Each year the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognizes organizations and individuals for their contributions to environmental awareness and problem solving and who have demonstrated particular ingenuity and commitment. Linda Schier, Executive Director of the Acton Wakefield Watersheds Alliance, was among the 28 recipients so honored this year. As expressed by the E.P.A. “Linda Schier brings people together with a persistence and devotion to water quality protection and restoration that are inspirational to those who work with her.”
Linda was one of the founders, in 2005, of the Acton Wakefield Watersheds Alliance which is at the headwaters of the Salmon Falls River, the source of drinking water for 47,000 people in Maine and New Hampshire. Her work included the establishment of a Youth Conservation Corps which hires local youths who install erosion controls on the shore land properties of cooperating homeowners and towns. In 2012 alone, the Corps installed 125 Best Management Practices (BMPs) and prevented 48 tons of sediment and 40 pounds of phosphorus from entering local water bodies.
The Salmon Falls Headwater Management Plan was a huge project funded by Linda’s efforts to procure grants and her direction resulted in the plan which created a water quality picture of the five lakes and ponds that are approaching critical thresholds of phosphorus.
The E.P.A. tribute went on to praise Linda for inspiring “…more than 100 citizens to help identify 491 sites that contribute excess phosphorus to the project waterways. Schier works with local schools and lake associations n Maine and New Hampshire to protect local waterways. Communities and the water resources have benefitted from her devotion and persistence.”