Annual Report 1997

Following recommendations from its Management Plan, the Upper Merrimack River Local Advisory Committee (UMRLAC) implemented many diverse river conservation and protection projects during 1997.

The Upper Merrimack Monitoring Program, a volunteer water quality monitoring program, worked in partnership with state and local government, nonprofit organizations, citizens, students and local businesses to complete its third successful year. The UMRLAC is grateful for the support from the conservation commissions to continue this work. This year, a portion of samples will be processed by a professional laboratory to expedite results and as quality control / quality assurance to increase data credibility and define the role of volunteer-generated data. An additional grant has been applied for to assist the UMRLAC in generating a “State of the Upper Merrimack” report which will detail water quality data including chemical and bacteria testing, habitat surveys and biological assessment using benthic macroinvertebrates (aquatic insects). UMRLAC applied for and received a second grant from the Merrimack River Initiative’s Local Involvement Grant Program. The funds were used to purchase equipment and materials to assist UMRLAC volunteers in their continuing efforts in outreach and education in the upper Merrimack River watershed. This year, Governor Shaheen was the special guest of the UMRLAC in observance of Earth Day. The Governor donned waders and used an aquatic kicknet to collect macroinvertebrates and learn about water quality in the upper Merrimack. Other outreach efforts included presentations at the NH Association of Conservation Commissions Annual Meeting, the Volunteer Environmental Monitoring Network Conference, the Appalachian Mountain Club River Leadership School, Merrimack Valley Middle School River Ecology Curriculum, the NH Rivers Management & Protection Program Conference and NH Public Radio’s “The Exchange”. Bug Identification workshops were held in Franklin High School and at our new partner’s facility, St. Paul’s School in Concord. New volunteers are always welcome. Please join us and have fun learning about river ecology!

Alicia Lehrer, Volunteer Environmental Monitoring Network Coordinator, assisted the committee in establishing structure and documentation for their water quality monitoring program. Working with UMRLAC representatives, a fundraising strategy, study design and strategic plan were published. Geoff Dates of the River Watch Network provided assistance with macroinvertebrate identification and a data management system which will assist UMRLAC in interpreting data and producing biological assessment reports.

The Upper Merrimack River Local Advisory Committee is on the Internet! Please visit our website, [fomerly] hosted by the NH Department of Environmental Services, [now] at Included at the site is information on the river, committee membership, activities, maps, water quality data and photographs of UMRLAC volunteers.

Kerrie Diers of the Central NH Regional Planning Commission provided invaluable assistance to UMRLAC. Kerrie worked with UMRLAC representatives to create an implementation model for its Management Plan in Canterbury. Future plans include working with Bow and Concord to assist those communities in implementing the Plan and assisting the UMRLAC with a strategic planning process.

As part of its state-established duties under RSA 483:8-a, the UMRLAC reviewed and commented on several river-related proposals including the Veteran’s Cemetery and agricultural sludge application in Boscawen, the final phase of the Sewall’s Fall access site project in Concord, a proposed campground in Canterbury and Army Corps of Engineers plans in Franklin. As always, the representatives thank Jim MacCartney, State Rivers Coordinator for his invaluable assistance and technical support.

The Upper Merrimack River Local Advisory Committee held its annual meeting in October and elected the following slate of officers: Michele L. Tremblay, Chair; Steven Lowe, Vice-Chair; Susan Paschell, Secretary and Stephen Robinson, Treasurer. The UMRLAC meetings are held on a rotating basis in the six represented communities. The committee meets the second Monday of each month at 7:00 PM. For meeting schedules, locations and more information, contact Michele L. Tremblay, Chair, at 796-2615, or your local representatives.