PREP Reports & Publications


Future population growth and the corresponding increase in development in the coastal zone of NH are widely recognized as major threats to the integrity of coastal systems and their watersheds. The potential impacts associated with the expansion of developed land, and specifically with increasing amounts of impervious surfaces – rooftops, sidewalks, roads, and parking lots - may include significant changes in water quantity, degradation in water quality, and habitat loss. Because asphalt, concrete, stone, and other impenetrable materials effectively seal the ground surface, water is repelled and is prevented from infiltrating soils. Instead, stormwater runoff flows directly into our surface waters, depositing metals, excess nutrients, organics, and other pollutants into the receiving bodies. In addition to these environmental impacts, increasing levels of imperviousness can dramatically alter our landscapes, as forested and other natural settings are converted to urban/suburban uses. Many of the impacts associated with impervious surfaces had been well documented by studies in other areas of the country. However, comprehensive studies in coastal New Hampshire had not been undertaken. The primary goals of this project were to provide an accurate, current description of the extent of impervious surface coverage in this region, as well as an estimate of change in the amount of “imperviousness” over a recent, ten-year period.


Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership

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New Hampshire Estuaries Project

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