About UMWA

Reflections in the water on the upper Merrimack River

About UMWA

The Upper Merrimack Watershed Assocaition (UMWA) conducts a variety of programs and projects throughout the upper Merrimack watershed. All activities will involve communities, local businesses, schools, and other organizations to keep the watershed clean and healthy. The upper Merrimack River watershed supports recreation opportunities that connect people to the river while conserving and maintaining its natural resources. The watershed is a vital habitat where the maintenance of ecological integrity and diversity that support healthy wildlife communities is vital.

The upper Merrimack River is the primary artery that courses through the hearts of our communities. One of the key objectives of the UMWA is to work throughout the region to monitor water quality through field chemistry, E. coli bacteria testing, habitat assessments, and biomonitoring with benthic macroinvertebrates. The results are  published for local and state health officers as well as for the Report to Congress on the state of our nation’s surface waters. The Upper Merrimack Watershed Association works with local communities and state agencies to provide data that determine if the river is meeting its biological “standard” for the upper Merrimack and to identify long-term river quality trends. While water quality in the Upper Merrimack is generally good, a significant threat exists from nonpoint source pollution. The UMWA will work with local groups, homeonwers, and businesses to identify sites for Best Management Practices on commercial and industrial properties, municipal storm water, agricultural operations, and residential areas.

UMWA builds partnerships with other organizations including the local towns and cities, regional planning commissions, grassroots and other nonprofit groups, and the NH Department of Environmental Services. UMWA produces reports and other tools for planning for other conservation professionals and volunteers.

The Upper Merrimack Watershed Association will work through outreach and education on watershed issues. It trains volunteers in water quality monitoring and other activities. These volunteers, in turn, will reach out to groups to provide stream ecology demonstrations and presentations about the watershed. The presentations help participants understand the history of the Merrimack, past and current threats to water quality, how their behaviors and practices affect water quality, and how they can become involved.