PSU Partners in the Development of ‘Every Acre Counts: the Newfound Watershed Master Plan’

August 7th, 2007 by Adam

The Newfound Lake Region Association (NLRA) has received a Watershed Assistance and Restoration Grant for $184,000 from the NH Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) for the preparation of a watershed master plan for the Newfound Lake region. The project, titled Every Acre Counts: the Newfound Watershed Master Plan, will transcend municipal boundaries to meet its goal of managing the Newfound Lake watershed for the long-term benefit of residents and visitors. Collaborators on the project include Jeffrey H. Taylor & Associates, Newfound Area School District, Newfound Lake Region Association (NLRA), Plymouth State University’s (PSU) Center for the Environment, and University of New Hampshire’s (UNH) Center for Freshwater Biology.

Unique to Every Acre Counts: the Newfound Watershed Master Plan is a strong group of committed partners and we are excited to support their work,” said Steve Landry of the Watershed Assistance Section of NHDES. “It’s impressive that this project involves two universities, a local school district, the NLRA, as well as representatives from both the private and public sector. The professional and volunteer contributions from these partners is essential for generating the in-kind service match required for receiving federal funds through the Watershed Assistance Grant Program.”

“Every Acre Counts: the Newfound Watershed Master Plan, when completed in 2009, will provide a comprehensive analysis of the Newfound Lake Region environment; 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,” said Boyd Smith, Executive Director of the NLRA.

The process of developing the Plan will provide numerous opportunities for watershed residents and visitors to take part in learning and planning processes that will affect their families and communities. The first of these will be a survey, distributed over the next few weeks, of area property owners to determine their values and desires for the future of the watershed. Randomly selected residents of communities in the watershed will be contacted to participate in the survey, and it is very important to hear from all those who receive the questionnaire to best understand the views of those living in the watershed. According to Brian Eisenhauer, who will be conducting the survey with the help of PSU students, “This survey will also provide information for stewardship education by asking questions to determine the opinions and knowledge of residents.”

In late August a public meeting, moderated by Steve Whitman of Jeffrey H. Taylor and Associates, will be held to further explain the project, outline the steps involved, and gather public comments.

Throughout the summer, Bob Craycraft from the Center for Freshwater Biology will be collecting and analyzing water quality data from Newfound Lake and its tributaries. This work expands on over 20 years of scientific monitoring of the lake, in addition to training volunteers on the finer points of environmental sampling procedures.

Later this year and next, oral histories will be collected by Dr. Marcia Blaine of PSU and her students to share the richness of experience that is stored in our local residents.

Younger students will be engaged through the Newfound Area School District working with other team members to develop science-based curriculum applicable to the Newfound area, installing signage around the watershed identifying its boundaries and importance, and collaborating with PSU on collecting oral histories from local citizens to better understand the history and community connections around the lake.

The watershed master plan concept was born in the summer of 2006 during two well-attended public meetings where people shared their values, concerns and ideas linked to the Newfound quality of life. This quality is defined by many years of individual and family experience on the clear waters of Newfound Lake, in the camps and cottages surrounding its shores, the flavor and charm of the local towns, and the beauty of the woods and rugged hills that frame the lake. Making significant and measurable progress towards watershed-wide awareness and stewardship is central to the NLRA’s core mission.

The Newfound Lake watershed is 63,150 acres surrounding Newfound Lake from which rain and snowmelt flow to the lake, into the Newfound River to the Pemigewasset River, and ultimately to the Atlantic Ocean. There are nine towns with varying amounts of land located in the Newfound watershed: Alexandria, Bridgewater, Bristol, Danbury, Dorchester, Groton, Hebron, Orange and Plymouth. The geography, demographics and economies of these nine towns vary widely, and, in the spirit of New Hampshire independence and individuality, each town has its own cherished cultures and traditions.

Every Acre Counts: the Newfound Watershed Master Plan will be overseen by a Steering Committee representing both individuals and supporting agencies. For more information on the project or to become involved, please contact the NLRA at info@newfoundlake.org or 744-8689.

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

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