PREP Reports & Publications

External Advisors to PREP Technical Advisory Committee Statement Regarding Eelgrass Stressors in the Great Bay Estuary


Three external advisors were invited to participate in PREP’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) process during the 2016-2017 meetings. Dr. Jud Kenworthy has been advising PREP since the spring of 2016 and he served on the 2014 Peer Review Panel for the Numeric Nutrient Criteria for the Great Bay Estuary. Dr. Ken Moore was one of the scientists approached to be on the the Peer Review Panel by NH Department of Environmental Services (DES) and the Great Bay Municipal Coalition. Dr. Moore joined the process in February 2017. Dr. Chris Gobler began offering advice on issues related to seaweeds, shellfish, and general water and sediment quality in December 2016. Dr. Gobler was chosen because of his unique combination and depth of background in issues pertaining to phytoplankton, seagrass and bivalves.

In early 2017, several conference calls involving the PREP coastal scientist and all three advisors were held. The primary task for the advisors was articulated as: “Provide feedback on what stressors should be considered and prioritized (relative to each other) when trying to manage for improved ecosystem condition, in particular, as measured by the distribution and abundance of eelgrass in the Great Bay estuarine ecosystem, but also considering health of shellfish habitats.” The advisors were asked to focus on data collected specific to the Great Bay Estuary and to bring to bear knowledge gained from experience and studies in other coastal ecosystems. The advisors were given access to 44 different sources of environmental information on eelgrass, oysters and water quality in the Great Bay Estuary. These sources included data from PREP, EPA, NH DES, the Municipal Coalition and individual researchers. All three advisors attended the May 9th and 10th (2017) TAC meetings and continue to offer advice on the development of the State of Our Estuaries Report.

The charge for this statement was to offer overarching views on the question of eelgrass stressors, based on science, but in a way that builds a foundation for future management discussions. In addition, Dr. Kenworthy, who also served on the 2014 Peer Review of 2009 proposed numeric nutrient criteria, was asked to write a paragraph relating the Peer Review to the 2017 TAC Process.

This report is an appedinx to the "PREP Environmental Data Report, December 2017."


Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership

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