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Eric Buehl is stepping in as Maryland Sea Grant Extension's new watershed restoration specialist for the state's mid and upper Eastern Shore. Buehl will work with communities, citizen groups, and governments in the region to help improve water quality in the rivers and creeks that feed into the Chesapeake Bay.
In this role Buehl, who has lived on the Eastern Shore since 1989, will serve Maryland's Talbot, Caroline, Queen Anne's, Kent, and Cecil counties. He joins the Extension program's team of five watershed restoration specialists, replacing Dr. Amy Scaroni, who previously held the position.
“We are excited to have Eric joining our Maryland Sea Grant Extension Program," said Dr. Fredrika Moser, director of Maryland Sea Grant. "His expertise in stormwater management and stream restoration, coupled with his experience working with communities on the Eastern Shore, makes him a great addition to our stellar watershed specialists team.”
Sea Grant's watershed restoration specialists have for several years educated Marylanders on the benefits of watershed restoration. They help communities to secure funding to install and monitor projects that capture excess nutrients from stormwater runoff, which have disrupted the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The specialists have aided projects to clean up the Corsica River, design new rain gardens, and help homeowners install rain barrels. Such programs not only improve local water quality but also help communities meet clean water requirements set by federal and state governments.
Buehl has worked on projects related to watershed restoration for close to 15 years. Following high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he worked as an air traffic controller. More recently, he spent 12 years as the land conservation and restoration coordinator at the Center for the Inland Bays in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. There, he oversaw efforts to preserve local habitats and restore the health of streams and other waterways. Buehl received his bachelor of science degree from Wesley College in Dover, Delaware specializing in environmental studies.
Among other roles, Buehl will provide support to the Watershed Stewards Academy in Cecil County. This academy trains men and women to play leadership roles in their communities and implement projects to improve the health of local watersheds. The program was launched in 2014 with the support of Sea Grant Extension specialists.
Buehl says that he was attracted to the specialist position because of its focus on sound science. He looks forward to helping communities take steps to improve their local water quality using the best strategies available -- helping those communities to use their available resources in the most efficient way possible. "The idea of being able to take the research and use that as a basis for what you do ... was very intriguing to me," he says.
The new watershed restoration specialist's love of the Chesapeake Bay goes back a long time. Buehl worked for several years as a kayak tour guide in Easton, Maryland. He also raised two daughters in his home in Queen Anne, Maryland. The town "hasn't changed a lot" since the 1980s, Buehl says. "There are times when we can just sit out on the front porch and, over the course of an hour, maybe 10 cars go by. It's a great place to live."
In addition to Buehl, Sea Grant Extension’s watershed restoration specialists include Amanda Rockler (western Maryland and Washington metropolitan area), Krisztian Varsa (northern Maryland), Jacqueline Takacs (southern Maryland), and Jennifer Dindinger (lower Eastern Shore). To contact them with questions about watershed restoration planning, please visit our watershed specialists page.
Photo credit: Eric Buehl