LRHO Research

Some of the completed research projects in the Natural Resources Department & the Environment include examining the influence of ecosystem properties, land use patterns, human population density, and property values on water quality by examining differences in both surface water and groundwater quality among sub-basins. We are also addressing long-term changes in water quality associated with changes in these watershed attributes over time in the entire Lamprey River basin and are assessing total N inputs and outputs. Results to date show a strong influence of population density on nitrate in stream water and also groundwater (see graph), but no effect on phosphate or dissolved organic matter. Property values also affect nitrogen levels, with higher property value per ha associated with higher nitrate and ammonium concentration (see graph) and flux. Monthly average nitrate concentration is increasing in the Lamprey River and we suspect this is due to suburbanization (see graph). There is also a large amount of nitrogen retention in the Lamprey River basin (78 to 93 % from 2000 to 2006), but we do not fully understand the mechanisms that control N storage or loss within the basin. Other projects under way include measuring in-stream changes in nitrogen along the main stem, changes in nitrogen in the riparian zone of small tributaries and in-stream changes in nitrogen gas along a small tributary with a suburbanized watershed.


Completed Projects


  • Surface water quality vs. landscape characteristics
  • Instream nutrient dynamics in five first order streams
  • Suburbanization, water quality and property values
  • Stream chemistry during high flow events
  • Groundwater quality vs. landscape characteristics
  • Nitrogen transformation in instream wetlands
  • Influence of suburbanization on leaf litter decomposition and microbial activity
  • Nitrogen loading in coastal watersheds of New Hampshire
  • Nitrogen transformations in a riparian zone
  • Salinization of suburbanizing New Hampshire streams and groundwater
  • Investigating Floodplain Forest Communities, Including Soil and Flood Dynamics: Lamprey River, Lee, New Hampshire


Current Projects


  • Linking wet deposition to air mass chemistry
  • Understanding spatial and temporal differences in N2O within the Lamprey River watershed
  • Nitrogen removal in an agriculturally influenced stream
  • Hydrologic and nutrient dynamics in an unregulated New England floodplain
  • Throughfall chemistry in a deciduous and coniferous forest stand
  • Affects of a frost horizon on groundwater recharge in a stratified drift aquifer
  • Hydrologic conditions along the North River
  • Bedrock aquifer flowpaths
  • Impact of stream piping on ecosystem processes
  • Organic dairy
  • Ecosystem services in in a fragmenting forested landscape


Ongoing Projects


  • Long term monitoring of water quality in the Lamprey River
  • Nutrient budget for the Lamprey River watershed and its sub-basins
  • Changes in riparian nitrogen dynamics over time