Increasing nitrogen concentrations and declining eelgrass beds in the Great Bay Estuary, NH are clear indicators of impending problems for the state’s estuaries. A workgroup established in 2005 by the NH Department of Environmental Services and the NH Estuaries Project (NHEP) adopted eelgrass survival as the water quality target for nutrient criteria development for NH’s estuaries. In 2007, the NHEP received grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to collect water quality information including that from moored sensors and hyper-spectral imagery data of the Great Bay Estuary. A second grant in 2008 was directed at determining the influence of nuisance macroalgae proliferation on eelgrass bed extent in the context of eutrophication. Here we present the results of these two projects with the spatial distributions of water quality, shallow water bathymetry, and the extent of eelgrass and macroalgae. The results are discussed with respect to eelgrass survivability models, historical eelgrass distributions, and using eutrophication responses in the Great Bay Estuary as a model for other northern, macrotidal estuaries. The expected outcome of this research will support the development of numeric nutrient criteria for NH’s estuaries.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

Coastal Geotools 2009



Conference Date

Mar 2 - Mar 5, 2009

Publisher Place

Myrtle Beach, SC, USA


U.S. Geological Survey

Document Type

Conference Proceeding