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National Partners Cover the Coasts—and the Hill

Mar 20, 2019 | Congressional Champions, Great Bay, New Hampshire, Reserves

Left to right: Steve Couture, administrator of the New Hampshire Coastal Program; Rachel Rouillard, director of the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership; and Cory Riley, manager of the Great Bay Reserve.

From the small state of New Hampshire came a big story about the power of collaboration to promote resilience during a special Coast Day session.

“New Hampshire is a small state with a small coast. We have no income tax, not much state funding, and local decision making is very important,” observed Cory Riley, manager of the state’s Great Bay Reserve.

“Coastal programs have to work together and share our resources to improve the health of coastal communities. It takes planning, hard work, and personal and professional trust to do this well.”

Riley was joined by partners Rachel Rouillard, director of the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership (PREP), and Steve Couture, administrator of the New Hampshire Coastal Program. Together, they described how their programs work together to help the state’s coastal communities be more resilient—a partnership story that unfolds in different ways in states with a Reserve nationwide.

“A key to resilience is making sure our water is clean,” said Couture. “As a regulatory agency, we need to understand the trends and feasible management solutions.” This mandate is supported by PREP’s efforts to integrate water quality data and science at a watershed scale and the Great Bay Reserve’s long-term monitoring program and work on community outreach.

New Hampshire’s culture of local decision making strongly impacts its ability to address flooding and sea level rise. All three programs have evolved to support individual community needs in strategic ways. These include regional vulnerability assessments that inform community priorities, a state-wide commission that improves state processes and reviews regulations, and a community of practice around climate adaptation and municipal outreach.

“It all adds up to building a community of integrated stewardship, among our programs and with citizens,”  says Rouillard. Sometimes that means letting go of our individual brands for the greater good,” she added, referencing Every Drop—a new campaign that encourages a lifestyle that protects the region’s water quality and is supported by many programs.

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Congressional ChampionsNational Partners Cover the Coasts—and the Hill