UNH'S Great Bay Coast Watch Annual Meeting March 7

Volunteers Also Being Sought

By Steve Adams
UNH Sea Grant

February 23, 2001

DURHAM, N.H. -- The Great Bay Coast Watch (GBCW) annual meeting will be held Wednesday, March 7, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Fish and Game building at 37 Concord Road in Durham.

This 12-year-old University of New Hampshire volunteer water quality monitoring group keeps tabs on 21 sites around Great Bay and its tributaries, testing parameters such as pH, fecal coliform and salinity. Recently they also began weekly monitoring for toxic phytoplankton blooms at five coastal sites and the Isles of Shoals.

The highlight of this year's meeting will be the unveiling of the GBCW 10-year report. The 32-page, full-color report contains all of the data collected by the GBCW from 1990 to 1999.

"Ten years of volunteer water quality monitoring data show that Great Bay Estuary is one of the cleanest estuaries in the eastern United States," says Ann Reid, watch coordinator. "That gives us all the more reason to celebrate the efforts of the GBCW volunteers."

The watch is also involved in a range of other water quality efforts. Watchers have helped to sample storm water runoff in Hampton/Seabrook and have collected mussels for the N.H. Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) shellfish management program.

This year, watchers will continue their sampling of storm water runoff in Hampton/Seabrook, with funding from the N.H. Estuarine Project. Watchers will also sample storm water runoff in various areas of Dover, thanks to financial support from the NHDES. Additionally, they will present their data to the Portsmouth, Newington and New Castle conservation commissions and assist UNH Professor Dave Burdick in the restoration of plants and animals in Portsmouth's South Mill Pond.

"It is shaping up to be an exciting year for the watch," says Reid, "and with a number of new grants pending or secured, volunteer opportunities abound."

Anyone interested in becoming a GBCW volunteer should contact Reid by e-mail at ann.reid@unh.edu, by phone at 603-749-1565, or speak with her after the annual meeting.

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