Survey shows residents willing pay more to improve water quality

March 24th, 2014 by Lynn

    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 ofNew 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.

    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.

    “These findings indicate that New Hampshire residents understand the importance of clean water in our state,” said Rogers. “The fact that such a high percentage of people are willing to pay more to protect surface water quality is an important finding to water resource managers.”

    The survey also shows that 58 percent of New Hampshire residents realize their own actions on their property can have an impact on overall water in the community, and 83 percent agree that they would be willing to take action to reduce storm water pollution, especially if it would help reduce water and sewer bills.

    Funding for the report was provided by Plymouth State University’s College of Graduate Studies and the Center for the Environment, and NH EPSCoR’s Ecosystems and Society Project supported by the National Science Foundation. Funding was provided by PREP as well. PREP is part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program, a joint program between local, state and federal agencies established under the Clean Water Act. PREP is supported in part by an EPA matching grant and is housed within the University of New Hampshire School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering.

    Specific findings for the oversample of the PREP region, which includes 10 Maine communities, are contained in the report as well.

    The complete report and survey can be found at: www.plymouth.edu/center-for-the-environment/files/2013/01/Water-Survey-Report-March-2014.pdf.

    An executive summary is also available: www.plymouth.edu/center-for-the-environment/files/2013/01/Water-Survey-Report-Exec-Summary-March-2014.pdf.

    PSU hosts 2014 New Hampshire Water and Watershed Conference March 21

    February 27th, 2014 by Lynn

      The 2014 New Hampshire Water and Watershed Conference will be held on Friday, March 21, at Plymouth State University. This year, the theme is Sustainability of New Hampshire’s Water Resources.

      PLYMOUTH — 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 poster presentations this year. Topics include land use planning for water resources; water and public health; integrating science and decision making; New Hampshire’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 www.plymouth.edu/center-for-the-environment/2014-nh-water-watershed-conference/.

      Conference Agenda: 
      www.plymouth.edu/center-for-the-environment/2014-nh-water-watershed-conference/2014-agenda-nh-water-watershed.

      Conference Vendor and Sponsor Information:
      www.plymouth.edu/center-for-the-environment/2014-nh-water-watershed-conference/sponsor-and-vendor-information/

       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.

       

      Plymouth State students oversee volunteer water sampling project

      July 16th, 2013 by Lynn

        PLYMOUTH STATE UNIVERSITY Environmental Science and Policy graduate students Ashley Hyde and Matt Bartley collect water samples in the Pemigewasset River in Plymouth July 8. COURTESY

        PLYMOUTH — On July 16, volunteers throughout New Hampshire have committed to collecting water samples in the State’s rivers and streams to take a ‘snapshot’ of water quality.

        Plymouth State University is overseeing this unique water sampling project with the goal of improving the understanding of New Hampshire’s water resources and providing data to be used by resource managers, state agencies, researchers, and educators.

        How does it work? Approximately 50 volunteers throughout New Hampshire have committed to collecting water samples that will be sent to PSU and a University of New Hampshire lab for detailed lab analysis of a number of different chemicals in water.

        PSU is believed to be the first to organize such an effort in New Hampshire — and effort that has involved hours of planning and logistics. Errin Volitis, a research technician with the Center for the Environment at PSU is helping to coordinate the effort.

        “Each sampling day involves volunteers carefully collecting filtered water samples from their site,” said Volitis. “The samples are then frozen for storage and set to a laboratory for analysis. PSU has provided each volunteer with sampling supplies and instructions, but the volunteers have made the project possible.”

        Assistant professor of hydrology Mark Green is the researcher who developed the project concept.

        “The idea was to give us three snapshots of NH’s rivers and streams allowing us to better understand the difference between water resources in the State, and how these water resources respond to the different types of land use,” Green said. “The data from this project will be extremely valuable in creating new understanding about our water conditions in New Hampshire.”

        The river sites where water samples are being collected are part of a larger project funded by the National Science Foundation through a cooperative agreement to the New Hampshire Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. Since 2012, state-of-the-art sensors have been recording temperature, electrical conductivity, and river height continuously at each of the water sampling sites.

        The network has been designed to include all watershed sizes, shapes and land uses, which are geographically dispersed across New Hampshire. The network is coordinated by a group of researchers, staff and students at Plymouth State University and implemented by a broad group of partners, including educators, researchers, government agencies, non-profit organizations and citizen scientists.

        “The water samples will be analyzed to determine basic measures of water quality. We are looking at concentrations of phosphorus, dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen in addition to pH, turbidity or clarity, and major ions (Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Sulfate, Nitrate). These ions are major contributors to electrical conductivity, so they will help us interpret the water electrical conductance data we get from the sensors,” said Green.

        Data from the July 16 sampling project will be analyzed this fall and results shared then. “We can’t thank everyone enough,” said Volitis.

        Plymouth State University project will help provide insight into NH water quality

        July 16th, 2013 by Lynn

          By DAN SEUFERT
          Union Leader Correspondent

          Left to right, Plymouth State University environmental science and policy graduate students Ashley Hyde and Matt Bartley collect water samples in the Pemigewasset River in Plymouth last week. (COURTESY)

          PLYMOUTH — On Tuesday, about 50 volunteers will be in various spots around the state taking a “snapshot” of the water quality in New Hampshire’s rivers and streams.

          They won’t be using cameras, they’ll be taking water samples as part of a new Plymouth State University-led project aimed at improving the understanding of the state’s water resources and providing data to be used by resource managers, state agencies, researchers, and educators.

          Each volunteer will collect water samples that will be sent to PSU and University of New Hampshire laboratories for detailed chemical analysis.

          PSU is believed to be the first to organize such an effort in the state, according to Bruce Lyndes, PSU’s media relations manager.

          “Each sampling day involves volunteers carefully collecting filtered water samples from their site,” said Errin Volitis, a research technician with PSU’s Center for the Environment, who is helping to coordinate the effort.

          “The samples are then frozen for storage and sent to a laboratory for analysis. PSU has provided each volunteer with sampling supplies and instructions, but the volunteers have made the project possible.”Mark Green, an assistant professor of hydrology at PSU who developed the project concept, said the snapshots will give researchers a better idea of how the state’s water resources respond to different land uses.

          “The data from this project will be extremely valuable in creating new understanding about our water conditions in New Hampshire,” Green said.

          The sampling is part of a larger project funded by the National Science Foundation through a cooperative agreement with the New Hampshire Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.

          Since 2012, state-of-the-art sensors have been recording temperature, electrical conductivity, and river height continuously at each of the water sampling sites. The network has been designed to include all watershed sizes, shapes and land uses, which are geographically dispersed across New Hampshire.

          The network is coordinated by a group of researchers, staff and students at PSU and implemented by a broad group of partners, including educators, researchers, government agencies, non-profit organizations and citizen scientists.

          Data from the sampling project will be analyzed this fall and results will be then be shared.

          “We can’t thank (the volunteers) enough,” said Volitis.

          What research at Quincy Bog reveals about the past

          July 9th, 2013 by Lynn

            A CORE sample is taken from Quincy Bog in Rumney to expose its core. COURTESY

            RUMNEY — Quincy Bog Natural Area may be best known as a local spot that provides opportunities for recreational walking, observing plants and animals and attending organized programs and walks for residents and visitors in the Pemi-Baker area.

            But its educational mission extends further with partners. Local teachers run field trips with younger students hoping to earn a Jr. Naturalist Badge. University researchers bring students to apply their academic learning and research techniques to questions in a real-world setting.

            Dr. Lisa Doner is one such researcher using the Bog as a teaching tool. Doner is a member of the Center for the Environment and the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at Plymouth State University.

            Recently she led a group of future scientists to conduct field research and collect samples from underneath the ice at Quincy Bog, in the middle of winter. During the following semester, students began a basic analysis on the collected material at the sedimentology lab on the Plymouth State University campus.

            What secrets are hidden in the layers of mud, sand and clay beneath the Quincy Bog in Rumney? First a couple of definitions to ground the reader. The students used methods from two branches of science called paleoecology and paleolimnology.

            Paleoecology is the branch of ecology that deals with the interaction between ancient organisms and their environment. Paleolimnology is the study of ancient lakes from their sediments and fossils.

            The primary method used in this study is analyses of physical characteristics of the sediments underlying the pond at the Quincy Bog. This includes each sample’s density, ratio of mineral to organic material, particle-size and tendency to respond to weak magnetic fields.

            Two kinds of cores were collected: a surface core, that captures the delicate interface between the water and the sediments, and a long core. “The surface core is important,” said Doner, “because it holds recent sediments. It forms the bridge, in essence, between our written record and the geologic record, since they overlap in time.”

            She continued to explain that the surface might contain a “record” of recent beaver dam expansion, Quincy Bog Road construction and development projects, and floods that occurred in the last century. The long core, according to Doner, is a sequence of 1-meterlong cores.

            “The long core provided several surprises,” she said.

            First, it seems that the pond at the Bog has been around for a very long time and that beaver are not the sole reason for the area being a wetland.

            Second, the long core contains materials near the bottom that are consistent with glaciers that passed through New Hampshire 12,000 years ago. Therefore Doner surmises the core must contain at least 12,000 years of “geologic memory.

            The last surprise comes from preliminary analysis of the surface core. “In recent times, perhaps within the last 150 years,” said Doner, “an enormous disturbance, or multiple disturbances, changed the character of the site.”

            Before she can tell more about these disturbances, Doner needs to learn the age of the sediments involved. With the help of a grant from the Geological Society of America, two undergraduate environmental science students will use lead dating techniques which provide a timeline for events of the past 150 years.

            “Having information about the age of the sediments will allow us to look at the deposits laid down during 1927, 1936, 1938, 1973 and 1989, to determine if the historically large floods in these years left a mark in the Bog’s sediments,” said Donor.

            Other possible explanations will be reviewed as well as the cores continue to be studied. Additional dating is underway, using radiocarbon analyses to provide ages covering thousands of years.

            To read more about this interesting project check out the current volume of Bog Notes at http://www.quincybog.org/bognotes.htm. Quincy Bog volunteer Dan Kemp has prepared a documentary of this activity and it can be viewed on the Quincy Bog website at http://www.quincybog.org/bognotes.htm.

             

             

             

             

            New Director at PSUs Center for the Environment

            August 6th, 2012 by Michael


              PSU names head of Center for Environment

              August 5th, 2012 by Michael

                Moose & Isreal’s Rivers part of statewide research project

                July 11th, 2012 by Michael

                  EPSCoR Berlin Reporter July 11 2012

                   

                  The Lord God Bird special review screening

                  July 3rd, 2008 by Julie

                  New Director named at PSU’s Center for the Environment

                  April 10th, 2008 by Julie

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