Maine Beaches Conference Slated July 12

Anyone who uses Maine’s beaches — from surfers to business owners — is invited to attend the 2013 Maine Beaches Conference to share information with other stakeholders.

The latest on erosion, weather and water quality at Maine’s beaches, as well as the importance of tourism and property rights, will be discussed Friday, July 12, 2013 at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland.

The conference aims to share data from the state’s beach monitoring programs, as well as provide a forum for communication among beach stakeholders, such as property owners, recreational users and managers.

The 7:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. event will include multimedia sessions and exhibits, presentations and a walking tour during lunch.

Session topics will include the effects of Superstorm Sandy, erosion control, tourism promotion, water quality, pollution, ecological values and property rights.

Representatives from several organizations including the Maine Geological Survey, National Weather Service, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Maine Office of Tourism and Maine Beaches Association will present during the sessions.

The conference is coordinated by Maine Sea Grant and a steering committee of public and private partners.

Steering committee members representing conference stakeholder groups are responsible for designing and implementing the event, according to conference coordinator Kristen Grant, a marine extension associate with Maine Sea Grant and University of Maine Cooperative Extension based at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve.

The first Maine Beaches Conference was held in 2000 and emerged from Sea Grant-funded research by UMaine faculty Joseph Kelley and Daniel Belknap who developed a volunteer beach erosion monitoring program in response to recommendations of the Southern Maine Beach Stakeholder Group, according to Catherine Schmitt, Maine Sea Grant communications coordinator.

“Even in that first year, it was clear the interest in that information extended far beyond the monitoring volunteers,” Grant says. “Because beach stakeholders in Maine represent a diverse range of interests, the conference has always sought to provide continuing opportunities for communication and exchange of the most current information among these stakeholders.”

Grant says participants continue to return to the conference because they say it provides up-to-date information and many opportunities to learn and network.

“They also appreciate the chance to meet resource people face-to-face, the sharing of diverse perspectives and new ideas, and the action-orientation of the conference,” Grant says.

For more information or to request disability accommodations, call Grant at 207.646.1555, ext. 115.

Registration information, program details, speaker biographies and session and exhibit descriptions are available online.

Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747