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CONTACT:
Steve Miller - 603-778-0015 x305, steve.miller@wildlife.nh.gov
January 6, 2012

Summit Tackles Topic of Climate Change in Coastal New Hampshire

Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve logo

GREENLAND, N.H. -- Coastal New Hampshire is better prepared to deal with the impacts of climate change after a first-ever Coastal NH Summit held the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department's Hugh Gregg Coastal Conservation Center in Greenland, N.H., in December.

The event, hosted by the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (GBNERR -- managed by Fish and Game), the Great Bay Stewards and the NERRS Science Collaborative, highlighted local climate research and climate preparedness efforts and tools, aiming to identify gaps in information and actions that could help local, state, federal and non-profit partners move forward effectively on this critical issue. 

“Coastal New Hampshire is already seeing the effects of a changing climate. The Climate Summit demonstrates that local research and action to understand and prepare for our changing climate are underway. There is work to be done to minimize the impacts to our economy and natural resources.  The Summit, through the participation of over 100 attendees from a diversity of sectors and professional fields, will help direct future efforts in the most efficient manner," said GBNERR Coastal Training Program Coordinator Steve Miller.

Attendees heard presentations on locally generated research and planning efforts, including state climate action plans for fish and wildlife; implications for invasive species management and drinking water resources; cost-benefit modeling for coastal New Hampshire as it deals with sea-level rise scenarios; green infrastructure solutions to help build resilience; updated flood plain mapping; and municipal challenges and opportunities for community adaptation.  Each presentation was followed by a facilitated discussion to identify priorities for implementation, planning and additional research. 

The event brought together a wide range of organizations and people dealing with different aspects of climate change. Participants included staff from GBNERR; the N.H. Fish and Game Department; member organizations of the N.H. Coastal Adaptation Workgroup; N.H. Department of Environmental Services; University of New Hampshire; US Environmental Protection Agency; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; local municipalities, planning commissions, engineering firms, environmental organizations and concerned citizens. The summit aimed to get them talking and provide information to help direct future research, action and collaborations.

A call to action came from keynote speaker Dr. Cameron Wake, a University of New Hampshire Research Associate Professor at the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, as he presented the findings from a new report called “Climate Change in the Piscataqua/Great Bay Region: Past, Present, and Future.”  The research and compilation of this report was funded through a Community Impact Grant from the N.H. Charitable Foundation, received by one of the Climate Summit sponsors, the Great Bay Stewards.

Wake described climate change impacts that are affecting New Hampshire's coastal communities right now, as well as future impacts that are likely to occur in the Piscataqua region.  Wake urged participants to use the report's findings to inform regional climate change research and preparedness efforts.  A copy of the report can be downloaded from http://carbonsolutionsne.org the website of Carbon Solutions NE.

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