November 2014’s Clean Water Champion – Laura Byergo

Laura Byergo – Greenland Conservation Commissioner, Great Bay Steward, Marine Docent & More 

PREP’s Clean Water Champion is a monthly feature that profiles people and partners working to make a difference around our watershed.

Laura paddling around Great Bay in October

Laura paddling around Great Bay in October

This month we feature a super person and super volunteer, Laura Byergo. Laura lives on the tidal portion of the Winnicut River in Greenland and she gives of her time freely to help research, protect and preserve the places she loves on the Seacoast. Working with fantastic folks like Jean Eno from the Winnicut River Watershed Coalition and Steve Miller from the Great Bay Estuarine Research Reserve, Laura has gotten involved in many different efforts including the Marine Docents and the Coastal Research Volunteers at UNH, she’s a board member for the Great Bay Stewards and serves on the Greenland Conservation Commission.  Laura’s energy, knowledge and commitment to her watershed is incredible. In the relatively short amount of time she’s called the Seacoast home, she’s shown that she is the epitome of a Clean Water Champion – thank you Laura for all you do for the places we all love!


PREP: How long have you been a champion for clean water?

Laura: I really only started to understand that protecting water is key to protecting the environment when my husband and I moved to New Hampshire in 2011.


PREP: How’d you get started in protecting clean water?

Laura: I wanted to live near Great Bay because I was fascinated with the rich diversity of the estuary.  I started going to events at the Discovery Center, joined the local Winnicut River Watershed Coalition, and joined the Marine Docents.  The more I learned about the environmental challenges we are facing with increasing population the more I realized we need to protect our water sources for us and for the environment.


PREP: What’s your favorite thing to do with or on water?

Laura: If the water is warm enough there is nothing I love more than to swim in open water, but I love kayaking and sailing too.  Like so many people just sitting and watching the light on the water is a reward.  It is important to me to work toward the goal of ensuring the river and estuary are safe enough for children to swim in, and safe enough for the animals that depend on them.


PREP: What’s been your proudest moment as a clean water champion?

Laura: I still have a lot to do before I can claim such a moment.


PREP: What’s one simple thing you would tell somebody to do to protect the places around the Seacoast they love?

Laura: Think about how your daily habits might negatively impact the planet and ask yourself what can you do to reduce that impact.  There are so many things that are not that difficult and might even save you time and money.   Rethink your yard and lawn, maybe you can stop fertilizing your lawn altogether.

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.