Development of Guidelines for Using Bioextraction Technologies to Manage Nutrients in New Hampshire's Estuarine Waters

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Raymond Grizzle UNH - Jackson Estuarine Lab Principal Investigator
Project goal
Provide the knowledge base needed for further development of technologies involving biological uptake and removal of nutrients (bioextraction) for application to the Great Bay/Piscataqua River estuarine system.
There is a growing literature on bioextraction approaches to managing nutrients in coastal waters, and it includes studies using a variety of species. Bivalve mollusks and macroalgae have received the most attention for several reasons, but perhaps foremost because of their aquaculture potential. A December 2009 workshop at the University of Connecticut, which included speakers from several countries, indicated overall that although bioextraction approaches hold substantial potential there are still many unanswered questions. At the workshop, Rich Langan presented an assessment for bioextraction involving oysters and mussels in the Great Bay/Piscataqua River system. This assessment will provide the starting point for the present review and synthesis of information.
It should be noted that the present proposal is associated with a concurrent proposal (to Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership) for a field experiment that if funded will provide empirical data on nutrient uptake rates needed to better quantify the bioextraction potential of the eastern oyster. An additional proposal that includes experiments involving macroalgae also has been submitted to UNH’s Agricultural Experiment Station. Finally, the present proposal will take advantage of new information resulting from a recently initiated project to determine the potential for expanding shellfish aquaculture in New Hampshire. In sum, these projects will result in a substantial step forward in assessing the role that bioextraction technologies may play in nutrient management in the state’s estuarine waters.
Methods and deliverables
The proposed project mainly will be a literature review, including published and unpublished sources. The overall aim is to glean information that is applicable to our situation in New Hampshire. The overall deliverable will be a technical report that:
1) Identifies the major potential species (plants and animals) that have potential for bioextraction technologies in New Hampshire
2) Identifies aquaculture and other (e.g., restoration of natural populations) approaches that might be appropriate
3) Quantifies the bioextraction potential of different combinations of species and methods
4) Compares (effectiveness and costs) bioextraction technologies to traditional nutrient removal approaches
Researchers Develop Maps for Bioextraction
NHSG-funded researchers have developed maps for suitable habitats and environmental conditions for bioextraction — a method of using seaweeds and oysters to remove excess nutrients from the Great Bay Estuary. These maps are critical and timely tools that municipalities and natural resource agencies can use as they strive to manage nutrient loading for a healthier estuary system.