Great Bay Stewards Receive Grant From NH Charitable Foundation

October 28, 2010

CONTACT:

Steve Miller GBNERR CTP, 603-778-0015
Peter Wellenberger, 603-868-1095
October 22, 2010

Regional Climate Assessment Report: Climate Change in the Great Bay Watershed

 

NH Charitable Foundation logo

DURHAM, N.H.— The Great Bay Stewards have been awarded a N.H. Charitable Foundation Community Impact Grant, with funding from the Barbara K. and Cyrus B. Sweet III Fund and the Climate and Energy Action Fund. The grant supports the research, writing and outreach program of a detailed assessment of climate change for coastal New Hampshire. The report will describe how the region’s climate has changed over the past century, and how climate may change over the course of this century, based on different global greenhouse gas emission scenarios.

Carbon Solutions New England will perform the research and writing of the assessment of climate change. CSNE Director Dr. Cameron Wake has extensive experience developing these assessments for regions and watersheds. The report will be comprised of three sections: historical climate trends of the past century; future climate projections; and analysis of changes in 100-year flooding in coastal New Hampshire from projected sea level rise.

The Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve Coastal Training Program (CTP) will develop and implement the outreach program to desseminate the report and will assist organizations and municipalities in utilizing the report in their planning. The information compiled in this climate change assessment, combined with the CTP training programs, will provide the foundation for developing local climate change adaptation plans. The report and series of presentations titled “Climate Change in the NH Coastal Watershed: Past, Present, and Future” will be available in the spring of 2011. To receive a copy of the report and/or schedule a presentation on its findings, contact Steve Miller at (603) 778-0015.

The findings will help meet the state’s need for detailed, decision-relevant information, as identified in two of the ten key recommendations in the 2009 New Hampshire Climate Action Plan — developing a plan for how to address existing and potential climate change impacts; and developing an integrated education, outreach, and workforce training program.

The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation serves communities throughout New Hampshire, southeastern Maine and eastern Vermont. The Foundation manages a growing collection of charitable funds created by individuals, families and corporations, and awards more than $30 million annually in grants and scholarships. The Charitable Foundation is nonpartisan, frequently playing the role of convener and catalyst on a broad spectrum of issues. Based in Concord, the Charitable Foundation roots itself in the communities through regional advisory boards. Visitwww.nhcf.org.

The Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is managed by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, in cooperation with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The Great Bay Stewards work to protect and preserve the vitality of the Great Bay estuarine system through education, land protection, research and care of the Great Bay. Members work with the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and other conservation-minded organizations to achieve these goals.

 

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Great Bay a focus of the New Hampshire Climate Forum

October 28, 2010

Last week, I traveled to Manchester to participate in the New Hampshire Climate Forum. The event was organized by the Carbon Action Alliance to provide voters with the opportunity to ask the state’s Congressional candidates questions about the issues of clean energy and climate change. My role was to provide an overview of the impacts of climate change on New Hampshire’s coastal environment.

All six of New Hampshire’s major candidates for federal office were invited. None showed up. It’s a shame, because the event forged ahead with a number of informative presentations discussing the local dimensions of the climate issue. For my part, I focused in on the threat climate change poses to the Great Bay Estuary. The ecological health of this key coastal habitat is already in decline, as evidenced by rising nitrogen levels and rapid declines in populations of key species like eelgrass and oysters. Climate change will only exacerbate these problems. Indeed, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that it already is.

Earlier this year, researchers at the Jackson Estuarine Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire published an op-ed piece that concisely laid out the need to act to protect Great Bay from the impacts of climate change:

“Plant and animal life in the estuary are being damaged by the recurrence of ‘100-year storms’ at much more frequent intervals.”

“…the oysters in the Great Bay Estuary are now strongly affected by two major pathogens that have spread northward over the past several years, presumably because of increasing temperatures.”

There’s more. Read the entire op-ed piece on Seacoastonline.

Since 1997, Senator Judd Gregg has secured $56 million for the protection of Great Bay. That’s just a portion of the millions of dollars that have been spent on projects aimed at saving one of the largest estuaries found on the Atlantic Ocean. It’s an investment that is worth protecting by taking the threat posed by climate change seriously.

Although the NH Climate Forum did not get on the radar of the Granite State’s congressional candidates, the event was covered by Elizabeth McGowan of Solve Climate News. The piece has been picked up by Reuters and mentions Great Bay specifically:

New Hampshire Candidates Quiet on Climate and Clean Energy

This post was written by David Anderson, Project Coordinator for the New Hampshire Coastal Protection Partnership and Administrator for Save Great Bay. Please send all your Great Bay related news to info@nhcoast.org or call Dave at (603) 617-0679.


Meet the King of Dog Poop

October 21, 2010

When Steve Johnson found himself a victim of the down economy, he didn’t take much time to wallow in self pity. Instead, he decided to put his newfound free time to use volunteering for a worthwhile cause. Steve soon become active in the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation’s beach cleanup program. His dedication to the cause eventually landed him a job with the organization, where he has earned the unusual title of “Dog Poop King of the Seacoast.”

“I used to be a cubicle monkey at Liberty Mutual,” Steve explains. “I was laid off and had to make a decision about life. I took a hard look at what I did with my free time and what I cared about.”

Steve’s actual job title is Special Projects Coordinator and he is now the driving force behind the Blue Ocean Society’s SCOOP campaign. The program is focused on encouraging local dog owners to pickup and properly dispose of pet waste on our beaches. It’s a job Steve takes seriously and for good reason. Volunteers have spotted more than 300 piles of poop on the beach during a single cleanup, according to an article published in Foster’s Daily Democrat.

Dog poop is a source of harmful bacteria and can pose a serious health threat to the thousands of adults and children who visit our beaches each year. Animal waste is also a source of nitrogen pollution in the Great Bay Estuary, according to the 2009 State of Estuaries Report.

Today, Steve spends much of his time walking along sandy beaches talking to dog owners. He takes a positive approach to public education, petting dogs and chatting with owners before broaching the subject at hand. His main goal is to get people to spend a moment thinking about the harm that pet waste can do to our health and the environment. In return, Steve gives each dog owner an action packet that includes a disposable bag for picking up dog poop (made from eco-friendly vegetable based materials), an organic dog biscuit donated by Barkin’ Biscuits of Stratham, and a pledge form.

“A little foresight, humility, and sacrifice has enormous consequences for everyone else who shares the beach,” he notes. “If you take ownership of a living animal, you should take ownership of the environment you both live in,too.”

Getting people to realize how little time and effort it takes to properly dispose of the stuff is also a big part of Steve’s job.

“It takes the same amount of effort to sit there thinking about whether or not to pick litter up as it does to just do it.”

It’s a theory Steve has tested, through an experiment he conducts as part of his educational work with local schools. He times volunteers as they walk at a normal pace to a trash station set up across the room, at the same distance one would find a typical trash can at the beach. It usually takes about 6 or 7 seconds.

Steve is all about using humor to generate public interest in the SCOOP campaign. He hopes to create posters depicting a typical beachside public bathroom, only with signs for “Men”, “Women”, and “Dogs”. He also wants to record videos for the campaign starring local residents and their furry friends.

You can help! Contact Steve using the information found below:

Steve@blueoceansociety.org

603-431-0260 office

Or learn more about the SCOOP campaign:

Visit the Blue Ocean Society website

Read more about the SCOOP campaign on Seacoast Online!

This post was written by David Anderson of the New Hampshire Coastal Protection Partnership. Please send your news about any Great Bay related events or programs to Dave at info@nhcoast.org.