December 2016: Clean Water Champions

We thought it’d be a fun way to get to know the new PREP Management Committee members by having them each answer one of our Clean Water Champion questions.

05d86861-36df-4a3b-afa7-6be4d6572617PREP: How long have you been a champion for clean water?
Erik Chapman, NH Sea Grant: I’m not sure I would call myself a champion for clean water, but I do hope that I’ve been able to make even a small difference by helping people act as responsible stewards of water resources!  I first found myself in that role back in the early- 90’s when I was the Vermont State Loon Biologist for the now defunct Vermont Institute of Natural Science (currently the Vermont Center for Ecostudies).  My job then was to monitor and improve our understanding of lake ecosystems while working with landowners and dam managers on Vermont Lakes to manage lakes.  I loved the challenge and was honored to have the opportunity to work on behalf of all stakeholders.  The core challenge of that job – working to understand ecosystems and to foster communication and action among stakeholders so that we can make decisions that work for people and ecosystems – has continued in my work to this day as the Acting Director of New Hampshire Sea Grant.

PREP: How’d you get started in protecting clean water/shorelands/coasts?
John Storer, City of Rochester: From a very young age I learned the value of clean water, especially from a drinking water perspective.  I grew up on a rural farm along the coast of Maine.  We had no internal plumbing and had a 2-seat outhouse and a natural spring for drinking water.  The spring was located across a back field, so we had to lug water daily for use at the house.  We were acutely aware of potential threats to the water supply.  Conversely, due to necessity we also had to periodically deal with cleaning of the outhouse.  Looking back, I was probably destined to enter the field of municipal water and wastewater treatment! I spent many childhood summer days along the coast of Maine, primarily on Muscongus Bay.  We used to explore all the islands, especially Hog Island where the Audubon Society has a camp.  As I got older I joined the Maine Island Trail Association and enjoyed kayaking along the coast. My wife and I relocated to New Hampshire in the summer of 2015 and have been slowly exploring the beautiful, scenic resources.

*Ed. Note: Linda was a Clean Water Champion in November, 2012 – see here
What’s been the most surprising or challenging thing you’ve learned in your work as a clean water champion?
Linda Schier, AWWA: The work of AWWA crosses the Maine/ New Hampshire border setting the stage for so many surprises. First, I was surprised to learn how differently the two states administer programs but secondly, so pleasantly surprised to learn how cooperative, engaged and genuinely curious all our stakeholders and partners are when brought to the same table to share their stories. We have all had so many opportunities to learn from one another, resulting in new partnerships for water quality protection.  My job is a privilege and so full of surprises.

PREP: What’s one simple thing you would tell somebody to do to protect the places around the Seacoast they love? 
Todd Selig, Town of Durham, NH: Cut back on fertilizer use for the lawn. There’s almost universal agreement that nitrogen is the single greatest threat to the estuary.  I’ve cut our use down by 1/2 at home in Durham with great results. You’d never know I was using less, and by doing so, we’ve saved money and helped the Seacoast’s waterways.  (Picture is of Todd practicing what he preaches in his yard in Durham)

PREP: What’s your favorite thing to do with/on water?
Jessa: I have been fascinated with water since I was young, always dreaming of swimming underwater like a fish. I became a certified scuba diver in 2000 and a scuba diving instructor in 2005. Since then I’ve certified over 400 people in all levels of diving, both recreational and professional, and really enjoy teaching people about the water environment and our role as stewards of these natural resources in addition to the basics of diving. I can honestly say I’m happiest on, near, or underwater and have been fortunate enough to travel around the world and dive in some amazing places, including Australia, Fiji, Bermuda, Belize, California, the Florida Keys, and New England. Professionally I really love what I do as a clean water champion for the Town of Kittery and look forward to this partnership with PREP!

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.