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Water: Estuaries and Coastal Watersheds

Piscataqua Region Estuaries (NEP Profile)

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Summary Information

Year Established: 1995
Location: New Hampshire, Maine
Area of Watershed: 2,789 square kilometers


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Overviews and Highlights

The New Hampshire Estuaries Project (NHEP), now named the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership (PREP), joined the National Estuary Program in July of 1995, with the goal of safeguarding the environmental quality of the estuarine system by identifying, abating and preventing non-point source pollution in New Hampshire's estuaries. The primary geographic focus of the PREP is on two estuarine systems — Great Bay/Little Bay and Hampton Harbor and their tributary rivers. Water quality improvement strategies will be designed utilizing the state's shellfish resource as a tangible, easily understood indicator of water quality and measure of overall estuarine health. PREP actively encourages public participation in the process, recognizing that the support of informed municipal decision-makers, recreational interests, commercial groups, environmental organizations, and an educated public is essential to the success of the project.

Estuaries of New Hampshire and Maine are being characterized based on existing scientific, historic, economic and regulatory information with specific emphasis on identifying important information gaps. Ongoing pollution source identification and living-resource survey efforts will be utilized, along with the literature compilation, to create a comprehensive characterization of the status and trends of the estuaries. For more information, see the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan designed to address the causes of adverse impacts to water quality and living resources in New Hampshire's estuaries on a self-sustaining, long-term basis.

In December 2007, the PREP management committee agreed to expand the PREP’s area of focus to include the entire Great Bay Estuary watershed, which includes 24 percent of the watershed in Maine. PREP now works in 42 communities in New Hampshire and 10 communities in Maine. For more information on the expansion of the project and how you or your organization can work with PREP, read the brochure 2008 New Hampshire Estuary Watershed Area including Maine (PDF) (6 pp, 1.1MB, About PDF)  Exit EPA Disclaimer

In June 2008, the NHEP (now PREP) was awarded $50,000 for the Climate Ready Estuaries grant to initiate a pilot project in the Oyster River watershed to identify road culverts that are subject to failure during the increasingly extreme storm events projected for New England by climate change scientists. The results of this watershed-based storm impact modeling pilot project will be shared with other area communities as well as the other 27 National Estuary Programs across the country. Read more about the grant in the NHEP's News Relase of June 2008, New Hampshire Estuaries Project Launches Pilot Project to Help Coastal Communities Adapt to Climate Change (PDF) (1 pg, 45K, About PDF)  Exit EPA Disclaimer

For more information, visit the PREP Web site  Exit EPA Disclaimer .

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