The Upper Merrimack River Local Advisory Committee (UMRLAC) will be revising its Management Plan this year through a grant to the Central NH Regional Planning Commission from the NH Department of Environmental Services. The Planning Commission will be working with the UMRLAC and providing technical support for its revision. The new management plan will address emerging issues in the upper Merrimack and provide a vision and guidance for the watershed.
This year, the UMRLAC bid farewell to representatives who served several terms representing their respective cities and towns. Marilee A. Horn and Richard Laflamme (called to serve in Iraq) from Franklin tendered their resignations. Tucker Noack is the new Franklin representative. Pamela Hunt moved from the Northfield area. Mary Lee now represents Northfield. Susan Paschell finished her term as a Bow representative. Robert Wyatt recently moved from the Town of Bow to Concord and we hope to work with him again soon. Gary Lynn and Krista Crowell remain as Bow representatives. Lastly, Stephen Robinson, the last of the two charter UMRLACers, moved out of Concord and tendered his resignation. Steve served as an UMRLACer since 1990 and for many years as the Committee’s Treasurer. Fortunately for the UMRLAC, Steve’s commitment to the River remains high: his firm, Checkmate Expert Payroll Services is an Adopt-a-River sponsor. The UMRLAC is pleased to welcome Rick Chormann, the newest Concord representative. Elected UMRLAC officers for 2005-2006 are Michele L. Tremblay, Chair; Stephen C. Landry, Vice-chair; Gary Lynn, Secretary; and Krista Crowell, Treasurer.
UMRLAC is proud to continue implementation of the Upper Merrimack Monitoring Program (UMMP) as it enters its tenth year. The UMMP owes much of its success to strong municipal support and that from its Adopt-a-River Site Sponsors. The Program’s Adopt-a-River Sponsors include Aquarian Analytical Laboratories, Inc., Aries Engineering, Inc.; Checkmate Expert Payroll Services, Concord; Elektrisola, Boscawen; Franklin Savings Bank; Franklin Wastewater Treatment Facility; Public Service Company of NH Corporate Offices and Merrimack Station; and Watts Regulator/Webster Valve. Many thanks to the Conservation Commissions and Towns and Cities of Boscawen, Bow, Canterbury, Concord, Franklin, and Northfield for their ongoing support and for graciously hosting Upper Merrimack River Local Advisory Committee meetings. The Franklin Waste Water Treatment Facility provided E. coli sample processing for the UMMP with the assistance of over a dozen collection volunteers. The data are the first volunteer monitoring program’s to be entered into the state Environmental Quality Monitoring system. The UMRLAC is grateful for its sponsors’, partners’, and municipalities’ support of the Upper Merrimack Monitoring Program (UMMP) and other projects in the watershed.
Graciously hosted by St. Paul’s School, Bug Nights continues its popularity in the region, entering its tenth year in 2006 with over 60 individuals volunteering their collection and identification services. Steve Landry, Boscawen representative, contributed several features in the national publication, The Volunteer Monitor. This year, college biology student and long-term UMMP volunteer, Kara Hewes, worked with classmates to collect and process an entire site of biomonitoring samples. The UMRLAC is commissioning a ten-year data analysis and report of the UMMP and a retrospective of the program to guide planning efforts for the next decade. To help fund the report, the UMRLAC has printed T-shirts and tote bags sporting a graphic of its popular Insect Inquirer on the back and a colored dragonfly and river image on the front. Please contact Michele Tremblay (information at the end of this report) or your UMRLAC municipal representative if you would like to make a bold fashion statement with a shirt or bag.
In collaboration with the NH Rivers Council, the UMRLAC continued to facilitate a stakeholder group that reviews the Public Service of NH re-licensing application. The UMRLAC filed for intervenor status in 2004 and continues to monitor the Federal Energy Regulatory Agency (FERC) licensing process. With the NH Rivers Council, the UMRLAC provided information to organizations and concerned citizens and informs them of the FERC process as well as provided information on how they can form and file their own comments.
Lori Sommer and Paul Currier from the NH Department of Environmental Services presented, respectively on the wetlands mitigation rules and the Department’s watershed approach. Representatives from the Oxbow Initiative provided information on the landfill proposed for Canterbury.
Steve Landry represents the UMRLAC and several other southern New Hampshire local river management advisory committees on the NH Department of Transportation’s Community Technical Assistance Program (known as CTAP). The CTAP is working to find community solutions in response to the I-93 widening. Michele Tremblay presented on the topic of the value of volunteer work and water quality monitoring at the US Environmental Protection Agency’s “Shared Waters Summit” in April.
The UMRLAC continued to review project plans and proposals and provide comment including the Glines Brook project in Boscawen; permits associated with the landfill proposed for Canterbury; an access and recreational facility, NH Technical Institute expansion plans, a Unitil infrastructure river crossing, and Abbott development in Concord; and several residential subdivisions, and a detention pond in Franklin. The Committee monitored the proposal for the Sisters of the Holy Cross property in West Franklin.
Please visit our website at www.merrimackriver.org for further information on the river, committee membership, activities, maps, water quality data, and photographs of UMRLAC volunteers in action. UMRLAC meetings are held on a rotating basis in the six represented communities on the second Monday of each month at 7:00 PM. All are welcome to attend. For meeting schedules, locations and more information, contact Michele L. Tremblay, Chair, at 796-2615, or your local representatives.