Date of Award

Fall 2009

Project Type


Program or Major

Natural Resources and the Environment: Environmental Conservation

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Mimi Becker


Pathogenic fecal bacteria present a management challenge when they contaminate surface waters used by humans. This study examined the extent to which the ongoing Cains Brook/Mill Creek watershed restoration in Seabrook, NH has successfully characterized the problem of bacterial pollution and implemented mitigation practices. Guided by the policy sciences analytical framework, this study employed a policy implementation audit reviewing relevant bacteria source tracking data, interviews and online surveys as a means to triangulate multiple data sources. Results indicate that bacteria arise from multiple sources and impairments still exist, although bacteria levels were not generally high. Management activities have likely reduced some sources, especially human-borne bacteria, but not others, and there are a variety of misperceptions regarding sources and mitigation techniques. Recommendations for future actions include enhancing bacterial source monitoring and modeling, using a larger-scale watershed-based approach to enhance cooperative efforts and increasing outreach to dispel misperceptions.