The delicate balance of Maine beaches

Coastal property owners, beach advocates to gather July 15

Many changes along the southern Maine shoreline over the last century have shaped and altered the coastal landscape. Along with these changes comes a need to balance shoreline protection with the many varied uses and values of Maine beaches. On Friday, July 15, Gregory Berman, a coastal processes specialist for Woods Hole Sea Grant and the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension, will provide a virtual tour of shoreline changes at the Maine Beaches Conference.

Now in its eighth year, the biennial Maine Beaches Conference serves as Maine’s keystone event for public discussion of the state’s beaches. It is the place where surfers, beach monitors and managers, and private property owners learn together about the latest scientific findings on erosion and water quality, and share their different views on beach culture, economy, and policy.

Berman’s presentation will provide a background for participants representing these diverse interests to examine how to balance the different values and expectations for Maine’s sandy beaches, which occupy just two percent of the state’s shoreline.

In the afternoon, students from Harvard and Mary Washington universities will debate the question, “Do Maine’s existing environmental regulations unreasonably balance the protection of coastal and marine resources of statewide significance by unreasonably infringing on the rights of shoreline private property owners?” The live debate will provide an exciting and innovative format for examining public policy related to Maine beaches.

The Maine Beaches Conference takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Friday, July 15, at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland. Registration begins at 7:30. For more information and to register, call 207-581-1435 or visit the conference Web site.

July 6, 2011
Contact Kristen Grant, (207) 646-1555 x115