With the 10-year anniversary of the Upper Merrimack River Local Advisory Committee (UMRLAC) approaching, the committee completed and approved a new, 5-year strategic plan. The plan outlines UMRLAC’s mission and goals in the areas of committee development, education, partnerships, fundraising, recreation and media and outreach projects. The ambitious plan is also flexibly structured to facilitate creation each year of annual work plans. Interest has been expressed by the City of Concord to include goals and actions from the UMRLAC’s River Management and Implementation Plan in their open space plan. The committee extends its gratitude to Kerrie Diers and Stephanie Vaine from the Central NH Regional Planning Commission for their assistance.
As part of its state-established duties under RSA 483:8-a, the UMRLAC reviewed and commented on several river-related proposals including wetlands proposals for the I-93 Exit 16 ramp renovation and the Energy North coal tar dump in Concord, a boat ramp proposal in Franklin, 2 site specific applications in Bow, and a wetlands project at the County Farm in Boscawen.
The popular Upper Merrimack Monitoring Program continues to expand its scope and partnerships. This year, the Adopt-a-River Site’ Program was introduced to involve more corporations and groups in monitoring water quality in the upper Merrimack River watershed. Aries Engineering, Franklin Savings Bank, and Franklin Waste Water Treatment Facility have each sponsored sites. Sponsors not only provide financial support but many have offered their volunteer time by taking water samples and working on the biomonitoring component of the program. This winter, volunteers from all over the region will be participating in the program’s Bug Nights’ During these well-publicized events, volunteers receive free instruction and perform hands-on biomonitoring work. The UMRLAC was awarded a grant by the NH Department of Environmental Services to analyze its water quality data, generate a 3-year report, create an identification key for volunteers, and produce a brochure and newsletter. Work on these projects should be completed in the late spring. For further information about the Upper Merrimack Monitoring Program, contact the UMRLAC chair or visit their website at www.state.nh.us/des/upperme1.htm.
Committee members gave presentations to community leaders from Franklin to Bow.The UMRLAC is grateful to the cities and towns along the upper Merrimack River that have provided financial support to the committee. Assistance was provided to high school and college students studying the Merrimack River and its watershed. Steve Landry worked with students at the Three Rivers School in Pembroke who learned about river ecology and biomonitoring. Presentations to academic and peer groups were also conducted by the chair at the University of NH-hosted Our New England Waters’ conference, the Rivers Management & Protection Program/Volunteer Rivers Assessment/Volunteer Environmental Monitoring Conference. The chair presented Planning for Implementation’ and co-presented Bugs: Up Close and Personal’ with Geoff Dates, Science Coordinator, River Watch Network.
The Upper Merrimack River Local Advisory Committee held its annual meeting in October and elected the following slate of officers: Michele L. Tremblay (Boscawen), Chair; Stephen Landry (Boscawen), Vice-Chair; Susan Paschell (Bow), Secretary, and Stephen Robinson (Concord) , Treasurer. The committee recognizes Ann Clement (Canterbury) and Eric Anderson (Bow) who resigned during 1998. The chair would like to recognize and thank all of the members of UMRLAC who have provided their ideas, energy, and commitment to achieving this work.
Upper Merrimack River Local Advisory Committee meetings are held on a rotating basis in each of 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.