Portsmouth Speakers Announced

Keeping History Above Water: Portsmouth 2023 Speakers List and Registration Information

Portsmouth Speakers and Registration

Portsmouth NH Hosts Tenth Keeping History Above Water® Conference

May 7-9, 2023 for Portsmouth NH 400th Anniversary


During the record-breaking December holiday storm, the historic seaport city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire saw clear evidence of the threat that sea level rise holds for its most historic neighborhoods and businesses with a 14-foot tide flooding waterfront streets and buildings. In May 2023, as part of the city’s 400th anniversary commemorations, Portsmouth hosts the 10th national Keeping History Above Water® conference to examine how cities, neighborhoods, preservationists and engineers are partnering to preserve resources from flooding. A key case study will look at the collaborative steps the City of Portsmouth, Strawbery Banke Museum and the University of New Hampshire are taking to address sea level rise.

Keeping History Above Water® (KHAW) was founded in 2016 by the Newport Restoration Foundation to foster a national conversation focused on the increasing and varied risks posed by sea-level rise to historic coastal communities. KHAW® programs, conferences, and workshops focus on protecting historic buildings, landscapes, and neighborhoods from the increasing threat of inundation. Since the inaugural conference in Newport, KHAW® events have been hosted in Annapolis, Palo Alto, Des Moines, St. Augustine, Nantucket, Charleston, Salem, and Norfolk.

“Water Has a Memory: Preserving Historic Port Cities from Sea Level Rise” (KHAW: Portsmouth 2023), May 7 to 9 includes both speaker sessions at the headquarters AC Hotel downtown and site visits to examine the challenges from land and sea.

The conference opens with a reception Sunday evening featuring as keynote Howard Mansfield, author of the Yankee Magazine cover story, “Rising Seas” and several books.

The preliminary program also includes:

  • How One Non-Profit is Tackling Climate Change, Margaret Back, Newport Restoration Foundation
  • NOAA’s Flood Risk Assessment & Application Guide, Mark Osler, NOAA Senior Advisor for Coastal Inundation and Resilience
  • New Hampshire Coastal Flood Risk Assessment & Guidance, Cameron Wake, Research Professor, UNH Earth Systems Research Center and Josephine A. Lamprey, Professor in Climate and Sustainability at the UNH Sustainability Institute
  • “Water Has a Memory” Update: Peter Britz, City of Portsmouth Sustainability Director; Rodney Rowland, Strawbery Banke Facilities and Environmental Sustainability Director; Michael Routhier, UNH Geospatial Lab; Measuring & Monitoring with Well Sensors; Black Heritage Trail of NH groundwater sensor project; “Think Blue” Initiative, Brian Goetz, City of Portsmouth Deputy Director DPW
  • Charting Solutions in a Resilient City 2.0, Tidewater, Virginia, Kerry Shackleford and Paige Pollard, Building Resilient Solutions
  • Climate Action Planning at Historic New England: Preparing Historic Sites Now for Carbon Neutrality and Resilience, Ben Haavik, Historic New England Team Leader, Property Care
  • Salem’s House of Seven Gables and MA Coastal Zone Management, Susan Baker, House of Seven Gables
  • The Provincetown MA Flood Plain: Preservation Case Studies Panel, Regina Binder
  • Implementing Resiliency Measures: A Case History of the Portsmouth’s 1860 Historic Shaw Warehouse, Cassie Bethoney, Weston + Sampson, Project Manager, Landscape Architecture
  • A site visit to examine how Strawbery Banke master plan process to deflect surface flooding from its 17th, 18th and 19th century buildings, with Horsley-Witten and PlaceWorks
  • A site visit examining the City’s resiliency plan to raise and move the 1806 Shaw warehouse back from the waterfront, with Weston + Sampson, Inc.
  • Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Update: Role of the federal government in climate change policy development, Sara Bronin, Chair, ACHP, and Cornell University Fellow, Atkinson Center on Sustainability
  • A Tale of Three Storms: National Park Service superintendent’s super-storm experiences at three NPS historic sites, Dave Luchsinger, former NPS Superintendent
  • Living Above the Street: Flood Retrofitting and Adaptive Streetscape of New York City’s Historic Districts, Ziming Wang, M.S. Columbia University
  • Adapting to Change: How Portland, Maine, Is Dealing with Sea Level Rise, Preserving History, Ian Stevenson, Greater Portland Landmarks & Gulf of Maine Research Institute
  • Southern Maine’s Iconic Villages, Past, Present, and Future: Adapting Historic Resources to Sea Level Rise through Regional Coordination, Abbie Sherman, Southern Maine Planning & Development Commission
  • Increasing Climate Resiliency through Selective Dam Removal While Preserving Our Past, Quinn Stuart and Peter Walker, VHB Cultural and Environmental Services

Conference registration is now open. The $200 conference fee covers all sessions, a welcome reception on Sunday night, continental breakfast, breaks and box lunches on Monday and Tuesday. Those who register before April 1, 2023 receive a 10 percent discount (use code, 22EARLYBIRD).



To receive the KHAW rate at the AC Hotel: