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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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.