New Extension Specialist Will Serve Northern Maryland

May 4, 2017
photo of Kelsey Brooks

Kelsey Brooks is the newest regional watershed restoration specialist for Maryland Sea Grant Extension, serving Baltimore City and Baltimore, Carroll, and Harford Counties.

Brooks will work with communities, citizen groups, and governments to help improve water quality in the rivers, streams, and creeks that flow into the Chesapeake Bay.

She joins the Extension program’s team of five watershed restoration specialists, succeeding Krisztian Varsa, who previously held the position.

Sea Grant’s watershed restoration specialists educate Marylanders about practical measures they can take to help restore the Chesapeake Bay’s watershed and improve the estuary’s water quality. For example, the specialists help communities to secure funding to install projects that reduce stormwater runoff, which carries excessive amounts of nutrients into the Chesapeake Bay where they have fostered the development of low-oxygen “dead zones.”

Brooks previously worked as a MS4 stormwater specialist for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, initially as a contractor through Virginia Tech, providing technical assistance to more than 100 permit holders running municipal stormwater collection systems. Before that, she worked on several projects as a graduate student in New Jersey to mitigate flooding and encourage redevelopment of brownfields (sites that are underutilized because they are, or are perceived to be, contaminated).

She received a master’s degree from Rutgers University in city and regional planning with a concentration in environmental and physical planning. She earned a bachelor’s degree in ecology and evolutionary biology from Princeton University.

“I pursued my master’s because I was interested in and wanted to contribute to making urban spaces more sustainable and lessen the impact those spaces have on natural resources," Brooks says. "I’m excited that this position will allow me to do that. I’m excited to help create connections and opportunities that have tangible impacts on water quality and the Bay."

In addition to Brooks, Sea Grant Extension’s watershed restoration specialists include Eric Buehl (upper and middle Eastern Shore), Jennifer Dindinger (lower Eastern Shore), Amanda Rockler (western Maryland and Washington metropolitan area), and Jacqueline Takacs (southern Maryland). To contact them with questions about watershed restoration planning and projects in your area, please visit Maryland Sea Grant’s watershed specialists page.



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