About CFE

About the Center for the Environment

Squam Lake

The Center for the Environment addresses the science, policies, culture and economics of the natural environment in northern New England through research, education and collaboration. We engage on- and off-campus partners to define, acquire, and provide science-based knowledge to make informed decisions.

Recent News

Shared Waters Create a Shared Future for the Squam Lakes Watershed

In 1991, the NH Office of State Planning completed a Squam Lakes Watershed Plan. In the twenty-three years since the plan was adopted, a lot has changed in the region, but yet this plan has not been updated. View the summary of the 1991 Squam Watershed Plan here.

This winter, several graduate students at Plymouth State University enrolled in a land use planning class that focuses on teaching local planning concepts through an applied project. The class worked with the Squam Lakes Association (SLA) to learn about local town planning, identify current land use issues and priorities in area towns and the watershed, and determine how a new watershed plan might be cooperatively developed. In late January, we held a public meeting at the SLA to discuss past, present, and future land use issues in area towns and the Squam Lakes Watershed.

The results of the course and the public meeting can be read in “Shared Waters Create a Shared Future for the Squam Lakes Watershed,” a report from the Plymouth State University graduate students who participated in a land use planning class this winter. Also, a poster summarizing the public participation method used at the January public meeting was presented at the March 21, 2014 NH Water & Watershed Conference.

NH Resident’s Use & Value of Water

New Watershed Survey by Plymouth State and UNH Investigators Shows New Hampshire Residents Willing to Pay Higher Fees to Improve Water Quality

PLYMOUTH, N.H.– A new survey shows many Granite Staters and residents of the Piscataqua Watershed are concerned about the level of pollution in our water resources and would be willing to pay higher fees to ensure water quality is improved. The report from researchers at Plymouth State University’s Center for the Environment and the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership (PREP) at the University of New Hampshire, “New Hampshire’s Citizens Value and Use Water in Many Ways: A Preliminary Report of the New Hampshire and Piscataqua Region Water and Watershed Survey,” was compiled from more than 600 responses from randomly sampled New Hampshire residents throughout the State and Maine residents living in the Piscataqua Region.  Respondents answered questions about water resource use and value.

Big Squam Lake, N.H. from Mt. Morgan. Photo credit: Jonathon Loos

The survey, led by Shannon Rogers, Assistant Professor at PSU, and Jill Farrell, Community Impact Manager from PREP, indicate that 90 percent of New Hampshire respondents are concerned with the level of pollution in local streams, rivers, lakes, and bays; 80 percent understand the connection between clean water resources and economic stability of their community and 70 percent agree that they would be willing to pay higher water and sewer fees to improve the cleanliness of the lakes, rivers, streams, and bays in their community.

Geology of NH’s White Mountains – Talk & Book Signing

The first Center for the Environment Spring 2014 Colloquium talk will take place Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 4 p.m. in Boyd 001.

Geology of New Hampshire’s White Mountains is the topic of the presentation and this will be a group talk by four of the seven authors of a new book on the geology of the White Mountains recently published by Durand Press. The authors will each give short 10-minute talks on their area of expertise and the talks will progress from the most recent archaeological and geologic history to the ancient plate tectonic story in the Whites. Richard Boisvert (NH State Archaeologist) will start the talk speaking about recent paleoindian excavations in Jefferson and Randolph, followed by Brian Fowler (Mt. Washington Observatory) describing the collapse of the Old Man and alpine glaciations in the mountains, followed by Woody Thompson (Maine Geological Survey) speaking about vanishing ice-dammed lakes and continental glaciers, and lastly Dykstra Eusden (Bates College) discussing the ancient plate tectonics that formed the mountains.

Copies of The Geology of New Hampshire’s White Mountains will be available for sale ($35) and the presenters will be available at 3:30 pm in the lobby of Boyd Science Center (outside Room 001) to sign the book.

NH Water & Watershed Conference – March 21, 2014

Mount Chocorua, Albany, NH by Cory Gucwa

The 2014 New Hampshire Water and Watershed Conference (NHWWC) will be held on Friday, March 21, at Plymouth State University. This year, the theme is Sustainability of New Hampshire’s Water Resources. Each year, the NHWWC provides current information about New Hampshire’s water resources and related topics. Approximately 200 people are attending the event to hear a variety of talks and network with other people interested in our water resources. The 2014 agenda includes a morning plenary talk on the sustainability of New Hampshire’s water resources. Throughout the day there will be informative sessions on a variety of topics and we will close the event with an afternoon wrap-up discussion where participants will be able to ask questions and share ideas about water and sustainability in New Hampshire.

Plymouth State University’s Center for the Environment (CFE) hosts the event each year. Conference organizer and CFE’s associate director June Hammond Rowan, said the conference provides the latest information about a critically important natural resource.

“Water resources are a vital part of New Hampshire’s landscape and economy,” Hammond Rowan said. “We have over 30 talks and more than a dozen posters presentations this year. Topics include land use planning for water resources; water and public health; integrating science and decision making; NH’s water data; outreach, education, and citizen science; and climate change.”

The conference also features a meeting of the Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable, a national organization focusing on advancing understanding of the nation’s water resources and the development of tools for their sustainable management. This meeting allows participants a unique opportunity to hear from an influential group and gain perspective on how water resource issues in New Hampshire compare and relate to issues in other states.

Registration for the conference is open. For additional conference information, visit:

The NH Water and Watershed Conference is organized by PSU’s Center for the Environment with assistance from a committee of people from Keene State College, NH Department of Environmental Services, NH Geological Survey, NH Fish & Game Department, UNH NH Water Resources Research Center, US Geological Survey New England Water Science Center, and the City of Portsmouth.

For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU News Services Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or blyndes@plymouth.edu

2014 Spring Science Colloquium

Please join us on Wednesdays at 4 pm in Boyd Science Center, Room 001 for the 2014 Spring Science Colloquium. Each term, we offer a variety of talks and speakers covering diverse topics. For more information contact Angie Preisendorfer (603-535-3179) or Shannon Rogers.

  • February 26 – The Geology of New Hampshire’s White  Mountains, Richard Boisvert, NH State Archaeologist; J. Dykstra Eusden, Bates College; Brian Fowler, Mt. Washington Observatory; Woody Thompson, Maine Geological Survey (Presenters will also be available for book signing.)
  • March 12 – A Day  in the Life of a County Forester: Working with New Hampshire’s Private Woodlot Owners to Be the Best Stewards of the Land, David Falkenham, Grafton County Extension Forester, UNH Cooperative Extension
  • March 26 – The Changing Climate of Science, Politics and Climate Change, Roger Stephenson, Outreach Consultant, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • April 9 – Climate Change in New  England: A Review of Historical Hydrologic Records and  Projections for the 21st  Century, Thomas Huntington Research Hydrologist U.S. Geological Survey
  • April 16 – Exploring the Linkages Between Ecosystem Services and  Human Health, Kathleen Bush, Research Assistant Professor, PSU Center for the Environment
  • April 23 – Gambling with  the Globe: The Role of Risk in Climate Policy Decisions, Mark Borsuk, Associate Professor of Engineering Thayer School of Engineering Dartmouth College
  • April 30 – More Than a Century of Conservation in the Squam Watershed, Rebecca Hanson, Director of Conservation, Squam Lakes Association

Contact Us

Contact Us

January 9th, 2013 by Michael

Center for the Environment

Plymouth State University
Russell House
MSC #63, 17 High Street
Plymouth, NH 03264
psu-cfe@plymouth.edu

phone (603) 535-3179
fax (603) 535-3004