In 2000, the Upper Merrimack River Local Advisory Committee [UMRLAC] celebrated ten years of serving Boscawen, Bow, Canterbury, Concord, Franklin, and Northfield with a variety of planning, outreach, water quality monitoring, and advocacy activities.
This year, local outreach efforts included presentations at the NH Lakes Congress, Beaver Meadow School, and Proctor Academy. A cooperative project is planned with Bow Elementary School. “Guerrilla Outreach Tactics for Volunteer Monitoring Programs” was presented at the National Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Conference in Austin, Texas. The sister workshop, “Guerrilla Fundraising for Sustainable Volunteer Organizations was presented at the Massachusetts Clean Waters Conference and the NH Rivers Management & Protection Program/Volunteer Rivers Assessment Program Conference. The fundraising workshop along with “Guerilla Volunteer Recruitment Tactics” and “Data Presentation or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Bacteria” was presented at the Volunteer Estuary Monitoring Conference At the Darling Marine Center in Walpole, Maine.
At last year’s fifth annual “Bug Nights” held at St Paul’s School, the Upper Merrimack Monitoring Program [UMMP] debuted Macroinvertebrates of the Upper Merrimack, an annotated picture key, the first publication from the Upper Merrimack Monitoring Program’s NH Department of Environmental Services Nonpoint Source Grant project. The information in the key was provided by volunteers’ work at sessions and is used by them for bug identification. Bacteria (E. coli) monitoring was conducted by approximately twenty volunteers along the Pemigewasset, Winnipesaukee, Contoocook, and Merrimack Rivers at eleven sites from Franklin to Bow.
State of the Upper Merrimack 1995-1997, a river quality report was published and distributed this year. This report details field chemistry, habitat assessment, and biomonitoring data collected by volunteers. Bacteria data collected by volunteers was processed at no charge by the Franklin Waste Water Treatment Facility. The report is available at municipal offices and libraries or at www.des.state.nh.us/rivers/ummpintro95-97.htm. The remaining products slated for completion in 2001 include a brochure, multimedia presentation, and newsletter which will provide updates on UMRLAC and UMMP activities. An outdoor canoe and data presentation event is also planned to recognize UMMP volunteers and present water quality data at a ten-year celebration.
With a generous gift from the Basil W. Woods Jr. Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the UMMP is purchasing a multi-parameter water meter that quickly and inexpensively measures dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity, depth, barometric pressure, and temperature while in rivers and streams. The data is stored and can be downloaded directly to a computer. The new equipment will be used to complement and expand the UMMP’s water quality monitoring in the upper Merrimack watershed.
The New England Grassroots Environment Fund has awarded a grant to UMRLAC to help support a project that would research current recycling practices among communities, identity successful approaches, and present practical plans for recycling to member communities in the regional cooperative. Ivy Carlson, a senior at the University of NH will work with UMRLAC and representatives from throughout the region to carry out the research and draft the report. The UMRLAC has applied for funding through the NH Department of Environmental Services Nonpoint Source Local Initiative Grant Program to support “Data Presentation, Outreach, and Education for Action in the Upper Merrimack.” If awarded, the funds would support expanded outreach activities, such as exhibits and presentations to foster volunteer recruitment throughout the watershed.
The UMRLAC expresses its 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, Canterbury, Northfield, Concord, and the City of Franklin.
Terry Large from the Public Service Company of NH spoke to the UMRLAC about the deregulation process and how this will effect PSNH holdings in the Merrimack River watershed. UMRLAC representatives visited the Franklin Waste Water Treatment Facility and were given a tour of the operation by Steve Dolloff. Representatives from White Mountain Resource Management, Inc. presented a program on biosolids applications. “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 at sites including Watts Regulator in Franklin and an outfall in Concord. UMRLAC is also represented as a non-voting member on the Central NH Regional Planning Commission’s Regional Resource Conservation Committee.
Election of officers for 2001-2002 included: Michele L. Tremblay, Chair; Stephen C. Landry, Vice-chair; Gary Lynn, Secretary; and Stephen Robinson, Treasurer. UMRLAC would like to extend its heartfelt gratitude to Susan Paschell of Bow. Susan Paschell retired after two three-year terms as a Bow representative to the UMRLAC. For most of that time, Susan served as Secretary and provided the committee and its represented towns and cities with superb records of each meeting. Susan also provided a valuable role in many areas including keeping the UMRLAC updated on legislative issues and was instrumental in passing the grassroots legislation that included the Merrimack and several other rivers in the Comprehensive Shoreland Protection Act. The UMRLAC recognizes Susan’s leadership and her long-lasting contributions to local river management.
Please visit our website, hosted by the NH Department of Environmental Services, at http://www.des.state.nh.us/rivers/upperme1.htm. Included at the site is information on the river, committee membership, activities, maps, water quality data, and photographs of UMRLAC volunteers in action. 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.