Coastal Community Development (2002-2013)
Coastal ecosystems are ecologically and economically valuable environments that are subject to multi use demands ranging from food production and the purification of societies' wastes, to flood control, transportation and recreation. These systems provide essential habitat for fish and shellfish that constitute 75% of commercial landings in the United States and provide essential “ecosystem services” valued in the trillions of dollars annually on a global scale. At the same time, these systems have become increasingly threatened by human-induced perturbations. These include non point source pollution, invasive species, coastal development and habitat alteration.
Although New Hampshire is not a particularly populous state (1.3 million residents) and has a relatively short coastline, in many ways it mirrors other coastal states in the pressures of continued population growth and the demographics of that growth. Nearly 75% of New Hampshire residents live within 50 miles of the coast, and the seacoast region has grown at a rate of 10% over the past decade, a rate nearly double that of the rest of the state. Coastal communities, deeply rooted in the resources of the estuaries and ocean coasts that they inhabit, are struggling with how to manage growth and its associated waste streams. The Great Bay estuary is displaying indicators of nutrient over-enrichment, bacterial contamination and habitat loss, while coastal fishermen are dealing with harmful algal bloom related fisheries closures and the unknown effects of proposed offshore sewage outfalls.
- Provide scientifically based information to support the development of regional ecosystem-based management frameworks and strategies for the Gulf of Maine and regional coastal ecosystems.
- Develop and advance approaches for restoration of critical habitats in the Gulf of Maine and regional estuaries.
- Build community capacity, thus allowing citizens to guide coastal development in a way in which the environment is protected and balanced with the economy.
- Identify and evaluate sustainable growth thresholds that coastal communities can use in achieving a balance between environmental and economic sustainability.
- Enhance preparedness and reduce loss of human life, property and environmental resources from coastal natural hazards.
Selected Objectives for 2008-2011
Objective 1: To have 60-70 adult volunteers, 3 junior/senior high school teachers and their students perform chemical and biological water quality sampling as participants of the Great Bay Coast Watch (GBCW).
- Recruit 15 new volunteers each year and maintain 70% of the participants from year to year
- Train new volunteers for each chemical, physical and biological technique
- Oversee the collection and analysis of water samples taken by volunteers at 21 coastal sites 8 times per year
- Perform a minimum of two QAQC lab sessions to certify volunteers
- Develop an annual report and present results at an annual public meeting
- Analyze data and produce the 20-Year Report: 1990-2010
- Maintain partnerships with and seek funding from the NH Department of Environmental Services, NH Estuaries Project and NH Coastal Program
Objective 2: To have appropriate New Hampshire state agencies utilize harmful algal bloom (HAB) data collected by Sea Grant volunteers to make decisions regarding closing of shellfish beds or increase sampling regimes due to the presence of shellfish toxins in coastal waters.
- Monitor seven coastal sites 14 times per year looking for the presence of toxic algal blooms
- Maintain a group of at least 15 volunteers who are trained in techniques for taking and analyzing water samples for algae
- Recruit and train teachers from 2 schools to monitor HAB sampling sites during the school year
- Make at least two public presentations a year to local organizations and the public regarding algal blooms
- Maintain partnerships with the USFDA and the Maine phytoplankton monitoring programs. Support developing programs in other states
Objective 3: At least two coastal communities per year will develop action plans that will enhance protection of key community natural resources.
- Present information to local boards and community members about the effects of development on natural resources and tools for protecting them
- Provide specific education and facilitation to community members wishing to develop action plans and carry out projects related to protecting natural resources from detrimental effects of development
- Continue to track community achievements in natural resource protection that result from community-based programs
Objective 4: At least 100 coastal watershed residents or visitors per year will report gaining knowledge about New Hampshire’s coastal resources, ecosystems, research, stewardship and educational opportunities.
- Conduct 6-10 activity-based Great Bay Discovery Cruises per year to help area residents and visitors learn about the estuary and local research aboard the University’s research vessel
- Write scripts for, record and monitor a low power radio station (Great Bay Area Radio) dedicated to informing the 30,000+ motorists passing by the estuary daily about estuarine natural history, research, educational opportunities and Sea Grant
Objective 5: At least 20 coastal watershed residents per year will adopt at least two new home or lawn care practices designed to protect water quality, particularly by reducing nutrient losses.
- Review up-to-date water quality-oriented nutrient recommendations and craft regionally appropriate messages
- Review social science findings about nutrient application behaviors and influence of opinion leaders, design an intervention to reduce nutrient losses, and produce campaign materials
- Train those determined to be opinion leaders based on task 1 and 2 above to deliver messages that are most likely to reduce nutrient losses
- Assist opinion leaders with delivery of neighborhood outreach campaigns
- Assist social science team with evaluation of message delivery effectiveness
Objective 6: Increased consideration, adoption or promotion of innovative stormwater management by businesses, industries, institutions or municipalities in coastal communities in New Hampshire and New England.
- Coordinate the establishment of an innovative stormwater management demonstration site at a coastal business by working with the business owner, the development team, contractor, UNH Stormwater Center, University faculty and students, and CICEET
- Design, develop, implement and evaluate outreach activities and products (exhibits, signs, tours, educational presentations, printed materials, video clips, podcasts, Web pages, etc.) to reduce the barriers to innovative stormwater management implementation among local decision makers, developers, business owners, institutional administrators, and agency personnel. The demonstration site will provide the backdrop for the outreach activities.
- Produce and offer presentations and posters about the project for national audiences including Sea Grant Coastal Community Specialists, the National NEMO Network, CSREES Water Program, NOAA NERRS, Partners for Smart Growth, Coastal Society, Coastal Zone, and others
Goals for 2004-2007:
- Develop capabilities to monitor and reliably predict the response of Gulf of Maine ecosystems to both natural and anthropogenic factors that may cause these perturbations.
- Identify and link specific land use practices within the coastal watershed that are significantly degrading Gulf of Maine water quality through nutrient and toxic contaminant discharges.
- Determine the environmental and ecological factors primarily responsible for harmful algal blooms (HABs) in the Gulf of Maine.
- Develop techniques and approaches to conserve, improve, restore and create important Gulf of Maine coastal habitats, including seagrass beds, wetlands, mudflats and beach systems.
- Provide scientifically based information, allowing decision-makers to implement policies for sustainable development in coastal areas.
Objective 1: At least 10 New Hampshire communities will implement policies and action plans that result in protection of land, water and open space. Action plans will include both voluntary and regulatory strategies for protecting natural resources and building community support for such.
Background: Local control is an important tradition and practice in New England communities. Most land use decisions are made at the local level by planning board members, conservation commissions and councils. Most local decision makers are civic-minded volunteers who may or may not have any background in natural resource management or environmental planning. With the fast pace of development in coastal areas, these board members are being influenced by many different forces – economic, environmental, social and cultural. Because they play such a direct and influential role in determining what happens to land, water, structures and infrastructure in our communities, it is critical that local decision makers have access to science-based information upon which to make those decisions; a grasp of the basic concepts of how natural systems function; voluntary and regulatory strategies for protecting land and water ecosystems; and capacity to create a common vision and action plan among the various boards and professional municipal staff members for local natural resource and water quality protection.
Since 1998, NH’s Natural Resources Outreach Coalition (NROC) has been providing education and technical assistance to local decision makers on natural resource-based planning in coastal communities. The Coalition is composed of partners representing various local, state, regional and national organizations and agencies such as Sea Grant, Cooperative Extension, the NH Department of Environmental Services, the NH Estuaries Project, the NH Coastal Program, county regional planning commissions and the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. NROC is also an active member of the National NEMO Network.
Objective 2: To have 60-70 adult volunteers and seven junior/senior high school teachers and their students perform chemical and biological water quality sampling as participants of the Great Bay Coast Watch (GBCW).
Background: As concern over the well being of the environment has increased over the last decade, so has the need for scientifically literate residents. Volunteer monitoring programs like GBCW provide an ideal vehicle for the education and empowerment of citizens. Monitoring programs give individuals and families a chance to contribute to the health of the environment by allowing them to understand their personal and community connections to the environment, and teaches them to recognize threats and signs of distress.
Objective 3: To have appropriate NH state agencies utilize harmful algal bloom (HAB) data collected by Sea Grant volunteers to make decisions regarding closing of shellfish beds or increasing sampling regimes due to the presence of shellfish toxins in coastal waters.
Background: Since government agencies have increasingly limited funds for monitoring, volunteers are now an integral part of the ongoing effort to assess the health of our waters. Because of their training and support, GBCW volunteers are a valuable asset to the local and state agencies providing manpower that assists them in meeting their management goals. For several years now, SGEP staff and volunteers have monitored seven sites for HABs under strict quality control and with state support.
- To have at least 100 coastal watershed residents per year report an increase in knowledge about estuaries and estuarine research.
- To have at least 50 coastal watershed residents per year report a greater willingness to participate in additional educational and/or stewardship events about the Great Bay Estuary.
- To have at least 20 coastal watershed residents per year adopt a “new” home or lawn care practice that protects water quality.
Background: Polluted runoff is considered the primary source of water pollution in the country. Coastal areas are no exception and coastal ecosystems are under unprecedented pressure from burgeoning development. The NOAA/UNH Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology (CICEET) is supporting the development and application of innovative technologies for reducing contamination in coastal areas nationwide. CICEET uses the National Estuarine Research Reserves as research stations. NH’s reserve is the Great Bay Estuary. CICEET’s goal is to see helpful technologies move closer to the hands of coastal resource managers where they can be used to help solve coastal pollution problems. While environmental technologies are progressing, many lay audience members are unaware of the importance of estuaries and estuarine research and of what they can do to prevent pollution through their own home practices. With support from CICEET, the NH SGEP is carrying out a number of extension programs related to water quality.
Objective 5: Collaborations with the five other New England Cooperative Extension Water Quality programs will result in at least two regional projects, publications and conferences per year.
Background: The New England Regional Water Quality program of USDA is starting its fourth year. It seeks to improve collaboration within regions on water quality education and outreach being conducted by Land Grant Universities. The New England program has four major focus areas that represent the major educational efforts being conducted within New England Extension programs – Agricultural BMPs, Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring, Residential Pollution Prevention and Community Based Watershed Management. Each state actively participates in at least two of the focus areas.
CAW responds to storm and stormwater related issues in N.H. coastal communities
N.H. Sea Grant and scientists partner with municipal leaders to reduce nitrogen in Great Bay
The Nitrogen Sources Collaborative Advisory Board is a team of leaders from New Hampshire’s coastal communities who have been working with UNH scientists, N.H. Sea Grant and the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve to better understand nitrogen sources and pathways to Great Bay, a nitrogen impaired estuary. After helping to shape research questions and meeting regularly with scientists to learn about research findings, the advisory board met with NHSG and partners in December 2013 to discuss how to create meaningful research products that would help municipalities throughout the Seacoast reduce nitrogen runoff. The advisory board will meet with the project team again in spring 2014 to review draft products. During this period, NHSG also published a digital newsletter for the project. Over 125 people receive Nitrogen Sources Newsbytes, which provides easy-to-understand science-based information on non-point sources of nitrogen to local decision-makers, resource managers, organizations and Seacoast community members.
N.H. Sea Grant and partners work with community leaders to initiate green infrastructure demonstrations
Following two requests for proposals developed by N.H. Sea Grant and its regional partners and distributed to communities in spring and fall 2013, eleven applications for green infrastructure projects were received from communities throughout the N.H. coastal watershed. Three communities were awarded projects in the spring and three more in the fall. As a result, proposed implementation projects are now or will soon be under way and span a suite of green infrastructure approaches, including ordinance and regulation changes to enhance stormwater management; a snow dump infrastructure retrofit; a neighborhood-wide stormwater education program coupled with rain garden installations, downspout redirection, rain barrel distribution, and environmentally friendly lawn care programming; an audit to link low impact development strategies with municipal facilities; and a bioretention structure project.
N.H. Sea Grant partners with brook restoration project to promote stormwater management with rain gardens
Rain gardens are bioretention areas that help infiltrate and filter stormwater as well as add aesthetic and ecological value to a property. Collaborating with agriculture specialists from UNH Cooperative Extension, state agency nonpoint source pollution program staff and the Hodgson Brook Restoration Project coordinator, N.H. Sea Grant staff presented information about the benefits and how-tos of rain gardens to more than 35 participants at a workshop. Hodgson Brook is an impaired urban stream and is a significant contributor of contaminants to the Great Bay Estuary. The May 2013 workshop included installation of a rain garden in a neighborhood within the impaired stream’s watershed, which is targeted for innovative stormwater management installations. Neighborhood-based projects are helping disseminate innovative stormwater management techniques at the residential scale.
N.H. Sea Grant helps coastal communities manage threats to water resources
N.H. Sea Grant’s coastal community development staff educate communities about the connections between land use and water quality and quantity. Community leaders are especially concerned over a recent EPA designated impairment for nitrogen in N.H.’s Great Bay Estuary. This impairment is likely to affect municipal budgets by requiring wastewater treatment facility upgrades and is motivating interest in lower cost methods for reducing polluted runoff. Working with other members of the Natural Resource Outreach Coalition (NROC) during 2013, Sea Grant provided information and facilitation to community leaders wishing to reduce polluted runoff within their jurisdictions, often by presenting to town boards or at events hosted by town boards such as the Stratham Conservation Commission in April. NROC is a member of the National NEMO Network and is modifying its traditional NEMO programming in response to changing needs. The primary drivers of water resource protection and restoration activities at the municipal scale have changed over recent years with more focus on the designated impairment and the effects of severe storms and a changing climate. Consequently, New Hampshire’s NROC team is reassessing community needs, retooling approaches and working to leverage additional resources to address an evolving landscape of coastal community needs. N.H. Sea Grant is one of three organizations (including UNH Cooperative Extension and the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership) leading the coordination and collaboration among NROC team members involved in supporting the 42 watershed communities.
N.H. Sea Grant brings people around the table with weTables
Following a presentation on weTables at the national Sea Grant Climate Network conference in April 2013, N.H. Sea Grant secured funds to purchase equipment for two weTable setups. WeTables are an innovative technology combining LCD projectors with Nintendo Wii remotes for an interactive interface, making mapping exercises fun while recording community input in real-time. NHSG staff led several weTable trainings for colleagues and partners and started how-to guidance documents for weTable use. Sea Grant has included the use of weTables in several project proposals and intends to use them in communities in 2014.
N.H. Sea Grant provides natural resource management training
N.H. Sea Grant and UNH Cooperative Extension played a major role in educating numerous natural resource professionals and volunteers within the state during 2013. Sea Grant staff often serve as trainers on coastal and water resource topics. For example, NHSG coastal community development staff presented information on stormwater concepts and management in the Natural Resources Stewards training course, a credit course offered through the local technical college, for approximately 30 professionals and volunteers. The November 2013 presentation was based on a community guide, Protecting Water Resources and Managing Stormwater: A Bird's Eye View in New Hampshire and Throughout New England, developed by Sea Grant in conjunction with the UNH Stormwater Center and Cooperative Extension. The training included use of the Watershed Game, which was developed by the Northland Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO) team to help course participants learn about nutrient loading and reductions based on implementing best practices as well as the necessity for watershed-wide action in order to reduce actual pollutant loads. The UNH Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners are another volunteer group that plays a particularly important role in helping to disseminate landscape and gardening practices that are more water quality-friendly. About 28 master gardeners in N.H. participated in a NHSG-led training session about stormwater concepts in October of 2013.
N.H. Sea Grant and Cooperative Extension promote sound lawn care
Because they surround a nitrogen-impaired estuary, communities in coastal New Hampshire want help educating their residents about reducing polluted runoff. N.H. Sea Grant staff worked with UNH Cooperative Extension agricultural specialists in N.H. and Connecticut to provide information about lawn care practices that lead to healthy turf and high quality waters. A 2006-2010 regional project created the opportunity to integrate turf, water resources and social science findings. In 2013, N.H. Sea Grant extension and communications staff developed an information sheet that concisely outlines recommendations for lawn care framed for do-it-yourselfers based on the research findings. A digital version of the sheet is available on the NHSG website and distributed and promoted to communities. This publication provided science-based guidance for statewide and northeast regional initiatives motivated by nutrient over-enrichment of water resources. The regional project, information sheets and lawn care campaign designs help establish NHSG and UNH Cooperative Extension as key contributors to pollution reduction efforts and campaigns. During 2013 NHSG extension staff were invited to help develop the N.H. Department of Environmental Services Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Plan as required by EPA, and participate in stakeholder meetings for the Northeast Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission’s fertilizer initiative. In 2013, NHSG staff created a lawn campaign mind map to illustrate how social science findings can be used in a watershed-wide nonpoint source pollution reduction effort, which is providing a blueprint for a potential future effort being explored by NHSG and its partners.
N.H. Sea Grant’s new website facilitates interactions with the program’s stakeholders
Launched in 2013, N.H. Sea Grant’s new Drupal-based website has improved the flow of information to the program’s many audiences. Incorporating both the former program website and the UNH/NHSG Marine Docent Program website, the new site allows staffers to maintain their own portions of the site and thus makes it more responsive to multiple users. It also features social media, becoming a two-way avenue of communication.
Publication provides tips to ensure lawncare is water quality friendly
N.H. Sea Grant produced a two-page information sheet and identical pamphlet, “Green Grass and Clear Water,” in 2013. The publications provide information to homeowners on ways to take care of their lawn while minimally impacting the quality of water nearby. The information sheet has been uploaded to the N.H. Sea Grant web site where other partnering organizations have accessed it and distributed it electronically to the public and their stakeholders. The hardcopy pamphlet will be available at local home improvement shops where lawn fertilizer is sold to help inform homeowners at the point of sale.
RESPONSE: In 2012 using leveraged funding, New Hampshire Sea Grant staff and partners applied a modified version of the NOAA Roadmap (a participatory community-based process) to assist Newfields, a coastal watershed community, to assess its climate vulnerabilities, identify priorities and take steps to improve its preparedness for climate effects.
N.H. Sea Grant Attracts Gardeners to Innovative Stormwater Management with Rain Gardens
Rain gardens are bioretention areas that help infiltrate and filter stormwater as well as add aesthetic and ecological value to a property. In consultation with agriculture specialists from UNH Cooperative Extension and stormwater engineers from the UNH Stormwater Center, N.H. Sea Grant staff presented information about the benefits and how-tos of rain gardens to more than 60 gardeners in two states during 2012. Master Gardeners and garden club members are considered influential opinion leaders on gardening topics and are the target for past and future trainings because they can be instrumental in helping disseminate innovative stormwater management techniques at the residential scale.
Launched in 2012, Green Infrastructure for Sustainable Coastal Communities is a two-year project aimed at helping N.H. coastal watershed communities utilize Green Infrastructure (GI, e.g., low-impact development, rain gardens, riparian buffers) as a common practice to manage stormwater. In recognition of the added value of engaging with end-users early and often, N.H. Sea Grant and project partners convened a stakeholder advisory board to cultivate GI “champions” and to inform the implementation of the project. The advisory board consists of various town staff and community leaders, and will be instrumental in guiding the installation of GI demonstration sites and popularizing GI trainings around the coastal watershed. From the first advisory board meeting, NHSG collected input from stakeholders that led directly to changes in the project, such as focusing heavily on two communities for implementation of GI rather than lightly on 12 communities as planned, and concentrating efforts on communities that are motivated and prepared. Stakeholders also conjured the concept of the “complete community approach,” wherein GI is implemented at the municipal, business and property owner level in each target community. This advisory board will be a significant benefit for institutionalizing GI in the coastal watershed, in effect enhancing water quality and reducing costs associated with stormwater from erosion, flooding and water pollution.
N.H. Sea Grant Helps Coastal Communities Focus on Current Threats to Water Resources
NHSG’s coastal community development staff educates communities about the connections between land use and water quality and quantity. Community leaders are concerned about an EPA designated impairment for nitrogen in N.H.’s Great Bay Estuary. This impairment is likely to affect municipal budgets by requiring wastewater treatment facility upgrades and is inspiring interest in lower cost methods for reducing polluted runoff. Working through the Natural Resource Outreach Coalition (NROC), N.H. Sea Grant provides information and facilitation to community leaders considering how best to reduce polluted runoff within their jurisdictions. Coastal communities have also suffered the effects of recent storm events and are anticipating the effects of a changing climate. NROC is serving as the outreach purveyor for N.H.’s Coastal Adaptation Workgroup (CAW), a coalition of agencies and organizations who support coastal communities wishing to increase their ability to adapt to a changing climate and improve their community resilience. Working with NROC ensures that communities benefit from a team of local specialists with access to research-based information and tools and with whom they have likely worked before and trust. For coastal community development work, 2012 has been a ground-building year as it has evolved to address more specific water resource protection and as NROC took on the role of outreach leader for the Coastal Adaptation Workgroup.
N.H. Sea Grant Trains Natural Resource Professionals and Volunteers
NHSG and UNH Cooperative Extension played a major role in educating numerous natural resource professionals and volunteers within the state during 2012. Sea Grant staff often served as trainers on coastal and water resource topics. For example, coastal community development staff presented information on stormwater management in the Natural Resources Stewards training course, a credit course offered through the local technical college, for approximately 30 professionals and volunteers. The presentation was based on a community guide, Protecting Water Resources and Managing Stormwater: A Bird's Eye View in New Hampshire and Throughout New England, developed by Sea Grant in conjunction with the UNH Stormwater Center and Cooperative Extension. The training included use of The Watershed Game developed by the Northland Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO) team to help course participants learn about nutrient loading and reductions based on implementing best practices as well as the necessity of watershed-wide action in order to reduce actual pollutant loads.
N.H. Sea Grant and Partners Respond to Storm and Stormwater Related Issues
Coastal communities in New Hampshire are experiencing the effects of a changing climate and severe storms in recent years. Many environmental, social and economic concerns are related to the effects of severe weather, municipal infrastructure and stormwater runoff. N.H. Sea Grant works with the New Hampshire Natural Resources Outreach Coalition (NROC) to deliver education, technical assistance and facilitation to coastal communities on development related issues. NROC has become the outreach leader for New Hampshire’s Coastal Adaptation Workgroup (CAW), a coalition composed of representatives from 19 federal, state, regional, municipal and academic institutions. CAW members deliver adaptation outreach to broad audiences through events like its workshops series, Water, Weather, Climate and Community and its website, newsletter and blog located within StormSmart Coasts, an online resource for coastal decision makers. CAW also conducts targeted outreach through specific funded projects. CAW held its first workshop in 2010 and two more each in 2011 and 2012. The 2012 workshops introduced a regional climate assessment, Climate Change in the Piscataqua/Great Bay Region: Past, Present and Future and N.H. based examples of climate adaptation. By the end of 2012, CAW had worked with representatives from over 25 communities in three different states. The sixth workshop on Building Resilience through Better Floodplain Management is scheduled for spring 2013. Since its inception, CAW has generated increases in knowledge, motivation and confidence levels related to climate adaptation as reported by over 200 community participants; and documented community changes in capacity building (human, financial and technical resources), data and information access, planning tools, regulation and policies, and voluntary actions for over 15 communities.
Green Grass and Clear Water represents a suite of educational products (articles, presentations, video clips and a brochure) that result from a USDA funded grant that supported plant science research on nutrient management for turf as well as social science research of lawn care practices and willingness of do-it-yourselfers to adopt more water-quality friendly practices throughout New England. The research was conducted between 2006-2010, however, outreach products based on the research continue to be developed and used with various audiences. In 2011, N.H. Sea Grant/Cooperative Extension specialists adapted the information and created materials, specifically for Master Gardener trainings.
NROC Initiatives Impact Coastal Water Quality in N.H.
NHSG is part of the Natural Resource Outreach Coalition (NROC), a team of representatives of various agencies and organizations that works with communities to promote better land use decisions for water quality within the coastal watershed of New Hampshire. In 2010, NROC worked with the Lamprey River Watershed Association to develop an outreach plan and facilitate three public gatherings to gauge and gather support for nomination of the river to the N.H. Rivers Management Program. The river nomination was accepted, which will allow for the development of a watershed-wide advisory committee to better manage and protect the river, which drains into the Great Bay Estuary.
N.H. Sea Grant is capitalizing on its relationship with UNH Cooperative Extension and extension programs throughout the region to conduct trainings on sustainable landscaping practices and encourage communities to promote these sustainable practices. In 2010, over 100 professional landscapers, Master Gardeners, municipal stormwater managers and gardening enthusiasts attended workshops on water quality-friendly lawn care and rain garden installations. The workshops were delivered by Sea Grant water specialists, Cooperative Extension agricultural specialists and stormwater engineers. Over 70% of post-training questionnaire respondents indicated their intention to change at least one practice or install one rain garden in the coming year.
The CCD specialist developed a proposal in conjunction with the UNH Stormwater Center, the city of Portsmouth and N.H. Division of Forests and Lands to explore the effectiveness of urban tree box filters on stormwater quality and to develop accompanying outreach materials. The project takes advantage of reconstruction of a highly visible street in downtown Portsmouth. The project proposal was submitted in 2009 and awarded in 2010. Construction is under way.
Sea Grant Extension staff are an integral part of New Hampshire’s Natural Resource Outreach Coalition (NROC). This group includes representatives from 10 agencies and organizations that have been working with NH coastal communities since the late 1990s to promote better land use decisions. NROC provides education, technical assistance and facilitation to community groups thus helping them to better protect their key natural resources while accommodating growth. Over the past year, communities have accomplished the following with Sea Grant extension assistance:
- The town of Wakefield contracted services for a synthesis of their existing water quality data and hosted a public forum for community members to inform them about the status of their waters.
- Community members in the town of Rollinsford initiated a volunteer water quality monitoring program for their rivers and hosted a stream clean up.
- Community members in the town of Fremont reached out to 35 large parcel land owners to inform them about land conservation.
- Community members in the town of Milton organized a steering committee to start their community-based natural resource protection program.
Great Bay Coast Watch (GBCW) volunteers monitored 20 sites in Great Bay Estuary for water quality parameters, seven of which have been monitored since 1990. Currently, the GBCW is New Hampshire’s most wide-ranging program for direct citizen involvement in monitoring estuarine and coastal waters. It is a component of our Sea Grant Extension Program. Information gathered about estuarine water quality supports efforts to protect and preserve estuarine waters as well as wetland habitats, which is a top priority of statewide conservation efforts. Monitoring also engages volunteers in water quality issues that affect their own communities.
Overall bacteria levels increased this year, though not to previous highs. This year, 24% of GBCW fecal coliform samples were >40 counts/100ml, compared to 20% in 2005. In 2006, GBCW data showed that there were 13 instances of fecal coliform geomean results above the 40 counts/100 ml limit, compared to two in 2005.
GBCW volunteers also monitor five coastal sites for harmful algal blooms (HABs) weekly from April through October. The goal of the phytoplankton monitoring program is to act as an early warning system for HABs, commonly known as red tides, by identifying the presence of potentially toxic phytoplankton species in coastal waters.
NH Sea Grant is part of a two-year NOAA/NOSG regional effort to provide educational programming to address aquatic nuisance species (ANS) in the Gulf of Maine. The UNH portion of the effort centers around the development of a training program for recreational divers that educates them on the issue, trains them to identify 10 of the species of greatest concern, and provides them with information about reporting their sightings to the New England ANS database.
Fueled by a 12% population increase in the 1990s, NH is experiencing rapid land use changes resulting from development pressures. Although there is broad public support within the state for land and water conservation, community leaders are mainly volunteers without extensive backgrounds in natural resources or other disciplines related to land use and water quality. In response to this situation, Sea Grant Extension staff developed a comprehensive Land and Water Conservation Program intended to assist NH communities manage growth in ways that protect the environment, maintain community character and energize local economies. In collaboration with 10 state/regional agencies and organizations, this statewide, multidisciplinary extension program has resulted in more than 50 communities improving their ability to protect natural resources and manage growth.
The more notable documented impacts can be grouped into the following categories:
- Growing community capacity – this category describes actions communities take to improve their capacity to address issues by increasing their human, financial or technical resources. Examples include establishing new commissions or committees, adding new members to boards and committees, applying for grants, seeking education that will help them achieve their goals, and engaging other towns, organizations or agencies. Three communities were especially successful in this area, including the city of Dover, which, after establishing a process for natural resource protection and setting priorities for land conservation, raised $2 million for land protection through a bond. The town of Candia formed an open space committee to address land protection issues. It raised $200,000 at town meeting to complete the purchase of an 82-acre property for conservation. Working with UNHCE staff, the town of Strafford formed three new subcommittees – water quality, land protection and growth management – with 38 residents, resulting in better management of their natural resources.
- Gathering information and conducting research – this category describes actions communities take to improve their background knowledge for future decision making. These actions help provide local data upon which rational land use plans and decisions can be based. It includes conducting natural resource inventories, conducting surveys, soliciting fiscal analyses, etc. Fifteen communities took actions in this category, including the town of Stratham, which conducted a private well survey to which 50% of the dwellings responded, and the city of Somersworth, which completed a set of natural resource inventory maps and started a water quality monitoring program.
- Natural resource based-planning – this category describes actions communities take to ensure that the way they wish to grow has been articulated and documented. This includes actions such as revising master plans and developing open space, conservation or watershed plans. Ten communities took action here, including the town of Barrington, which developed an open space and recreation plan for inclusion in its master plan, and the town of Newfields, which identified specific landowners interested in land conservation options and has begun working with them.
- Moving from decisions to actions – this category describes actions communities take to actually implement natural resource protection strategies. It includes permanent land conservation and the installation of various low impact designs and best management practices such as gravel wetlands, rain gardens, porous pavements, buffers, etc. Eight communities have taken action here, including the town of Exeter, which formed a special place committee that led town efforts to raise $3 million in bond funds for land protection projects. These funds were used to purchase two properties and conservation easements on six others, totaling 800 acres.
In the spring of 2005, the New England coastline from the Canadian border to Cape Cod experienced a severe red tide outbreak that closed shellfish beds for two months. Our volunteer phytoplankton monitors, who are part of the larger Sea Grant Great Bay Coast Watch (GBCW) program, were among the first to identify the red tide organisms. During the next two months they provided weekly updates to the NH Department of Environmental Services, the Mass. Water Resources Authority, and Woods Hole scientists, who were all attempting to document the strength and extent of the bloom. NOAA also requested their data when it was determining the need for emergency funding to expand offshore sampling.
This past year, Sea Grant Extension staff provided assistance to a boat-based education and science program in Massachusetts that was expanding into phytoplankton monitoring. The staff was guided in equipment purchases, supplied with the GBCW Phytoplankton Monitoring Manual, trained in phytoplankton monitoring methods, and connected with the appropriate Massachusetts agency that would utilize their observations. Phytoplankton monitoring is now included in the curriculum offered by this outreach program.
Extension Specialist Julia Peterson continues to provide education and training to residents and officials in NH’s 43 coastal watershed communities. Peterson works collaboratively through an organization, NH’s Natural Resource Outreach Coalition (NROC), to educate municipal decision-makers about the connections between land use and water quality. NROC was established in 1999 and, in addition to NH Sea Grant, its members include: the NH Coastal Program, the NH Office of State Planning, the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, the NH Estuaries Project, the NH Department of Environmental Services, regional planning commissions, the National NEMO Network and others.
Over the past year, three new towns were added to the 12 that have already received training in such areas as mapping natural resources, GIS, open space protection, smart growth and strategies for protecting valuable natural resources. Along with other NROC members, Peterson has developed impact statements to summarize what communities have done as a result of working with NROC. Impacts include development of open space plans, establishment or revitalization of strategic lands committees, initiation of public outreach projects, and conducting well surveys to determine groundwater supply and quality issues. This past year she began incorporating Smart Growth concepts such as village development, density per acre of developed land, and conservation subdivisions into presentations and follow-up workshops. These Smart Growth concepts were learned as part of the joint NOAA/Sea Grant/EPA training for Sea Grant Extension staff last year.
Our 85-member volunteer citizen’s water quality monitoring program, Great Bay Coast Watch (GBCW), assisted the NH Coastal Program and NH Department of Environmental Services with stream/shoreline surveys each of the past five years. The data has been collected into a GBCW database and is used by the two agencies to identify pollution “hot spots” and to create priority lists for future projects.
Through the Sea Grant Coastal Communities Initiative, Extension Specialist Julia Peterson continues to be an active participant in NH’s Natural Resources Outreach Coalition (NROC). The purpose of this effort is to train local decision makers in GIS technology and provide them with science-based information to help them better understand the connections between land use and water quality. Since 1999, 12 seacoast towns have been involved with the program. As a result, these coastal towns have among other things developed open space plans, conducted natural resources inventories, updated stormwater maps, sponsored educational workshops on natural resources protection in their communities, and written grant proposals seeking resource protection funds. Sea Grant/Cooperative Extension staff are currently developing a comprehensive evaluation tool for documenting the outcomes of NROC work. Peterson also participated in a joint NOAA/EPA training program on Smart Growth. As a result, she will be part of a team that will expand upon a pilot NH Smart Growth program to the 43 coastal watershed communities.
Great Bay Cost Watch (GBCW) is a volunteer, water quality monitoring program that has been active under the Sea Grant/Cooperative Extension portfolio for 15 years. Staff (Ann Reid and Sharon Meeker) have been successful in gaining external support for the program, which continues to monitor 21 sites for water quality and six sites for phytoplankton algal blooms. This past year formal evaluations indicated that 73% of those who requested and used the GBCW data set found it to be either very or exceptionally useful, while 60% found the spatial distribution also to be either very or exceptionally useful. The types of parameters monitored as well as the quality of the data were also rated highly with 86% responding that they were useful/very useful or exceptional.
Through the Coastal Community Initiative, Sea Grant Extension Educator Julia Peterson has been working with both municipal officials and the public on programs designed to provide them with the tools and techniques for protecting natural resources while managing growth in the coastal environment. The Natural Resources Outreach Coalition (NROC), a multi-agency organization in New Hampshire’s seacoast, utilizes GIS technology and science-based information to help decision-makers better understand the connection between land use and water quality. Sea Grant Extension has assumed leadership and coordination of this group, which over the past two years has worked closely with nine towns on growth issues. As a result of the educational programs offered through NROC, coastal towns have developed Open Space Plans, formed committees to address natural resources protection, written grants to support protections of open space, and developed priorities for resource protection.
Sea Grant Extension also offers programs to decision-makers on the use of GIS and GPS technology. They have used these technologies to conduct natural resource inventories and wetlands assessments, locate potential nonpoint sources of pollution, create water quality monitoring maps and identify wildlife habitat.
The UNH/NOAA Cooperative Institute for Estuarine Environmental Technology (CICEET) provides support to NH Sea Grant for outreach work that supports the mission of both programs. Over the past year, Extension staff carried out several projects that related to water quality and estuarine processes. Seven Great Bay Discovery Cruises were offered to 175 participants. These four-hour cruises aboard the UNH research vessel, Gulf Challenger, use hands-on activities to acquaint participants with water quality issues, estuarine habitats and estuarine research. Evaluation results this past year indicated that the cruises are a particularly valuable tool for extending information about estuarine research to coastal residents and raising interest in and concern about them.
The Better Backyard/Better Bay workshops were offered to 50 coastal residents this year. The workshops teach home and landowners specific tips for reducing sources of nonpoint pollution around the home and yard. The vast majority of attendees report learning anywhere from a little to a lot about ways to reduce this type of pollution. They also reported that they will “think more about their household impact on water pollution.” Somewhat fewer reported that they will “share information [they’ve] learned with family, friends and neighbors,” and close to half reported that they will “adopt one to three new practices” to reduce their potential input to NPSP.
Sea Grant Extension teamed with educators from the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve on a CICEET/NERR Technology Transfer Workshop. The objective of the workshop was for teams of CICEET principal investigators, end users of the technology, and NERR/Sea Grant outreach staff to create plans for moving the CICEET technology towards application. Three teams attended, three plans were drawn up and each team received $1000 to start work on their plans. Responses from the attendees indicate that they found the general sessions helpful and found the work sessions even more helpful to create a plan.
Available from the National Sea Grant Library (use NHU number to search) or NH Sea Grant
- The Great Bay Coast Watch 2004 Annual Report (2005). Karen Diamond, Candace Dolan, Lewis Moore and Ann Reid.
- Great Bay Coast Watch: monitoring water quality and phytoplankton in New Hampshire coastal waters (2002). Sharon Meeker and Ann Reid.
- Phytoplankton monitoring program 2001 report (2002).
- Great Bay Coast Watch 06-07 NHCP WQ and phytoplankton final report (2007). Mark Wiley and Ann Reid.
- Great Bay Coast Watch NHEP support for DES shellfish program 2005 (2005). Ann Reid, Candace Dolan and Karen Diamond.
- Educating and monitoring for water quality and phytoplankton in New Hampshire estuaries (2006). Ann Reid, Karen Diamond and Candace Dolan.
- The Great Bay Coast Watch 2001 Annual Report (2002). Ann Reid, Sharon Meeker, Bill Pagum, Karen Diamond and Candace Dolan.
- The Great Bay Coast Watch 2002 Annual Report (2003). Ann Reid, Sharon Meeker, Candace Dolan, Amber Perkins, Bill Pagum and Karen Diamond.
- UNH Great Bay Coast Watch volunteer phytoplankton monitoring and outreach project: A final report to the New Hampshire Coastal Program (2003). Sharon Meeker and Ann Reid.
- Great Bay Coast Watch: supporting GBCW volunteer training and program management (2007). Mark Wiley and Ann Reid.
- UNH Great Bay Coast Watch involvement in the New Hampshire Estuaries Project: A final report to the New Hampshire Estuaries Project (2003). Sharon Meeker and Ann Reid.
- Great Bay Coast Watch: water quality and phytoplankton final report (2008). Mark Wiley and Ann Reid.
- Setting goals, redefining boundaries: How New Hampshire's coastal watershed communities are addressing growth (2006). Amanda Stone and Julia Peterson.
- The Great Bay Coast Watch 2003 Annual Report (2004). Ann Reid, Sharon Meeker, Candace Dolan, Karen Diamond, Bill Pagum, Amber Perkins and Steve Cooper.
- The Great Bay Coast Watch 2005 Annual Report (2006). Karen Diamond, Candace Dolan and Ann Reid.
- GBCW support for shellfish activities 2003 (2003). Sharon Meeker and Ann Reid.
- GBCW monitoring water quality and phytoplankton 7/1/03-6/30/04: A final report to the New Hampshire Coastal Program (2004). Sharon Meeker and Ann Reid.
- The Great Bay Coast Watch 2006 annual report (2007). Karen Diamond, Candace Dolan and Ann Reid.
- NHCP stream survey presentations: final report (2004). Karen Diamond, Sharon Meeker and Ann Reid.
- Great Bay Coast Watch Storm Sampling at Berry's Brook, Rye, N.H. (2007). Mark Wiley and Ann Reid.
- Great Bay Coast Watch and Dover stormwater investigation for potential pollution sources in Dover, NH, final report (2004). Sharon Meeker, Ann Reid and Karen Diamond.
- A report on the seacoast regional wastewater outfall study forum, March 7, 2005 (2005). Rebecca Perkins.
- UNH Great Bay Coast Watch involvement in the NH Estuaries Project (2002). Sharon Meeker and Ann Reid.
- Great Bay Coast Watch: monitoring the meadows of the seas (2002).
- How is southeastern New Hampshire growing? (2003).
- Great Bay Discovery Cruise pocket guide
- Protecting water resources and managing stormwater (2010). Julia Peterson, Amanda Stone, James Houle and Rob Roseen.
- The Great Bay Coast Watch guide to common Gulf of Maine phytoplankton (2006). Steve Cooper and Candace Dolan.
- Great Bay Coast Watch standard operating procedures: phytoplankton monitoring program (2007). Ann Reid, Candace Dolan, Karen Diamond and Steve Cooper.
- Great Bay Coast Watch standard operating procedures--phytoplankton monitoring program 2006 (2006). Ann Reid, Candace Dolan, Karen Diamond and Steve Cooper.
- Great Bay Coast Watch--A citizen water monitoring program, volunteer water quality monitoring manual 2006 (2006). Anita Hayden, Sharon Meeker, Ann Reid, Jeff Schloss, Steve Cooper, Karen Diamond, Candace Dolan and Amber Perkins.
- Great Bay Coast Watch volunteer training enhancement 2003 (2003). Sharon Meeker and Ann Reid.
- Great Bay Watch: A citizens water monitoring program manual 1998 (1998). Sharon Meeker, Ann Reid, Jeff Schloss and Anita Hayden.
- Great Bay Coast Watch--A citizen water monitoring program (2002). Sharon Meeker, Ann Reid, Jeff Schloss and Anita Hayden.
- Great Bay Coast Watch--A citizen water monitoring program (2004). Sharon Meeker, Ann Reid, Jeff Schloss, Anita Hayden, Amber Perkins, Steve Cooper and Karen Diamond.
- Great Bay Coast Watch a citizen water monitoring program, volunteer water quality monitoring manual 2005 (2005). Anita Hayden, Sharon Meeker, Ann Reid, Jeff Schloss, Steve Cooper, Karen Diamond, Candace Dolan and Amber Perkins.
- GBCW standard operating procedures--phytoplankton monitoring program (2005). Ann Reid, Candace Dolan, Karen Diamond and Steve Cooper.
- Great Bay Coast Watch standard operating procedures: phytoplankton monitoring program (2008). Ann Reid, Candace Dolan, Karen Diamond and Steve Cooper.
- What's going on with NH's clam harvesting opportunities? (2004). Candace Dolan.
- Green grass and clear water (2013). Julia Peterson.