On the cusp of its tenth anniversary in 1999, the Upper Merrimack River Local Advisory Committee (UMRLAC) has enjoyed a year of diverse projects throughout the watershed.
At the NH Rivers Management & Protection Program/Volunteer Rivers Assessment Program Conference, Michele Tremblay and Steve Landry conducted “All in the Family,” an aquatic insect identification workshop. There, they presented Macroinvertebrates of the Upper Merrimack, an annotated picture key, the first publication from the Upper Merrimack Monitoring Program’s grant project. The remaining products, slated for completion in 2000, include a brochure, newsletter, three-year data report, and a multimedia presentation. An outdoor canoe and data presentation event is also planned to recognize Upper Merrimack Monitoring Program (UMMP) volunteers and present water quality data.
The UMRLAC expresses it gratitude this year to the following Adopt-a-River Site Sponsors who provide financial and in-kind support to the Upper Merrimack Monitoring Program: Aries Engineering; Franklin Savings Bank; Franklin Waste Water Treatment Facility; Public Service Company of NH; Corporate Offices and Merrimack Station; and Watts Regulator/Webster Valve (for further information on the Adopt-a-River Site Program, please contact Michele Tremblay). Support has also been provided by the Conservation Commissions of Boscawen, Bow, and Concord and the City of Franklin. “Bug Nights” workshop were held at Franklin High School and Saint Paul’s School (Concord) with over 100 volunteers attending. Bacteria (E. coli) monitoring was conducted at eleven sites from Franklin to Bow.
In its continuing effort to stay current with river issues, learn about new programs, and forge new partnerships, the UMRLAC heard presentations from Robert Spoerl of the Trails Bureau, NH Department of Resources and Economic Development on the Heritage Trails Program; Angela Archer of the NH Department of Environmental Services on the Malformed Frog Program, Carl Paulsen from the New Hampshire Rivers Council spoke on the history of the Instream Flow Rules, and Bob Barry and David Powelson from the NH Department of Transportation spoke on their proposal to remove the old Hannah Dustin Bridge. “Around the Watershed” creates a forum at each meeting for members and guests to provide updates and other news.
The UMRLAC reviewed several river-related proposals including the ash/trash landfill in Canterbury, the NH Department of Environmental Services draft Instream Flow Rules, removal of the old Hannah Dustin Bridge, and replacement of the Sewalls Falls Bridge.
The UMRLAC is grateful for its assistance from Central NH Regional Planning Commission who provided support for the completion of the committee’s five-year strategic plan. UMRLAC is also represented as a non-voting member on the Regional Resource Conservation Committee. UMRLAC plans for the future include inventorying river access sites and exploring a river safety campaign with corridor communities.
Election of officers for 2000-2001 included: Michele L. Tremblay, Chair; Stephen C. Landry, Vice-chair; Richard Bellerose, Secretary; and Stephen Robinson, Treasurer. UMRLAC would like to extend its heartfelt gratitude to Susan Paschell of Bow. For several years, Susan has served in the role of Secretary and provided the committee and its represented towns and cities with superb records of each meeting. Susan has stepped down as secretary, but will continue to serve as one of Bow’s representatives to the UMRLAC.
This year, the UMRLAC accepted with regret the resignation of Franklin representative, Tom Bugley. Tom has been a faithful member of the committee and dedicated representative for Franklin. His efforts have been invaluable in creating partnerships and publicizing the work of the UMRLAC and its programs. At the November 1999 Rivers Conference, Tom was honored with a Lifetime Achievement award from the NH Department of Environmental Services. He was also presented with a recognition award from the Upper Merrimack River Local Advisory Committee. After several years, the UMRLAC also accepted with regret Phil Downie’s resignation at the end of his term. Phil was instrumental in gaining sponsorship for the Upper Merrimack Monitoring Program’s Bow monitoring sites. The UMRLAC sadly notes the passing of Concord representative Stanley Bartlett. Committee members will miss his gentle manner and valuable agricultural perspective.
The Upper Merrimack River Local Advisory Committee is on the Internet! Please visit our website, [formerly] hosted by the Department of Environmental Services, [formerly] now http://www.merrimackriver.org. Included at the site is information on the river, committee membership, activities, maps, water quality data and photographs of UMRLAC volunteers. 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. All are welcome to attend. For meeting schedules, locations and more information, contact Michele L. Tremblay, Chair, at 796-2615, or your local representatives.