By: Lisa Wise, NH Sea Grant Extension
Members of the NH Coastal Adaptation Workgroup wrapped up September with a trip to South Portland, Maine, for our annual day-long exchange with members of Maine’s Climate Change Adaptation Providers Network (CCAP). Between the two networks, at least three dozen people came together to share stories, project updates, and conversation about shared challenges and opportunities of working on climate adaptation.
Curious what folks working on climate adaptation in Maine and New Hampshire talk about when we get together? Here are a few highlights!
1. Julie Rosenbach, the Sustainability Director for the City of South Portland, talked about the City’s ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals and the progress that’s already been made (e.g., building the largest solar landfill project allowable by state regs). South Portland has also recently partnered with the City of Portland to look at both mitigation as well as adaptation, to make sure future projects avoid ‘maladaptive’ responses. The cities’ goal is to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050!
2. Curtis Bohlen from Casco Bay Estuary Partnership delivered a fabulous presentation despite the absence of his slides due to a technical difficulty. Bohlen described a study that looked at how a range of ecosystem services provided by marshes (e.g., recreation, bird habitat, carbon sequestration, etc.) are impacted by various policy options. This will help evaluate options based on prioritization of ecosystem services.
3. CAW’s Nathalie Morison, from the NHDES Coastal Program, shared challenges and lessons learned from this summer’s Flood Smart Seacoast Workshop Series, hosted in partnership with the Seabrook Hamptons Estuary Alliance.
4. Parker Gassett from the University of Maine talked about opportunities to utilize citizen science to gather information about ocean and coastal acidification. It sounds like there could be a fun acidification monitoring ‘blitz’ event next year… stay tuned!
5. Cameron Wake from the University of New Hampshire shared lessons learned from the past 11 years of working on projects in the Lamprey River watershed related to flooding. For example, the project team adapted the outreach approach from broad workshop events to more targeted, community-specific meetings, in partnership with the regional planning commissions as ‘boundary spanners’ between the research and municipal action. Wake’s key takeaways included 1) Tailor community meetings based on the local vulnerabilities, 2) Increase the amount time allocated to outreach/engagement, and 3) Listen and incorporate feedback.
6. I partnered with CCAP member Nathan Robbins to give a lightning-quick teaser about our collaborative efforts to improve how we keep track of the many projects going on in our respective networks, and how we can document collective impact over time. We hope our love for databases translated to the rest of the group! We’ve been communicating a lot over the last 6 months or so about how we can improve and share our tracking/evaluation methodologies, and we’re pretty excited about it.
7. We spent the afternoon in small group discussions on topics from diversifying funding sources to employing more creative outreach strategies and evaluating actions. Lots of knowledge and expertise within this group! Then Julie led us on a field trip to the municipal-scale solar array at a nearby landfill. Check out the photos below!
Already looking forward to next year’s exchange!