Clean Water Champion: Dr. Kalle Matso

Still shot from underwater video from Portsmouth Harbor, August 2013

Still shot of eelgrass beds from underwater video from Portsmouth Harbor, August 2013. Kalle’s first task as Coastal Scientist for PREP will be develop the 2015 Eelgrass Monitoring Program. Kalle’s Master work was with Dr. Fred Short studying eelgrass in Great Bay in 1997! 

This month we’re thrilled to introduce you to our new Coastal Scientist – Dr. Kalle Matso! After a nation-wide search process PREP’s Management Committee Search Committee found Kalle to be the best suited and most skilled to become PREP’s next Coastal Scientist. We thought it’d be fun to have Kalle answer our Clean Water Champion questions so you could get to know him a bit more.

PREP: How long have you been a champion for clean water?
Kalle: I have been working for clean water since I started my Masters at UNH in 1997, focusing on restoring eelgrass beds in the Great Bay Estuary, and comparing restored beds to natural beds in terms of the fish and crabs hanging out in the seagrass.

PREP: How’d you get started in protecting clean water?
Kalle: I grew up on the ocean in California and always wanted to be a marine ecologist—especially after watching Jacques Cousteau and his undersea world on TV—but I  ended up trying to contribute as a journalist at first, rather than as a scientist. After a few years, I realized I wasn’t satisfied just writing about the environment; I wanted to be more immersed. So, I came to UNH to get a Masters in Natural Resources. I’m very happy I did.

PREP: What’s your favorite thing to do with or on water?
Kalle: Surfing, especially when the waves are good. And SCUBA diving, too, though I haven’t been doing that as much lately.

PREP: What’s been your proudest moment as a clean water champion?
Kalle: I spent a lot of time working with the 28 Reserves in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS), and was always so impressed by the work done at these unique sites—such as the Great Bay NERR in Greenland, NH. Last year, my colleagues and I received an “Impact Award” for the work we’ve done through the “Science Collaborative.” To be honored by that group made me very, very proud.

PREP: What’s one simple thing you would tell somebody to do to protect the places around the Seacoast they love?
Kalle: If you have a septic tank, make sure it’s working well. I believe that, behind atmospheric deposition, septics are the highest contributor of non-point source pollution to coastal waters. Beyond that, I would make it a point to find out more about how towns can embrace Green Infrastructure so that we don’t send as much pollution to the estuary via stormwater. Municipalities need our support to keep improving our infrastructure in ways that improve the environment and make long-term economic sense for our communities.

PREP is part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program, a joint program between local, state and federal agencies established under the Clean Water Act with the goal of protecting and enhancing nationally significant estuarine resources. PREP is supported in part by an EPA matching grant and is housed within the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering at the University of New Hampshire.