This year, the Upper Merrimack River Local Advisory Committee welcomes its newest Adopt-a-River Sponsor, Aquarian Analytical Laboratories, Inc., bringing the UMRLAC’s sponsorship program to 100%. Aquarian joins existing sponsors, Aries Engineering, Inc.; Checkmate Expert Payroll Services, Concord; Elektrisola, Boscawen; Franklin Savings Bank; Franklin Wastewater Treatment Facility; Public Service Company of NH Corporate Offices and Merrimack Station; and Watts Regulator/Webster Valve. 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 its sponsors’ and municipalities’ support of the Upper Merrimack Monitoring Program (UMMP) and other projects in the watershed.
Bug Nights entered its eighth year in 2003. Over 40 individuals volunteered their “bug identification” services over the winter. Bug Nights was graciously hosted again this year by Saint Paul’s School in Concord and recognized with a presentation of a commemorative framed print to Dr. Scott Reynolds from the science department. Over the summer, the UMMP sent one-third of its volunteer-processed samples to a professional laboratory. The purpose is to compare volunteer data produced by volunteers with that from the professional entomologists. Preliminary analysis indicates that the Bug Nights volunteers’ work is of the highest quality. The Central NH Regional Planning Commission produced a large-format, colored map illustrating UMMP water quality data from its monitoring sites from Franklin to Bow including the Merrimack, Pemigewasset, Winnipesaukee, and Contoocook Rivers.
The UMMP’s water quality data led the NH Department of Environmental Services (DES) to investigate discharges into the river in Franklin. This helped DES identify sewage discharges into the Winnipesaukee and Pemigewasset Rivers which both flow into the Merrimack. One discharge has been eliminated, the other is in process.
UMMP plans for 2004-2005 include commissioning a ten-year data report and retrospective of the program. To help fund the report, the UMRLAC has printed T-shirts and tote bags sporting a graphic of its popular Insect Inquirer on the back and a colored dragonfly and river image on the front. Please contact Michele Tremblay (information at the end of this report) or your UMRLAC municipal representative if you would like to make a bold fashion statement with a shirt or bag.
In collaboration with the NH Rivers Council, the UMRLAC facilitated a stakeholder group that reviewed the Public Service of NH (PSNH) re-licensing application and drafted comments for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Several meetings were held and groups from Nashua to Franklin participated.
The UMRLAC hosted representatives from PSNH and American Rivers so that the Committee could learn more about the FERC re-licensing process. As part of its continued professional development program, Chuck Grassie presented on open space development options.
Representative Michele Tremblay was appointed to serve on the state Senate Bill 87 Legislative Study Commission representing the Connecticut, Pemigewasset, and upper Merrimack Rivers. UMRLAC also submitted written and oral testimony on House Bill 25 relative to the state’s instream flow proposal. The Committee provided comment on the proposed state wetland rules. The UMRLAC conducted an inventory of its own management plan for the NH Department of Environmental Services.
The UMRLAC continued to review project plans and proposals including the Route 4 bridge at Route 4 in Boscawen and Canterbury, Concord trail improvement projects at the Technical Institute and Terrill Park, the redevelopment at the old Foundry off I-93 exit 16, the Merrimack County jail expansion in Boscawen, a dredge and fill at the Franklin Waste Water Treatment Facility, a car dealership expansion in Bow, a culvert repair in Boscawen, a dam reconstruction on Webster Lake in Franklin, and a major subdivision in Franklin, where it also investigated a wetlands crossing. The UMRLAC exhibited its interactive display at Concord’s River Jamboree and the State’s Rivers and Watershed Conference (at which it also presented a training session on volunteer recruitment), conducted a river ecology training at the Loudon Public Library, a presentation to the City of Franklin, and delivered the keynote address at the Green Mountain Conservation Group’s annual watershed meeting. The UMRLAC chair was recognized with a National River Hero award in May 2003 in Washington [state]—the only volunteer our of five awardess to receive the award. This success is shared with all of the representatives of UMRLAC.
In 2003, the Upper Merrimack River Local Advisory Committee (UMRLAC) welcomed new representatives Drew Hoffman from Canterbury and Robert Wyatt from Bow as well as returning alumni representatives Richard Laflamme from Franklin and Susan Paschell from Bow. Elected UMRLAC officers for 2002-2003 are: Michele L. Tremblay, Chair; Stephen C. Landry, Vice-chair; Gary Lynn, Secretary; and Krista Crowell, Treasurer.
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.