Alison Watts


Associate Professor 

Research Assistant Professor

Phone: (603) 862-0585

University of New Hampshire
Environmental Research Group
222 Gregg Hall
Durham, NH 03824


Research Interest

My research focusses on the interaction between humans and water resources; I am interested in the discharge, fate and treatment of contaminates released to the environment both from the physical standpoint and as a social process.  I have a strong interest in sustainable resource management, and am currently working with municipal and watershed organizations to develop adaptive management strategies for water resources threatened by land use and climate change.  Additional research areas include the release of PAHs from seal coated surfaces, transport and removal of contaminants in stormwater, climate change mitigation, and watershed modeling

Research Emphasis

Dr. Watts is a Research Assistant Professor at the University of New Hampshire, Environmental Research Group, working on research projects at the UNH Stormwater Center, and on contaminant transport in wetlands.  Dr. Watts’s main research interest includes PAH transport in wetland and aquatic systems, stormwater treatment and characteristics, nutrient loading in water bodies, and storm/stream water quality interactions.  Specific current research areas are: release of PAHs from seal coated surfaces into stormwater and adjacent soils using a mass balance approach to determine the rate and amount of PAH release. Nutrient removal mechanisms in a gravel wetland used to treat stormwater, and nutrient inputs to the Great Bay estuary.  Understanding the impact of stormwater treatment technologies on water quality including temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, and conductivity, and optimizing stormwater design to provide maximum benefit to receiving waters.


  • New Hampshire Lives on Water.  Final report of the New Hampshire Water Sustainability Commission. December, 2012.
  • Subsurface Gravel Wetlands for Stormwater Management. Gunderson, J., Roseen R.M., Ballestero, T.P., Watts, A.W., Houle, J., and Farah K., Stormwater, 13:  8-17. 2012.
  • Coal-Tar-Based Pavement Sealcoat and PAHs: Implications for the Environment, Human Health, and Stormwater Management. Mahler, B.J., P.C. Van Metre, J. Crane, A.W. Watts, M.  Scoggins, E.S. Williams. Environmental Science and Technology. 46: 3039–3045. 2012.
  • Examination of Thermal Impacts From Stormwater Best Management Practices. Roseen, R.M., DiGennaro, N., Watts A.W., Ballestero, T.P., Houle, J., and T. Puls.  Final Project report US EPA Region 1, TMDL Program, UNHSC, Durham, NH. 2011
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in stormwater runoff from sealcoated pavements. Watts A. W., T. P. Ballestero, R.R. Roseen, J.H. Houle. Environmental Science and Technology. 44: 8849–8854. 2010.
  • Final Report of the Commission to Study the Causes, Effects, and Remediation of Siltation in the Great Bay Estuary  (HB 216, Chapter 31:1, Laws of 2007).   May 2010.
  • Watts A. W., T. P. Ballestero, and K. H. Gardner. 2006. Uptake of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in salt marsh plants Spartina alterniflora grown in contaminated sediments. Chemosphere 62; 1253-1260.
  • Watts A. W., T. P. Ballestero, K. H. Gardner. Soil and Atmospheric Inputs to PAH Concentrations in Salt Marsh Plants. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution. 189:253-263. 2008.


B.A., 1984, Planetary Science, Mount Holyoke College
M.S., 1992, Geology, Arizona State University
Ph.D. 2006, Civil Engineering, University of New Hampshire


Courses Taught

Environmental Forensics
Senior Project Design (Environmental Engineering)



National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship 2004-2007