Tyco Electronic Subsea Communications Goes Green

December 20, 2010

The design for Tyco Electronic Subsea Communications new manufacturing center in Newington incorporates stormwater management best practices that will help to protect the Great Bay Estuary, according to recent Seacoast Online editorial. Rob Roseen of the University of New Hampshire’s Stormwater Center reviewed Opechee Construction’s site plan for the facility and found it would exceed EPA requirements by removing “80 percent of solids, 53 percent of phosphorous and 66 percent of nitrogen for the facility’s impervious areas.”

“The total nitrogen load to the Great Bay Estuary increased by 42% in the past five years, largely due to greater stormwater runoff and nonpoint source pollution loads during recent high rainfall years,” according to the Piscataqua Region 2010 Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan. As part of the solution to this critical threat to the ecological health of the Great Bay Estuary, the plan calls for the increased use of stormwater management techniques to remove nitrogen. Tyco Electronic Subsea Communications is heeding that call, while at the same time creating news jobs for the seacoast region.

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Hodgson Brook Restoration Project: A model for stormwater action

December 8, 2010

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

 

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Great Bay a focus of the New Hampshire Climate Forum

October 28, 2010

Last week, I traveled to Manchester to participate in the New Hampshire Climate Forum. The event was organized by the Carbon Action Alliance to provide voters with the opportunity to ask the state’s Congressional candidates questions about the issues of clean energy and climate change. My role was to provide an overview of the impacts of climate change on New Hampshire’s coastal environment.

All six of New Hampshire’s major candidates for federal office were invited. None showed up. It’s a shame, because the event forged ahead with a number of informative presentations discussing the local dimensions of the climate issue. For my part, I focused in on the threat climate change poses to the Great Bay Estuary. The ecological health of this key coastal habitat is already in decline, as evidenced by rising nitrogen levels and rapid declines in populations of key species like eelgrass and oysters. Climate change will only exacerbate these problems. Indeed, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that it already is.

Earlier this year, researchers at the Jackson Estuarine Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire published an op-ed piece that concisely laid out the need to act to protect Great Bay from the impacts of climate change:

“Plant and animal life in the estuary are being damaged by the recurrence of ‘100-year storms’ at much more frequent intervals.”

“…the oysters in the Great Bay Estuary are now strongly affected by two major pathogens that have spread northward over the past several years, presumably because of increasing temperatures.”

There’s more. Read the entire op-ed piece on Seacoastonline.

Since 1997, Senator Judd Gregg has secured $56 million for the protection of Great Bay. That’s just a portion of the millions of dollars that have been spent on projects aimed at saving one of the largest estuaries found on the Atlantic Ocean. It’s an investment that is worth protecting by taking the threat posed by climate change seriously.

Although the NH Climate Forum did not get on the radar of the Granite State’s congressional candidates, the event was covered by Elizabeth McGowan of Solve Climate News. The piece has been picked up by Reuters and mentions Great Bay specifically:

New Hampshire Candidates Quiet on Climate and Clean Energy

This post was written by David Anderson, Project Coordinator for the New Hampshire Coastal Protection Partnership and Administrator for Save Great Bay. Please send all your Great Bay related news to info@nhcoast.org or call Dave at (603) 617-0679.


Weeklong series on Great Bay on NHPR this week!

August 16, 2010

Starting on August 16, New Hampshire Public Radio hosts a weeklong series on Great Bay. Visit NHPR to see the full stories and link to the audio.


New Hampshire ranks 1st in nation for beach water quality

July 28, 2010

HAMPTON BEACH – New Hampshire leads the nation in beach water quality, according to a new report released by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Water pollution closed beaches in New Hampshire for a total of 12 days last year. Nationwide, water pollution resulted in more than 18,000 beach closings and advisories in 2009.

Representatives from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, State Division of Parks and Recreation, Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation, and Environment New Hampshire spoke at an event marking the report’s release at Hampton Beach today.

“When families head to the beach this summer, they shouldn’t have to worry about swimming in polluted water that can make them sick,” said Environment New Hampshire Advocate Jessica O’Hare.

Most of the beach closings that took place in New Hampshire in 2009 were caused by elevated bacteria levels. Contaminated beach water can expose swimmers to a variety of waterborne illnesses, including stomach flu, skin rashes, pinkeye, dysentery, and hepatitis. The precise of the bacteria remains unknown at this time.

Read the complete report: Testing the Waters: A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches

Read the NRDC’s New Hampshire factsheet

Jessica O’Hare of Environment New Hampshire discusses the NRDC report

Despite ranking first in the nation for beach water quality, water pollution continues to be a problem within the Granite State’s coastal watershed. NHDES has listed a number of the region’s surface waters as impaired or threatened by pollution. The list include Little Bay, Great Bay, Bellamy River, Cocheco River, Exeter River, Oyster River, Piscataqua River, Lamprey River, and Salmon Falls River.

View the complete list of impaired or threatened surface waters in New Hampshire

The New Hampshire Coastal Protection Partnership is working to reduce water pollution in the Granite State’s coastal watershed. Learn more by visiting www.nhcoast.org, signing up for our email list, or following us on Twitter or Facebook.


Earth Day Workshop: Backyard Solutions to Nitrogen Pollution in the Great Bay Estuary

April 13, 2010

Portsmouth, NH – The New Hampshire Coastal Protection Partnership will celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day by hosting an eco-friendly workshop highlighting steps that local residents can take to reduce nitrogen pollution in the Great Bay Estuary right in their own backyard. Participants will get basic tips on how to install a rain garden at home. They will also learn how to make eco-friendly decisions about lawn fertilization.

When: Tuesday, April 20 from 7 to 8 PM

Where: Urban Forestry Center Meeting Room – 45 Elwyn Rd. in Portsmouth, NH

Free and open to the public, with a suggested donation of $10. RSVP online at http://www.nhcoast.org or send an email to info@nhcoast.org

The workshop is part of the New Hampshire Coastal Protection Partnership’s ongoing efforts to improve water quality in Great Bay by reducing nitrogen pollution from two major sources: lawn fertilizers and stormwater run-off. When it rains, stormwater run-off carries nitrogen from lawn fertilizers, pet waste, and leaky septic tanks into the estuary. As a result, the total nitrogen load to Great Bay has increased by more than 42 percent over the past five years. Nitrogen pollution can trigger explosions of algae in an estuary that consume oxygen and block out sunlight aquatic plants and wildlife need to survive, leading to a loss of habitat.

The week of Earth Day is a great time for the seacoast community to come together and learn how to take action to protect Great Bay. This critical coastal habitat is home to more than 162 species and plays an important role in the local economy. Countless tourists travel to the seacoast to learn about the estuary each year.


Editorial: Great Bay needs everyone’s help

March 26, 2010

An editorial in The Concord Monitor shines a light on the water quality problems facing Great Bay and how people can help by supporting oyster restoration. Read the editorial.