Legislative Update: HB 149 Lamprey River Nomination

January 27, 2011

On Tuesday, January 25th, the Resources, Recreation and Development Committee of the New Hampshire House of Representatives heard testimony on HB 149: designating segments of the Lamprey, North Branch, Pawtuckaway, North, Little, and Piscassic Rivers as protected rivers. The hearing marked a critical step in the process of nominating the Lamprey River and its tributaries to the New Hampshire Rivers Management and Protection Program. Testimony was unanimously in support of the bill, which was sent to subcommittee at the end of the hearing.

Passage of HB 149 would lead to the creation of a Local Management Advisory Committee made up of locally nominated and state appointed representatives from each of the towns located in the Lamprey River watershed. With technical support from state agencies, communities will have the opportunity to work together to develop the kind of watershed wide approach to river management that is needed to address critical issues like nitrogen pollution and flooding.

The Lamprey River is the largest tributary to the Great Bay Estuary.

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New Hampshire Senate Bill 19

January 17, 2011

Last week, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee of the New Hampshire Senate heard testimony on SB 19, a bill designed to modify the definition of “prime wetland” under RSA 482-A:15. Importantly, the bill would reserve “prime wetland” designation – and the protections that go with it – for wetlands of “5 acres or more” in size. Opponents of the bill cautioned against using size as a criteria for evaluating the significance of wetlands, noting that smaller wetlands can perform the same functions as larger ones.

If this change in definition were to be made retroactive, areas now designated as prime wetlands could lose their protected status. Barrington, Brentwood, Exeter, Hampton Falls, Newington, Newmarket, and Northwood have all designated “prime wetlands” using the current definition of the term. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services currently regulates all development within 100 feet of a prime wetland.

The need for wetland protection is nicely summarized by the purpose statement of RSA 482-A:

It is found to be for the public good and welfare of this state to protect and preserve its submerged lands under tidal and fresh waters and its wetlands, (both salt water and fresh-water), as herein defined, from despoliation and unregulated alteration, because such despoliation or unregulated alteration will adversely affect the value of such areas as sources of nutrients for finfish, crustacea, shellfish and wildlife of significant value, will damage or destroy habitats and reproduction areas for plants, fish and wildlife of importance, will eliminate, depreciate or obstruct the commerce, recreation and aesthetic enjoyment of the public, will be detrimental to adequate groundwater levels, will adversely affect stream channels and their ability to handle the runoff of waters, will disturb and reduce the natural ability of wetlands to absorb flood waters and silt, thus increasing general flood damage and the silting of open water channels, and will otherwise adversely affect the interests of the general public.

Contact Senator Bob Odell (R-Lempster), the sponsor of SB 19

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2011 Lamprey River Symposium Live Blog

January 7, 2011

I just arrived at the 4th Annual Lamprey River Symposium at the University of New Hampshire. Stay tuned on Twitter for updates about the latest research on the ecological health of the Lamprey  River and its watershed.

Update – 10:00 AM

Phil Trowbridge is discussing a new NHDES report on nitrogen pollution in the Great Bay Estuary:

Analysis of Nitrogen Loading Reductions for Wastewater Treatment Facilities and Non-Point Sources in the Great Bay Estuary Watershed

Update: 11:00 AM

Bill McDowell of UNH’s Dept. Natural Resources & the Environment is now presenting on “Long‐term water quality trends in the Lamprey River”

Update: 11:15 AM

Michelle Daley of UNH’s  Dept. Natural Resources & the Environment is now presenting on ” Declining nitrogen retention with increasing nitrogen inputs in the Lamprey and Oyster River watersheds”

Update: 11:30 AM

John Bucci of UNH’s Dept. Natural Resources & the Environment, Charlie French of the UNH Cooperative Extension, and  Steve Miller of the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve are presenting onDetecting nitrogen sources and flow paths in the Great Bay watershed and engaging decision makers in the science”

Update: 1:25 PM

Amanda Hope, a UNH DNRE Graduate Student is discussing “Ecosystem processes in a piped stream (Pettee Brook)”

Update: 1:45 PM

– Jennifer Jacobs of UNH Civil Engineering is presenting on “Urbanization in Southeastern NH: Does it impact stream temperature?”

Update: 2:00 PM

Robert Roseen of the UNH Stormwater Center is now discussing “Stormwater management strategies for reduction of nitrogen and phosphorus loading to surface waters” and “Winter performance and maintenance of porous pavements”

Update: 2:45 PM

Ann Scholz, Graduate Student/UNH Stormwater Center, is now discussing “The path taken to remap the 100‐year Lamprey River floodplain”

Update: 3:00 PM

Dawn Genes of the LRWA is providing an “Update on the Lamprey River nomination process”

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2011 Lamprey River Symposium

January 4, 2011

The Fourth Annual Lamprey River Symposium will take place on the campus of the University this Friday – January 7, 2011. Details have been posted on the website of the Lamprey River Hydrological Observatory, including a full agenda. Come and learn more about the problem of nitrogen pollution in the Lamprey River and the Great Bay Estuary!

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