Beers & Blueprints (& Shorelines)
The Living Shorelines Professional Happy Hour is a collaboration between Great Bay Reserve and New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. These regular networking events build professional capacity for living shorelines on the New Hampshire seacoast.
Once a quarter, a New Hampshire brewery fills up with a particular clientele— the kind who’s eager to spread shoreline blueprints across the tables and argue about the best places to site site eelgrass over a few beers. The “Living Shorelines Professionals Happy Hour” brings engineers, contractors, and habitat restoration experts together to connect over the use of living shorelines along New Hampshire’s seacoast. These discussions are coordinated by New Hampshire’s Great Bay Reserve and the state’s Department of Environmental Services.
Living shorelines are stabilized using natural materials, such as plants and sand, in contrast with shoreline that are “hardened” with a seawall or rip-rap. Traditionally, living shorelines have been less popular than hardened ones, in part because their construction and effectiveness is less familiar to engineers and landowners.
This networking series is part of the Great Bay Reserve’s efforts to familiarize professionals with the living shoreline approach, which experts suggest is a more effective way to manage storm surge and flooding. Some of the “beers and blueprints” crowd are living shorelines experts who want to discuss their projects and the latest science, while others are curious engineers, looking for resources to bring back to their firms.
“In my eyes, these happy hours are a huge success,” says Steve Miller, Coastal Training Program Manager at the Great Bay Reserve and co-organizer of the event. “Everyone appreciates being able to talk to their peers about the specifics of a successful living shoreline and career opportunities that these shorelines provide. At the last event, there was information exchange and network building everywhere I turned.”