities of communities. The audience will gain insight on some new information about wetland function benefits and Digital Coast tools that assess these benefits, as well as insight into what’s at stake – how this connects to community concerns and how it can measurably and transparently improve planning and decision-making. I would also like to take the opportunity to engage with the diverse, interested group to see where they are most interested in seeing this information used – whether it is in justifying or producing actionable decisions themselves or whether there is more interest in increase awareness.
Local and Regional Trends in Salt Marsh Integrity
Sue Adamowicz, Ph.D and Toni Mikula, MS, Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge
Salt marshes from Maine to Virginia were surveyed using the Salt Marsh Integrity assessment protocol developed for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. We present the findings for salt marshes that are part of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge from the Spurwink River to Brave Boat Harbor.
Artistic Mapping for Community Engagement with Shorelines: the pragmatism of artistic mapping
Molly Holmbeg Brown, Molly Maps
This presentations will discuss the kind of work I do with MollyMaps, and the graduate work in geography that helped me discover this niche. I’ll explain the use of map-making workshops as a way to both engage beach communities and identify areas of strong cultural meaning. And I’ll discuss the challenges and possibilities of find mapping strategies and products the suite the needs of environmental and place-based organizations.
The Myth of Dry Feet: What we can learn from how the Dutch engage in flood defense (Presentation available)
Kristen Grant, Maine Sea Grant and University of Maine Cooperative Extension
The Dutch have become so expert in the science and art of water management, that even minor flooding is actually fairly uncommon. So uncommon actually, that most Dutch citizens are unaware of their level of flood risk. Following deadly floods in 1953, the Dutch government assumed full responsibility for flood protection and developed an extensive system of dykes and barriers called the Delta Works. This system has protected the Dutch people so effectively since that time, that The Myth of Dry Feet has prevailed for generations in the minds of most Dutch. But climate change projections suggest that this level of certainty the Dutch government has provided can no longer be guaranteed and now the Dutch people need to share in the responsibility for flood protection. Efforts in the Netherlands to counteract The Myth and engage the Dutch people in planning to defend themselves from flooding were the focus of my 2016 sabbatical in the Netherlands. What have the Dutch learned? Which of their lessons can we apply here at home? This lightning session will focus on key themes of how stakeholders become effectively engaged such as through the sharing of diverse types of knowledge, and taking the time to understand stakeholder perceptions.