NHDES Rivers & Streams-NH


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A power point for an environmental science project on the importance of rivers & streams in NH.

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NHDES Rivers & Streams-NH

  1. 1. New Hampshire Water Resources Primer<br />Chapter 2 Rivers & Streams<br />Joe Rando<br />Environmental Science <br />Spring 2011<br />
  2. 2. 1. Occurrence & Significance<br />Approximately 17,000 miles of rivers and streams that appear on topographical maps in the state of New Hampshire and all of them need to be protected and/or restored to provide future generations with an important asset to the environment.<br />There are 5 major watersheds in the state:<br />Androscoggin<br />Saco<br />Piscataqua (Coastal)<br />Merrimack<br />Connecticut<br />
  3. 3. Connecticut River Watershed<br />Largest river in New Hampshire.<br />2/3 of its length (275 mi.) runs along the New Hampshire-Vermont border<br />Its watershed spans approximately 11,250 square miles<br />Drains 3,063 square miles which is about 1/3 of NH.<br />
  4. 4. Merrimack River Watershed<br />Covers 5,010 square miles<br />Extends 180 miles from Profile Lake in the White Mountains where it begins as the Pemigewasset River all the way to Newburyport, MA where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean.<br />75% is located in New Hampshire<br />Drains approx. 3,834 square miles (40% of NH)<br />Includes 138 communities.<br />
  5. 5. Androscoggin River Watershed<br />Runs 170 miles along the NH-ME border.<br />19 communities are tied to the river.<br />3,450 square miles are drained by the Androscoggin.<br />However only 716 square miles or 1/5 of the watershed are in the state of New Hampshire.<br />
  6. 6. Piscataqua River Watershed<br />Contributes 730 square miles of the states coastal watershed.<br />Made up of Great Bay and its tributaries.<br />12 miles in length and contains 46 towns.<br />Drainage area of approximately 1,495 square miles.<br />
  7. 7. Saco River Watershed<br />Flows about 40 miles and is one the states most pristine rivers.<br />8 communities are tied to the river.<br />Drains 1,293 square miles between ME & NH.<br />876 of those miles are in New Hampshire.<br />
  8. 8. 2. Issues<br />Water quality standards and goals that must be met to achieve healthy surface waters are broken down into 3 different parts:<br />Designated uses<br />Numerical or narrative criteria to protect designated uses<br />Anti-degradation policy<br />
  9. 9. Designated Uses <br />Aquatic life<br />Fish consumption<br />Shellfish consumption (tidal waters only)<br />Drinking water supply after treatment<br />Primary contact recreation (swimming)<br />Secondary contact recreation (boating)<br />Wildlife<br />
  10. 10. Figure 2-2. Surface water quality assessments for rivers and streams. Percentages of<br />rivers and streams that support designated uses for freshwaters. PA indicates percentages<br />based on probabilistic assessment. Source: NHDES, 2008b.<br />
  11. 11. Issues<br />Inadequate data on many rivers & streams leaves those that aren’t in immediate danger are left vulnerable.<br />Sodium-chloride from road salt breaks down and the chloride is toxic to aquatic life.<br />Lack of data: 30.3% of the designated use mileage were not assessed. 82.1% for swimming, 82.2% for boating and 73.2% for aquatic life.<br />
  12. 12. Issues<br />45.4 percent of data collection is from volunteers, 34.7 percent is from DES and 19.9 percent is from a mix of other state agencies, universities, the federal government and private consultants.<br />In order to meet the Clean Water Act’s federal obligation, water assessment is relied heavily upon volunteer data.<br />
  13. 13. Issues<br />Irregular land use patterns are extremely detrimental to the waters of New Hampshire.<br />The riparian buffer land where runoff and pollution are filtered is being developed and consequently leaving the rivers, plants and wildlife in those areas in danger.<br />Dam operation, wastewater discharges and other human activities are disturbing the natural flow conditions of the rivers and streams which are impairing the aquatic habitats in those areas.<br />
  14. 14. Current Management & Protection<br />The DES Biomonitoring Program assesses the biological health and integrity of aquatic ecosystems throughout the state. <br />The results of these assessments are used for establishing reference locations for “least disturbed” areas in the state. <br />Identifying areas that are biologically impaired.<br />Prioritizing those areas needing management, restoration or protection efforts.<br />
  15. 15. Current Management & Protection<br />Rivers Management & Protection Program established in 1988 was created to protect certain designated rivers for their important natural and cultural resources. <br />The Clean Water Act requires two surface water quality documents per year to assure they meet the standards.<br />Total Maximum Daily Load program refers to the maximum amount of pollutants that a body of water can withstand while still maintaining the water quality standards for its designated uses.<br />
  16. 16. Figure 2-5. Map of designated rivers in the N.H. Rivers<br />Management and Protection Program. Rivers can be<br />designated into four classifications: community, rural community,<br />rural, or natural. Source: NHDES, 2008d.<br />
  17. 17. Stakeholder Recommendations<br />Protect the Riparian areas.<br />Increase Collection of Physical, Chemical and Biological Data<br />Reduce the Impacts of Land Use Change<br />Continue to Develop and Implement In-stream Flow Protection<br />
  18. 18. Conclusion<br />By continuing to gather important data on our rivers and streams in the state and using the correct resources we can keep them healthy and clean for generations to come. <br />The development of unprotected areas that are crucial to the surface waters in the state will surely diminish the quality of waters we use for recreation, food, drinking water and many other activities.<br />With a conscious effort by all who enjoy these waters we can keep them in a pristine state and subsequently an attractive destination for New Hampshire lovers.<br />Thank you.<br />