Property Managers, Landscape Professionals Learn How to Protect New Hampshire Coast


Following the workshop, the participants were asked to comment on their experience. Here is what they said:

“Awesome, knowledgeable presenters, information to help make the planet a better place. Thank you.”

—Carol Jowdy

“I am relatively new to the green industry and I’m hungry to learn more. This experience was both informative and engaging. The networking experience was also incredible – met some new colleagues.”

—Rob McCann, Riverwoods of Exeter

“So happy I could take part in the program. I feel much more confident to go ahead installing, designing, and properly educating in my field the storm water BMPs taught in this workshop.”

—Sam Costello

“I loved the hands-on approach to the workshop. Being able to physically go on a site and utilize all the tools I learned from the workshop was instrumental in solidifying all the concepts. Thank you.”

—Rhonda Blackey

“Great workshop – I learned a lot. Clear, easy to understand. Thanks for great programming.”

—Susan Sanderson

“This workshop was fun, engaging, informative and life-changing for myself and my business.”

—Dale McConkey, CEO, McConkey and Associates

By Sarah Schaier, Production Editor

Landscaping waterfront properties is not just about deciding what shrub to oust or perennial to plant: It’s about making decisions that will protect the water and the wildlife that inhabit it. On November 18 and 19, property managers and landscape professionals gathered at the Hugh Gregg Coastal Conservation Center to learn how to do just that.

During the intensive two-day training program called “Landscaping for Water Quality: Soak Up the Rain,” state and university experts explained how landscaping decisions impact water quality, with a focus on New Hampshire’s Great Bay, and presented techniques for storm water management, erosion control, and ecological landscape design.

Great Bay is a large tidal estuary connecting freshwater rivers and streams with the saltwater of the Gulf of Maine and includes many areas protected by the Coastal Zone Management Act. Estuaries are excellent habitats for birds, fish, and plants and are important for recreation, commercial fishing, and other maritime industries. But storm water runoff and soil erosion introduces pesticides, chemicals, and nutrients and threatens to harm aquatic life and degrade water quality.

Along with program topics that included “Stormwater Management Practices and Principles,” Integrating Multiple Functions in Landscape Design,” and “Low Impact Lawn Care,” the participants toured a neighboring waterfront property and were given an opportunity to work together in groups to develop and share stormwater management solutions.

The training was provided by UNH Cooperative Extension, NH Sea Grant, and the NH Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) and included instruction by Jillian McCarthy, stormwater coordinator from NHDES, Cathy Neal, landscape and nursery horticulture specialist from UNH Cooperative Extension, Lauren Chase Rowell from Outdoor Rooms Ecological Landscape Design Services, Julia Peterson, water resources specialist from UNH Cooperative Extension and NH Sea Grant, and other guest speakers from NHDES, the UNH Stormwater Center, Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership, and Hodgson Brook.

“The workshop, which was funded by NOAA as one of only five ‘awards of special merit’ in the country, was an excellent model for collaboration between NHDES and UNH Cooperative Extension,” said Neal. “It benefits both the public good and private businesses.”

Landowners looking to hire landscapers who understand the principles and best practices for protecting water quality can find a listing in UNH Cooperative Extension’s “Directory of Landscape Professionals.” The directory will soon be updated to include participants from the recent Landscaping for Water Quality workshop.

Peterson summed up the success of the event with these words: “With this workshop, we are crossing disciplines and working collaboratively to help New Hampshire businesses expand their services and protect water resources and the environment at the same time. It’s a win from many perspectives.”

Pictured, upper left: Attendees listen as a group presents its ecological design solutions at the Hugh Gregg Coastal Conservation Center, part of NOAA's Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Pictured, lower right (l-r): Barbara McMillan (NHDES), Jillian McCarthy (NHDES). Cathy Neal (UNHCE), Lauren Chase Rowell (landscape designer), Julia Peterson (UNHCE and NH Sea Grant)