PSU and Partners Report Every Acre Counts Planning Progress in Protecting Newfound Lake

August 8th, 2008 by Adam

PLYMOUTH, N.H –Newfound Lake remains one of New Hampshire’s cleanest and clearest lakes, and a management plan to keep it that way is making progress.

Every Acre Counts: The Newfound Watershed Master Plan is an exciting, cutting edge project working with diverse stakeholders in developing a master plan for the Newfound Lake watershed.

The effort brings together participants from diverse sectors including the PSU’s Center for the Environment, the Newfound Lake Region Association (NLRA), the University of New Hampshire, Jeffery Taylor and Associates and underwritten by the Environmental Protection Agency with funds distributed by the N.H. Department of Environmental Services.

The first step in the project was a community survey, led by Dr. Brian Eisenhauer, associate director of the Center for the Environment and assistant professor of sociology at Plymouth State. Area residents in Bristol, Bridgewater, Hebron, Alexandria, Groton, Orange, Danbury, and Plymouth responded to surveys about their perception of Newfound Lake and its future.

“These kinds of activities with towns in our region embody the PSU ‘to serve’ mission, not only for the benefit of the region, but for the students to apply their academic knowledge in answering important questions for our region,” said Eisenhauer.

The information from the survey will help formulate the watershed plan and determine key issues for the region. Steve Whitman, senior planner with Jeffrey H. Taylor and Associates and adjunct PSU faculty member, said the community input is one of the most critical pieces of creating a collaborative plan.

“There was need to understand whether people felt a connection to Newfound Lake and to the watershed, and whether they would help support rules and regulations that would help guide everyone more appropriately,” said Whitman.

The Newfound Lake watershed area encompasses 63,000 acres, with approximately 15,000 year-round residents, an increase of 132% over the past 35 years.

Boyd Smith, director of the Newfound Lake Region Association, said now is the time to start protecting the lake and it watershed.

“If you were here 10 years ago and fast forward to today, you’d see a difference, especially on the hillsides,” Smith said about the development around the lake. “More development around the lake will come in time, and if we’re not proactive in managing the natural resources of the land, forest and water, and providing for the folks that live here, this place will change in a way that most people don’t want to see, I think.”

When completed in 2009, Every Acre Counts: the Newfound Watershed Master Plan will provide a comprehensive analysis of the Newfound Lake Region environment; will present citizen opinions about issues in the watershed and their desires for the future, will benchmark local master plans, policies and regulations; and will provide a “tool kit” of methods to maintain and improve environmental quality for the long term.

The $350,000 project is supported by federal Clean Water Act funds distributed by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services that includes substantial matching contributions from project partners.

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

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