This year, the Upper Merrimack River Local Advisory Committee (UMRLAC) welcomes new Adopt-a-River Sponsors: Checkmate Expert Payroll Services and Elektrisola, Inc. They are joined by existing Sponsors, Aries Engineering, Inc.; Franklin Savings Bank; Franklin Wastewater Treatment Facility; Public Service Company of NH Corporate Offices and Merrimack Station; and Watts Regulator/Webster Valve. The UMRLAC is grateful for their support of the Upper Merrimack Monitoring Program (UMMP) and other projects in the watershed. Many thanks to the Conservation Commissions and Towns and Cities of Boscawen, Bow, Canterbury, Concord, Franklin, and Northfield for their ongoing support and graciously hosting UMRLAC meetings. The UMRLAC is grateful for the generosity of its towns, cities, and Sponsors.
The new UMRLAC website, www.merrimackriver.org, debuted this year. Formerly, the NH Department of Environmental Services generously hosted the UMRLAC on its server. As the Committee’s programs expanded, it decided it was time to “hatch out” on its own and create a new website. The site showcases water quality data and images of the river with a new and easy address.
Additional organisms were “discovered” by over forty volunteers at last year’s sixth annual “Bug Nights,” held at Saint Paul’s School in Concord. The organisms were added to the Upper Merrimack Monitoring Program’s Macroinvertebrates of the Upper Merrimack, an annotated picture key. All of the information in the key was provided by volunteers’ work at Bug Nights over the last six years and is used by them for identification of aquatic insects and other organisms. A full-color, two-page Concord Monitor article covered this season’s sample collection this summer. Approximately thirty-five volunteers conducted E. coli bacteria monitoring and macroinvertebrate collection along the Pemigewasset, Winnipesaukee, Contoocook, and Merrimack Rivers at eleven sites from Franklin to Bow. Current water quality data and a copy of State of the Upper Merrimack 1995-1997, a river quality report can be downloaded at www.merrimackriver.org.
With a generous gift from the Basil W. Woods Jr. Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the UMMP purchased a multi-parameter water meter that quickly and inexpensively measures dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity, depth, barometric pressure, and temperature. The data is stored and can be downloaded directly to a computer. The meter is used to complement and expand the UMMP’s water quality monitoring in the upper Merrimack watershed. Trout Unlimited also honored the UMMP with its Silver Trout Award in “recognition of distinguished service and dedication to the enhancement, preservation, and restoration of our coldwater fisheries.” At a ceremony in Boston, the UMMP was also honored by the US Environmental Protection Agency and presented with their Environmental Merit Award for “outstanding efforts in preserving New England’s environment.” Both awards are a great honor for the Upper Merrimack Monitoring Program and neither possible without the vision and dedication of its volunteers and supporters who wholly—and solely—staff the organization.
Local outreach efforts this year included presentations at Beaver Meadow School, Manchester Flyfishing Association, NH Drinking Water Festival, and Proctor Academy. A presentation was also given at a non-denominational Earth Day service in Franklin. “All in the Family,” an aquatic entomology training workshop, was presented at the NH Rivers Management & Protection and Volunteer Rivers Assessment Programs Conference in November.
The Recycling Project is nearly complete. With generous support from the New England Grassroots Environment Fund, the Recycling Committee researched current recycling practices among communities, identified successful approaches, and drafted a report which presents practical plans for recycling to member communities in the Concord Regional Solid Waste/Resource Recovery Cooperative. When complete the report will be distributed to all of the municipalities in the Cooperative. The report will also be posted on the UMRLAC website.
The NH Department of Environmental Services Nonpoint Source Local Initiative Grant Program funded the UMRLAC’s application for the project, “Data Presentation, Outreach, and Education for Action in the Upper Merrimack.” The project expands outreach activities, such as exhibits and presentations, to foster watershed stewardship and volunteer recruitment throughout the watershed. The results are measured through pre- and post-presentation questionnaires. If your group or organization is interested in hosting the slide presentation, “The Merrimack River, What’s a Watershed Citizen to Do?” or a stream ecology demonstration, please contact Michele Tremblay at 796.2615 or email@example.com.
The UMRLAC was awarded project funding from the NH Department of Environmental Services Merrimack River Watershed Restoration Grants Program. With partners including the NH Department of Resources and Economic Development and the Town of Boscawen, the project will restore a badly-eroded section of riverbank in Boscawen. For further information or to volunteer on the project, please contact Michele Tremblay or Steve Landry at 796.2615 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Products slated for completion in 2002 include a brochure and newsletter which will provide updates on UMRLAC and UMMP activities. A statistical paper, which measures the validity of volunteer-generated water quality data, will be released in early 2002. The UMMP extends its sincerest thanks to Steve Eckberg who provided high-quality, professional statistical-analysis services in helping to process data for the paper. A canoe outing and data presentation event is planned this summer to recognize UMMP volunteers and supporters and present water quality data. Election of UMRLAC officers for 2002-2003 included: Michele L. Tremblay, Chair; Stephen C. Landry, Vice-chair; Gary Lynn, Secretary; and Stephen Robinson, Treasurer.
The UMRLAC reviewed several river-related proposals from the NH Department of Transportation. The UMRLAC also provided review and comment on several Wetlands Bureau applications. Committee members tracked and commented on the State’s draft Instream Flow Rules. The UMRLAC is represented on the Central NH Regional Planning Commission’s Regional Resource Conservation Committee, affectionately known as R2C2.
Please visit our website at www.merrimackriver.org for further 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 on 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.