In 2009, most of the Great Bay Estuary was placed on New Hampshire’s 303(d) list for impairments associated with total nitrogen, namely, low dissolved oxygen, macroalgae blooms, and declining eelgrass beds. A recent analysis indicated that nonpoint sources account for about 68% of the nitrogen. Model outputs indicate that the primary contributors are atmospheric deposition (33%), human waste from septic systems (27%), chemical fertilizer (27%), and animal waste, mostly from livestock (13%) (GBNPSS, 2013). Thus, New Hampshire’s coastal communities are faced with many challenges related to managing stormwater.
How Sea Grant Can Help
In response, NH Sea Grant works with communities to promote proven strategies for managing stormwater including land conservation, maintaining and enhancing riparian buffers, minimizing effective impervious cover, and low impact development. Stormwater management is a complex and multi-faceted issue requiring involvement across multiple sectors of a community, from landowners and businesses to institution managers and municipal board members.
NH Sea Grant helps communities by facilitating inclusive processes across these sectors by delivering information about the effectiveness of various strategies and by providing assistance in implementing stormwater management strategies.
Working very closely with partners is an important element of NH Sea Grant’s strategy in delivering assistance to coastal communities. The primary partners are UNH Cooperative Extension and the NH Natural Resources Outreach Coalition (NROC). NROC is a multi-agency/organization coalition that formed in 1999 to provide coastal municipal officials with coordinated assistance for their natural resource protection needs.