SOUTH PORTLAND — Every summer, millions of people visit the sandy beaches of southern Maine, and thousands more own or rent homes in beach communities. Yet it is not always clear how these visits to the beach translate into dollars. Maine State Economist Michael LeVert, University of Southern Maine economist Charles Colgan, and Linwood Pendleton, a senior fellow at the Ocean Foundation, will discuss how beaches contribute to the state's economy at the 2009 Maine Beaches Conference, at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland, on Friday, July 10.
Other presentations will include a summary of trends at many of Southern Maine’s beaches highlighting beach profiles, shoreline erosion, dune restoration, and water quality.
Richard Lindzen of MIT and Beth Nagusky of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection will present different perspectives about climate change, sea level rise, and related public policies. Ideas and tools for preserving beach communities will be shared, such as a new resource for property owners and beach users seeking more information about access to the Maine coast; Kennebunkport's Watershed Improvement Program; and how Ogunquit residents are protecting their barrier dune system.
Steve Dickson of the Maine Geological Survey will lead a walking tour of hazard-resilient coastal activities and construction projects, and state regulators will be on hand to explain how state and federal laws affect coastal property owners.
“Sandy beaches are such a unique resource along our mostly rocky Maine coast,” said conference coordinator Kristen Grant of Maine Sea Grant and University of Maine Cooperative Extension. “This year’s conference provides an opportunity for us to more fully appreciate the related economic, social, and ecological values Maine’s beaches provide.”
The biennial Maine Beaches Conference provides continuing opportunities for beach stakeholders with diverse interests to exchange the most current information. For more information and to register, see http://tinyurl.com/mainebeaches, or contact Kristen Grant at 646-1555, ext. 115.