Portsmouth, NH – Back in 2003, an estimated 32 percent of the Hodgson Brook watershed was already covered by impervious surfaces. That meant trouble for the brook and South Mill Pond, the surface water it feeds. When even just 10 percent of a watershed becomes covered by driveways, roads, parking lots, and buildings, water quality can suffer. Experts at the Center for Water Protection predict that severe degradation can occur when 25 percent of watershed becomes covered in these types of surfaces.
The proliferation of impervious surfaces in a watershed can impair the land’s natural ability to absorb stormwater, resulting in an increase in run-off pollution. Stormwater run-off is known to contribute to elevated pollution, nutrient, and bacterial levels in Hodson Brook. Luckily, a growing number of local residents are hard at work implementing hands on solutions to run-off pollution.
A few weeks ago, I joined was among the several dozen people who packed into the Gundalow Company’s office in downtown Portsmouth for an evening lecture by Hodgson Brook Restoration Protect Director Candace Dolan. Under Dolan’s leadership, the group has been successful in getting citizens involved in efforts to improve water quality in the brook’s watershed. Local volunteers have worked to install a tree box filter and rain garden in adjacent neighborhoods. They also installed a bioretention system at the Port City Inn. All three act as all natural stormwater treatment systems.
Run-off pollution is also contributing to the overall decline of the Great Bay Estuary. The hard work of the Hodgson Brook Watershed Project provides a model for action that can be emulated by citizens throughout New Hampshire’s coastal watershed. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work!
A bioretention system installed at the Port City Inn by local volunteers
This fall, the Hodgson Brook Restoration Project teamed up with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension and experts from Rutger’s University to host a rain garden workshop for landscaping professionals.
A neighborhood treebox filter installed by the group