Conservation Group Names New Great Bay, NH, Waterkeeper
February 15, 2012
The Conservation Law Foundation recently announced the Great Bay-Piscataqua Waterkeeper, a new program devoted to protecting the Great Bay estuary, one of New England’s most precious natural resources and a water resource facing mounting threats.
The program, led by Peter Wellenberger, a 20-year veteran of the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, is New Hampshire’s first Waterkeeper. Spanning the New Hampshire and Maine border, the Great Bay estuary is a natural treasure in the heart of New Hampshire’s seacoast region. Great Bay is home to numerous fish and bird species and provides spectacular fishing, boating and hiking opportunities. While its ecological and recreational value is immeasurable, its future is uncertain.
Pollution is pushing the Great Bay estuary toward a tipping point. Eelgrass—underwater plants that are the cornerstone of the estuary’s ecosystem—is declining in Great Bay and has entirely disappeared in the Piscataqua River and other waters within the estuary. Oyster populations have declined precipitously. Nitrogen pollution from sewage treatment plants and stormwater has increased, straining an already fragile resource.
The Great Bay-Piscataqua Waterkeeper is focused on solving these problems by:
- Building a strong local voice for the Great Bay estuary
- Advancing needed policies and innovative solutions
- Being the “eyes and ears” for the Great Bay estuary and ensuring that it benefits from the full protections of the Clean Water Act and other environmental laws.