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The Swampscot River runs through Exeter and empties into Great Bay.

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Exeter's Brickyard Pond has received too many nutrients and has an algae problem.

Neighbors are using Green Infrastructure tools to improve the water.

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Urban snow piles, such as this one in Portsmouth, contain large amounts of oil, dirt, salt, and litter.

The project team is working on a solution to keep these pollutants out of our waterways.


Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management in NH Coastal Communities

The Green Infrastructure Project provides resources and support for communities to improve stormwater management. We are supporting pilot projects in six towns and developing workshops, fact sheets and other resources to help communities develop better regulations, train staff and build stormwater treatment systems.

What is Green Infrastructure?

Green infrastructure uses natural “green” methods to help reduce problems associated with rain runoff from surfaces that have been altered by people. Examples include shrub and tree buffers along streams, engineered systems that treat runoff by infiltrating or filtering the water on site, incentives or education to encourage homeowners to protect soil and water, or regulations that require better stormwater control for new construction. For a list of strategies available through this project click here.  A Complete Community Approach uses green infrastructure throughout all aspects of community planning.

Why do we care about stormwater and how does Green Infrastructure help?

Stormwater is rain runoff that flows across parking lots, roads, or other hard surfaces. Instead of soaking into soil on site,  the runoff tends to be sent elsewhere in large volumes. This contributes to flooding and the untreated water can carry pollutants including nitrogen and toxic automobile lubricants  into our rivers, lakes, and Great Bay. Many stormwater management systems designed to control some runoff are not always able to handle the large storm events that New Hampshire has experienced over the last several years. Green Infrastructure is a cost-effective way to keep more water on site, remove pollutants,  and help to alleviate flooding.

Congratulations to our Implementation Communities!

The project team selected six proposals for funding. The communities of Exeter, Stratham, Portsmouth, Rochester, Durham and Brentwood will work with us on projects to improve stormwater management. See below for descriptions.

  • Exeter
    ExeterTownExeter will work with residents near Brickyard Pond to develop an education program followed by implementation of several residential stormwater treatment systems such as rain barrels and rain gardens.  The project combines education, water treatment and monitoring and engages a wide range of stakeholders.
    • Portsmouth
      PortsmouthCityPortsmouth will work with the Project Team to design a treatment system for a snow dump on Pierce Island.  Snow removed from parking lots and roads is stored at the snow dump and as it melts sediment, salt and other pollutants are released.  This project will find a solution to a common, but rarely addressed problem.
      • Stratham
        StrathamTownThe Town of Stratham will work with the project team to strengthen the Towns regulations and planning documents regarding stormwater and water quality protection. The Town of Stratham will work with the project team to strengthen the Towns regulations and planning documents.
        • Durham
          DurhamTownDurham will be constructing a bioretention system and gravel wetland in a residential neighborhood located near the intersection of Oyster River Road and Garden Lane.  The purpose of this proposed structure is to disconnect the stormwater runoff generated from a residential neighborhood to reduce the impacts of non-point source pollution on the Oyster River. These structural installations will be accompanied by outreach to the neighborhood on ways the residents can protect their water.
          • Rochester
            RochesterCityThe goals of this proposed project are to improve the quality-of-life of Rochester’s citizens and visitors, protecting natural resources, and reducing municipal costs through the incorporation of Green Infrastructure, by: 1) Creating a means with which the city can require, with consistency, the implementation of the best and most current Low Impact Development and Green Infrastructure stormwater mitigation practices.  2) Establishing baseline data and/or methodology for tracking and monitoring the ongoing maintenance of these systems.
            • Brentwood
              BrentwoodTownBrentwood will develop storm water management plans for various municipal sites that incorporate LID strategies and then implement some of those strategies.  These projects will: 1) Increase the awareness and understanding of the town boards and highway department on the benefits of low impact development strategies. 2) Implement LID strategies at municipal buildings to reduce the storm water run-off into the Exeter River which is in close proximity.

              Green Infrastructure for New Hampshire Coastal Watershed Communities is a joint project led by the UNH Stormwater Center, and is funded by the NERRS Science Collaborative.

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