Event Launches New Plan for Improving Environmental Health of the Region
By Dave Kellam, Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership
September 22, 2010
New Hampshire State commissioners and agency representatives, Congresswoman Carol-Shea-Porter and congressional staff from U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s office and U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg’s office joined the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership (PREP) in launching a new, 10-year plan to improve the environmental health of the estuaries and watersheds in the Piscataqua Region. On Sept. 20, at Great Island Common, in New Castle, N.H., legislators, land trust and watershed association members, regional planning commission staff, and university researchers from Maine and New Hampshire endorsed the plan and pledged their commitment to work together to achieve the plan’s goals.
The 2010 Piscataqua Region Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan, or CCMP, describes actions to be done in 42 communities in New Hampshire and 10 communities in Maine that comprise the Piscataqua Region. The CCMP was created during an 18-month period, with input from more than 150 individuals representing 82 stakeholder groups. A team of consultants and staff from PREP compiled and published the plan that lays the foundation for work to be done by more than 200 organizations during the next decade to protect and restore the region’s estuaries and associated watersheds. The CCMP is available on line at www.prep.unh.edu/plan.pdf.
PREP’s Director, Rachel Rouillard sees the plan as a forum for all stakeholders to coordinate efforts and to improve efficiency of environmental work.
“Many people in Maine and New Hampshire have expressed concern about the environmental condition of the region’s estuaries and there is great energy building to do something about it. Everyone has a part to play, and this 10-year strategy illustrates what needs to be done,” Rouillard said. “We heard from state agencies, university researchers, environmental groups, and the municipal planning community from both states when developing this plan. It really is the culmination of the best available data and sound science on the subject of estuarine management.”
This new plan is an update of the last PREP CCMP, published in 2000, and is, in part, a response to new findings from PREP’s 2009 State of the Estuaries Report which indicated the environmental health of the estuaries was in decline. The 2010 CCMP includes 82 separate action plans dealing with issues in water resources, living resources and habitat restoration, land use and habitat protection, and watershed stewardship.
PREP is funded primarily through a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program, which is a joint local, state, and federal program established by the Clean Water Act. Each of the 28 National Estuary Program developed and implements a CCMP. PREP is administered by UNH. For more information, go to www.prep.unh.edu.