The New Hampshire Estuaries Project (NHEP) is part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program, which is a joint local/state/federal program established under the Clean Water Act with the goal of protecting and enhancing nationally significant estuarine resources. The NHEP is funded by the EPA and is administered by the University of New Hampshire. The NHEP’s Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for New Hampshire’s estuaries was completed in 2000 and implementation is ongoing. The Management Plan outlines key issues related to management of New Hampshire's estuaries and proposes strategies (Action Plans) that are expected to preserve, protect, and enhance the State's estuarine resources. The NHEP's priorities were established by local stakeholders and include water quality improvements, shellfish resources, land protection, and habitat restoration. Projects addressing these priorities are undertaken throughout NH's coastal watershed, which includes 42 communities. Every three years, the NHEP prepares a State of the Estuaries report with information on the status and trends of a select group of environmental indicators from the coastal watershed and estuaries. The report provides the NHEP, state natural resource managers, local officials, conservation organizations, and the public with information on the effects of management actions and decisions. Prior to developing each State of the Estuaries report, the NHEP publishes four technical data reports (“indicator reports”) that illustrate the status and trends of the complete collection of indicators tracked by the NHEP. Each report focuses on a different suite of indicators: Shellfish, Water Quality, Land Use and Development, and Critical Habitats and Species. All of the indicators are presented to the NHEP Technical Advisory Committee, which selects a subset of indicators to be presented to the NHEP Management Committee and to be included in the State of the Estuaries report. The Management Committee reviews the indicators and finalizes the list to be included in the report. Between 10 and 20 indicators are included in each State of the Estuaries report. The 2006 Critical Habitats and Species Indicator Report is the second NHEP indicator report on this subject. Data from this report will be used in the 2006 State of the Estuaries report. The following sections contain the most recent data for the 10 habitat and species indicators tracked by the NHEP. In some cases the NHEP funds data collection and monitoring activities; however data for the majority of indicators are provided by other organizations with monitoring programs. The details of the monitoring programs and performance criteria for the indicators are listed in the NHEP Monitoring Plan (NHEP, 2004). The results and interpretations for the indicators presented in this report have been peer reviewed by the NHEP Technical Advisory Committee and other experts in relevant fields. The Technical Advisory Committee consists of university professors, researchers and state and federal environmental managers from a variety of disciplines and perspectives. The conclusions of this study represent the current scientific consensus regarding conditions in New Hampshire’s estuaries.
Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership
New Hampshire Estuaries Project
Trowbridge, Phil, "NHEP Environmental Indicator Report: Critical Habitats and Species 2006" (2006). PREP Reports & Publications. 161.