Urban Watershed Renewal in Berry Brook

An Examination of Impervious Cover, Stream Restoration and Ecosystem Response

 Urban Watershed Renewal  is being implemented through water quality and stream restoration improvements in the Berry Brook Watershed beginning in 2011. The Berry Brook Watershed represents a unique opportunity to work within a vibrant supportive community at a neighborhood scale, and measure watershed and ecosystem response in relation to impervious cover reductions.  Generally speaking, impervious cover refers to surfaces such as parking lots, roadways and rooftops from which water runs off, instead of infiltrating into the soil.  Impervious cover reductions are achieved by directing this run-off to treatment systems which allow for some infiltration and/or treatment of the stormwater run-off prior to discharging to Berry Brook.

The small scale of the Berry Brook Watershed enables an examination of major reductions of impervious cover in relation to a range of water quality and habitat parameters.  In larger watersheds, cumulative measurable benefits from stormwater management are often achievable on the order of decades instead of years. Determining the effect and impact of urban watershed renewal efforts can be extremely challenging due to the large scale of a watershed in relation to specific targeted improvements.

This project will foster habitat restoration through urban watershed renewal in a small 1st order stream by integrating a combination of:

  1. Impervious Cover Reduction through the targeted implementation of Low Impact Development stormwater management,
  2. Stream and Wetland Restoration, and Base Flow Augmentation, 
  3. Community Engagement and Public Participation.  

This project is representative of urbanized watersheds throughout the country. The Brook is impaired from impacts typical of high percentages of impervious cover including large peak storm flows, low baseflows, and runoff contaminated by temperature, solids, metals, nutrients, and bacteria. Despite the stream discontinuity, there exist many sections of intact flood plain, stable channels, and vegetated buffers.  Restoring connectivity will reestablish stream channel conveyance restore wetland and floodplain functionality and create habitat.

This project is  a unique partnership between the City of Dover, the University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center, the Cocheco River Watershed Coalition, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, American Rivers, and funding by New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. Through a series of grants and matching funding from the City of Dover, this project will implement some of the major recommendations from the 2008 Watershed Management Plan for Berry Brook.

Current Activities

  • Installation of Central Ave gravel wetland for treatment of 11 acres of stormwater runoff
  • Restore and reestablish the headwaters of Berry Brook through stream restoration/creation.
  • Create and enhance 2+ acres of wetland complexes.
  • Design and install stormwater treatment practices to filter, infiltrate, and reduce stormwater runoff from impervious cover.
  • Evaluate and monitor water quality improvements.

Future Activities

  • Bioretention installation on Lowell Ave
  • Bioretention installation on Roosevelt Ave
  • Installation of BMPs in Upper Watershed.
  • Permitting design and construction of the lower stream channel at Sixth Street Station.
  • Installation of BMPs in lower Watershed.
  • Installation of light walking bridges to improve public trails in lower stream channel.

Completed Activities

  • Daylighting and Construction of Stream Channel in Upper Watershed.
  • Completion of Phase I Implementation Activites -Click here for the summary report.
    • Residential Stormwater Audits.
    • Installation of residential rain gardens.
    • Providing rain barrels to watershed residents.  Click on these links for more information on Rain Barrels and the Rain Barrel Project.
    • Installation of a Tree Filter and Rain Garden at the Horne Street School.
    • Develop and assist in the delivery of a watershed curriculum for Horne Street School.
    • Community Outreach with CRWC through a Rain Barrel Workshop and a neighborhood meeting.
  • Watershed clean-up with CRWC and community volunteers.
  • Bioswale installation at Snow Avenue.
  • Bioswale installation at Page Avenue.
  • Wetland Permitting.
  • Section 106 - Historic Review.
  • Water Works Site Preparation and clean-up.
Project LeadProect Manager      
City of Dover Lead

Robert Roseen, PhD, PE, D.WRE

Melinda Bubier, E.I.T

Dean Peschel

Project Team UNH Stormwater Center       
NHDES Grant Managers     
Community Outreach Partner 

Joel Ballestero
Thomas P. Ballestero, PhD, PE
Robert Dowling
James Houle, CPSWQ
James Sherrard Jr., E.I.T
Ann Scholz, PE

Lori Sommer
Sally Soule


Lorie Chase, CRWC

Funding for this project was provided in part  by a Watershed Assistance Grant from the NH Department of Environmental Services with Clean Water Act Section 319 funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and funding from the Great Bay Stewards.