Gulf of Maine Council Recognizes 2016 International Award Winners
Portsmouth, NH – Several New Hampshire award winners, including a NHDES employee, were among 18 individuals and organizations recently honored by the Gulf of Maine Council at an international ceremony in Fredericton, New Brunswick for making a significant difference in protecting the health and sustainability of the Gulf of Maine watershed. Recipients from N.H. include Carroll Brown Jr., NHDES; Linda Schier, Acton Wakefield Watersheds Alliance; and the town of Durham.
The Council, a U.S.-Canadian partnership dedicated to protecting environmental quality in the Gulf of Maine, annually recognizes extraordinary work in each of its five jurisdictions, which include the states of New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts as well as the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
"We are very pleased to honor 18 incredible award winners from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Their volunteer and professional efforts have supported the Gulf of Maine Council's Canadian / U.S. collaboration to protect the unique habitat, marine life, and economic resources of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem," said NHDES Water Division Assistant Director and Council Co-Chair Rene Pelletier.
The following were awarded to N.H. recipients:
The Gulf of Maine Visionary Awards are given to two individuals or organizations within each state and province to recognize their innovation, creativity, and commitment to marine protection.
Carroll Brown, Jr., Coastal Oil Spill Response Coordinator, NHDES
Since 2002, Carroll has been tireless in his work to plan for and make sure the region is equipped and ready to respond to an oil spill in the coastal waters of New Hampshire and Southern Maine. Following the disbanding of the Piscataqua River Cooperative, he was instrumental in continuing coastal oil spill preparedness efforts by helping to form and chair the Portsmouth Oil Spill Response Workgroup. NHDES retained the former Cooperative’s spill response equipment, and Carroll ensured that this equipment was accounted for, repaired and kept in service to continue a high level of response readiness in the region. In addition, Carroll’s outreach efforts and coordination have led to strong partnerships between different agencies and stakeholders, including a Memorandum of Understanding with the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard that was successfully put into practice during an oil spill release this past year. During this spill event, the agreement with the Navy and coordination with the Coast Guard resulted in a swift response, and the mutual use of equipment provided responders with the tools necessary to quickly contain the spill and effectively remove the oil. The region’s response capabilities have been greatly increased by Carroll’s dedication, creativity and the relationships that he has been able to build.
Linda Schier, Acton Wakefield Watersheds Alliance Executive Director
Linda makes a significant difference to the lakes and communities in the Acton-Wakefield region of Maine and New Hampshire by initiating and implementing innovative projects and programs as well as bringing the lakes to the attention of municipalities, local businesses, educational institutions, governmental agencies, residents, visitors, and students. In 2005, she founded a Youth Conservation Corps in the watershed to provide summer jobs in lake conservation for local youth. Under Linda’s guidance, the Corps has installed over 750 stormwater management practices that have prevented tons of sediment and many pounds of phosphorus from reaching lakes. She has also served as the leader for two significant watershed management planning efforts for Province Lake and the Salmon Falls headwaters lakes, bringing together diverse groups of people to analyze pollution and recommend ways to reduce it. The full list of Linda’s accomplishments is extensive, including creating Weed Watcher Programs, organizing water quality monitoring volunteers, hosting special interest workshops, advocating for lake protection at town board meetings, organizing educational events and lake clean ups, conducting watershed assessments and leading hands-on school programs. Linda takes on the technical, environmental, and social challenges inherent in lake protection work, and through her enthusiasm and curiosity, she motivates others to care about lakes too.
Sustainable Communities Award
The Sustainable Communities Award is a Gulfwide award that recognizes one community, or group within a community for exemplary work in achieving sustainable outcomes related to the environment and economy within the Gulf of Maine.
Town of Durham
The town of Durham received the Sustainable Communities Award for its commitment and leadership in its vision for achieving long-term sustainability. The town’s forward-thinking vision incorporates modern strategies, such as Smart Growth Principles, into every aspect of its community development. Durham has achieved many Smart Growth successes, including substantial investments in improving the downtown, strong support for the preservation of natural and historic resources, numerous stormwater projects, and progress towards economic security and energy independence. Throughout the town’s Master Planning Process, the Planning Board and Master Plan Advisory Committee, in coordination with the Strafford Regional Planning Commission, captured the ideas of local residents to address local issues, including housing, natural and cultural resources, recreation, land use, zoning, business and industry, and infrastructure to incorporate into the Plan. This commitment to public engagement has empowered the town of Durham to work towards a sustainable and prosperous future that retains the core values and principles of a town with an engaged community, a vibrant downtown, and an abundant, accessible natural environment.