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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DATE: November 23, 2009
CONTACT:
Kevin Lucey, Coastal Program Restoration Coordinator, (603) 559-0026
Lenny Lord, Rockingham County Conservation District Manager, (603) 679-2790

Restoration Work at Little River Salt Marsh Begins

North Hampton, NH – The N.H. Coastal Program at the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services and the Rockingham County Conservation District announce the start of restoration work at the Little River Salt Marsh. The goal of the project is to restore tidal flow to degraded portions of the salt marsh by excavating 2,000 feet of tidal channel.

The work builds on a project completed nine years ago, when two undersized culverts were replaced under Route 1A. The new culverts restored tidal flow to many areas of the marsh, but the western section continues to suffer from poor drainage and low tidal connectivity.

The standing water that remains trapped is a mosquito breeding haven, causing concern among local landowners and town officials. Project work will help alleviate this problem by making habitat for fish, such as mummichogs and sticklebacks, which feast on mosquito larvae.

“Past salt marsh restoration projects in New Hampshire have shown that if you build it, they will come,” said Coastal Program Restoration Coordinator Kevin Lucey, referring to the estuarine fish that prey upon mosquitoes. “This project aims to lessen mosquito problems in certain areas of the marsh by enhancing existing or creating new tidal creeks,” he said.

“The great thing about this project is that it not only will help control pests that directly affect humans, but it will also build on previous efforts to control common reed, an invasive plant in the marsh,” said Rockingham County Conservation District Ecologist and District Manager Lenny Lord. “The increased tidal influx will promote the establishment of cord grass and salt marsh hay, two keystone species of the tidal marsh, while helping to suppress the common reed, leading to increased species diversity and ecological integrity of the system,” he said.

Total project cost is $80,193, including designs, permitting, and implementation. Additional partners are the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and the town of North Hampton.

The Little River Salt Marsh lies between Little Boar’s Head in North Hampton and a rocky headland just south of North Shore Road in Hampton.

For more information about this project, please contact Kevin Lucey, Restoration Coordinator for the NH Coastal Program at DES at (603) 559-0026.

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