PREP Publications


What is the coastal resource issue the project sought to address? Both the magnitude and frequency of freshwater flooding is on the rise in seacoast NH and around much of New England. In the Great Bay watershed, this is the result of two primary causes: 1) increases in impervious surface stemming from a three-to-four fold increase in developed land since 1962; and 2) changing rainfall patterns in part exemplified by a doubling in the frequency of extreme weather events that drop more than 4 inches of precipitation in less than 48 hours (Wake et al., 2011) over the same time period. Moreover, the size of the 100-year precipitation event in this region has increased 26% from 6.3 inches to 8.5 inches from the mid 1950’s to 2010 (NRCC and NRCS, 2012). One consequence is the occurrence of three 100-year floods measured on the Lamprey River at Packers Falls since 1987, and a fourth if the three days of flooding in March of 2010 had occurred instead in two days (Figure 1). Flooding events are expected to continue to increase in magnitude and frequency as land in the watershed is further developed and climate continues to change in response to anthropogenic forcing (e.g., Hayhoe et el., 2007; IPCC, 2007; Karl et al., 2009). Land use management strategies, in particular low impact development (LID) zoning requirements, are one strategy that communities can employ for increased resiliency to flooding with the greatest influence in urban environments.

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