Recent Collaborative Efforts

Febraury 21, 2014
In April of 2013, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) and the cities of Dover, Portsmouth and Rochester (Cities) cooperatively reached an agreement (click here for agreement) to conduct an independent scientific peer review of the DES document entitled "Numeric Nutrient Criteria for Great Bay Estuary" prepared in 2009.   DES, which is responsible for setting water quality standards, produced the document to interpret the nitrogen water quality criteria for the Estuary.  The document influenced the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to restrict sharply the discharge of nitrogen from local wastewater treatment plants, including those located in Dover, Portsmouth and Rochester.
Representatives from DES and the Cities of Dover, Portsmouth and Rochester collaboratively developed charge questions to be answered by the peer reviewers; established a scope of work and schedule; and identified and engaged qualified experts to perform the peer review.   The representatives selected experts with a diversity of experience who had not previously studied or evaluated the Great Bay Estuary beyond what would have been expected within their field.   Each expert completed a conflict of interest form which was reviewed by the parties and accepted prior to the commencement of the peer review.

Local experts and other interested parties were invited to submit comments to the peer reviewers.  Click here to see the solicitation for public comment.  Public comments were received from the Conservation Law Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, Dr. Frederick Short, Dr. Richard Langen and Dr. Stephen Jones as well as DES and the Cities.  All public comments were forwarded to the peer reviewers.

This Report is the culmination of the peer reviewers' work to provide guidance to state regulators as well as the Great Bay communities.  Both DES and the communities are committed to and charged with making well-supported assessments and decisions that affect the wastewater and storm water infrastructure investments necessary to meet current and future water quality goals.

Great Bay Municipal Coalition

The Great Bay Municipal Coalition presently consists of the cities of Dover, Portsmouth and Rochester. The goal of the Coalition is to ensure that sound science is used as a basis for state and federal regulatory decisions, so that municipal dollars can be used to deliver measurable environmental benefits.  Current state and federal regulatory decisions are being based on water quality standards for the Estuary set by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES).  Those standards include the Nutrient Criteria that will impact wastewater treatment plant discharges, stormwater management practices, and local land use development.  Over the last four years, the Coalition has initiated various actions in the state and federal courts, and in administrative law forums, to press DES and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review the Great Bay Estuary data and to base its regulatory actions on good science. 

Southeast Watershed Alliance

The City of Portsmouth is a member of the Southeast Watershed Alliance (SWA), a regional organization of municipalities in New Hampshire's coastal watershed. The mission of the SWA is to establish a regional framework for coastal watershed communities, regional planning commissions, the state and other stakeholders, to collaborate on planning, and implementation measures to improve and protect water quality and more effectively address the challenges of meeting clean water standards. Visit the SWA website for more information.

Great Bay Municipal Coalition