By: Lisa Graichen

Wells, ME – A number of members of the NH Coastal Adaptation Workgroup (CAW) attended the 2017 Beaches Conference on July 14 at the Wells High School in Wells, Maine. The first Maine Beaches Conference was in 2000, and this year’s – the 11th – was the first to include New Hampshire as well. Over 200 people attended, with sessions on a wide range of topics, from using unmanned aerial systems for habitat mapping to aquaculture curriculum, marine mammal rescue, coastal law and policy issues, and much more.

Here is a sampling of CAW members’ presentations:

  • Steve Miller (GBNERR) and Cameron Wake (UNH) led a session called “Effective Collaboration for Coastal Adaptation,” sharing CAW’s history, successes, and lessons learned.
  • Cameron also participated in a panel called “Listening for a Change: Stories of Our Responses to Sea-Level Rise,” during which he shared perspectives about the NH Coastal Risk and Hazards Commission experience and the importance of engaged scholarship.
  • Kirsten Howard (NHDES Coastal Program) presented about living shorelines work in New Hampshire.
  • Nathalie Morison (NHDES Coastal Program) shared a summary of the NH Coastal Risk and Hazards Commission report and ongoing implementation initiatives.
  • Alyson Eberhardt (NH Sea Grant and UNH Cooperative Extension) discussed the power of engaging volunteers in coastal science.
  • Abigail Lyon (Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership) presented about a citizen science effort to map and remove marine debris around the Great Bay Estuary.
  • Julia Peterson (NH Sea Grant and UNH Cooperative Extension) joined former Doyle Fellow Ally Phillip (New England Grassroots Foundation) in a session called “What do Adaptation Community Champions Need from Technical Assistance Providers?”
  • Julie LaBranche (Rockingham Planning Commission) was part of a session called “The Community Rating System in Coastal New England – Regional Approaches and Lessons Learned.”

Information from the conference, including complete attendee list, presentations, and session notes will be posted on the conference website soon.

Check out the photos below for some snapshots of the conference and the “Coastal Social” that followed at the Wells Reserve.

Cameron Wake tells his story of the NH Coastal Risk and Hazards Commission at the 2017 Beaches Conference (credit: Alyson Eberhardt)


Kirsten Howard (NHDES Coastal Program) presents at the 2017 Beaches Conference (credit: Simone Barley-Greenfield)


Larry Ward (UNH) presents NH’s beach profiling work at the 2017 Beaches Conference (credit: Alyson Eberhardt)


Alyson Eberhardt (third from left; NH Sea Grant and UNH Cooperative Extension) and co-presenters Morgan Close (5th grader), Amy Lopata (4th grade teacher at Bagnall), and Lisa Anderson (Coastal Research Volunteer) (credit: Alyson Eberhardt)


Morgan Close (5th grader at Bagnall School in Groveland, MA) reading his letter to the editor about dune restoration and conservation (credit: Alyson Eberhardt)


Map of the Seabrook dunes (circa 1850) created by Alyson Eberhardt in the MollyMaps workshop (credit: Alyson Eberhardt)


Beaches Conference 2017 (credit: Kirsten Howard)


Coastal Social at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve (credit: Lisa Graichen)


All-you-can-eat oysters at the Coastal Social (credit: Kirsten Howard)


Great to reconnect with colleagues and make new connections at the Coastal Social! (credit: Kirsten Howard)


The 2017 Beaches Conference was sponsored by: Walsh Engineering, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve & Laudholm Trust, Maine Coastal Program, Maine Sea Grant, New Hampshire Sea Grant, Kennebunk Savings, Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve & Stewards, Bangor Savings Bank, Curtis Thaxter, KKA Chamber of Commerce, Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors, Maine DEP, Maine Geological Survey, New Hampshire Coastal Program, Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership, Resource Access International (RAI), Sandy Pines Campground, Greater York Chamber of Commerce, Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission, Maine Beaches Association, NH League of Conservation Voters