PREP Reports & Publications


The New Hampshire Estuaries Project (NHEP) is part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) National Estuary Program, which is a collaborative local/state/federal program established under the Clean Water Act with the goal of protecting and enhancing nationally significant estuaries. The NHEP receives most of its funding from the EPA and is administered by the University of New Hampshire. The mission of the NHEP is to protect, restore, and monitor the environmental quality of the state’s estuaries, including the Great Bay Estuary and the Hampton-Seabrook Estuary. The NHEP study area covers the entire coastal watershed of New Hampshire, including all the freshwater tributaries that flow into the estuaries. Forty-two communities are within the NHEP’s area of focus. About 10 percent of the state’s land area is in the coastal watershed, and approximately one-third of the state’s population and businesses are located here. Although a portion of the watershed lies in Maine, currently the NHEP conducts its activities in the New Hampshire portion only. Approved in 2001 and updated in 2005, the NHEP’s Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (Management Plan) represents a strategic approach to protect and restore the state’s estuaries. Spanning three years, the collaborative process to develop the watershed plan involved the work of resource managers, planners, researchers, concerned citizens, and other coastal stakeholders. The resulting plan describes actions to be undertaken throughout New Hampshire’s coastal watershed to achieve and sustain healthy estuarine systems. The Management Plan identifies priority actions in five areas: 1) Water Quality, 2) Land Use, Development, and Habitat Protection, 3) Shellfish Resources, 4) Habitat Restoration, and 5) Public Outreach and Education. The NHEP collaborates with partner organizations to identify Management Plan priorities each year. The NHEP either addresses these activities directly or awards grants to communities, conservation organizations, researchers, and government agencies to complete priority projects. From 2001 to 2006, the NHEP awarded approximately $3.5 million to fund projects to improve, protect, or monitor the health of New Hampshire’s estuaries.


Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership

Publication Date



New Hampshire Estuaries Project

Document Type