Water Quality and the Landscape: Long-term monitoring of rapidly developing suburban watersheds

Project Number: 2003NH21B

Start Date: 2013-03-01 End Date: 2016-02-29

Principal Investigators: William McDowell

Abstract: New Hampshire’s surface waters are a very valuable resource, contributing to the state’s economic base through recreation (fishing, boating, and swimming), tourism and real estate values, and drinking water supplies. The rapid population growth that New Hampshire is experiencing threatens the state’s water supplies and ecosystem health. The proposed work will continue documentation of long-term changes to water quality in response to changing land use and management practices as a result of population growth and also to extreme climatic events. There are several components to this project, drawing from the efforts of local watershed monitoring groups, as well as on-going research projects by UNH staff and students, all leading to long-term datasets of water quality in New Hampshire. These water quality datasets could support the development, testing and refinement of predictive models, accurately assess the impacts of watershed management practices on drinking water supplies, assess efforts to reduce surface water quality impairments, and be potential early warning signs of dramatic changes to surface water quality in the region resulting from rapid development.