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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

New Hampshire's Environmental Dashboard

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Trends in New Hampshire's Environment
What do the data tell us?

DES is often asked: "What's the state of New Hampshire's environment? Is it good? Is it bad? Getting better or worse?" As with many things, there are no simple answers.

However, as a way to answer these questions, the following table provides a snapshot of trends for some key environmental issues important to the quality of life in New Hampshire. The "indicators" chosen have specific scientific data tracked over a period of time, which helps to show a trend in that topic area.

Click on an indicator, current condition or trend button to learn why it's important to New Hampshire's environment. The green circle indicates a positive condition or trend, the yellow triangle a cautionary condition or trend, and the red square a negative condition or trend.

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Updated: November 5, 2014

Topic Indicator Current Condition Trend
Air Pollution Ozone Currently, 100% of the state is meeting the 2008 ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard. positive condition or trend
Particulates Currently, 100% of the state is meeting the 2006 fine particle National Ambient Air Quality Standard. positive condition or trend
Coastal Waters Shellfish Harvesting In 2013, the percentages of acre-days available for harvesting shellfish in the following areas were: Little Harbor, 25%; Great Bay, 77%; Hampton/Seabrook Harbor, 58%; and Bellamy River, 18%. cautionary condition or trend
Eelgrass Data indicate a long-term decline in eelgrass since 1996 that is not related to wasting disease. Due to variability even recent gains of new eelgrass still indicate an overall declining trend. negative condition or trend
Nitrogen Concentration Between 1974 and 2011, data indicate a significant overall increasing trend for dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) at Adams Point, which is of concern. When examining variability at other monitoring stations with shorter periods of data, no consistent patterns can be found. Recent data considered in the context of long-term data show no pattern or trend. negative condition or trend
Contaminated Property Sites Cleaned Up As of 2013, of the 8,232 contaminated properties discovered since the 1980s, 80% have been cleaned up, leaving 1,649 sites, or 20%, still in the process of being cleaned up. positive condition or trend
Groundwater Protection As of 2012, 90 municipalities, or less than 40% of the state’s municipalities, have adopted zoning ordinances to protect groundwater or aquifers from contamination. cautionary condition or trend
Public Water Systems 85% percent of public community water systems currently meet all regulated health-based standards. cautionary condition or trend
Private Wells It is estimated that 20% of private drinking water wells exceed the federal safe level for arsenic; 55% exceed DES’s recommended levels for radon. cautionary condition or trend
Lakes/Ponds & Rivers/Streams Aquatic Life Approximately 73% of rivers present ideal conditions for aquatic life. cautionary condition or trend
Approximately 4% of lakes present ideal conditions for aquatic life. negative condition or trend
Beach Advisories DES issued 68 beach advisories in 2012; fewer advisories than in the three previous summers. On any day at any beach, the chance of an advisory being in effect is never more than 2.3% positive condition or trend
Lake Water Clarity, Algal Growth & Nutrients The clarity of our lake water has significantly deteriorated since 1985, on average by 1% per year. Lake nutrients levels have increased and algal growth has remained relatively unchanged. cautionary condition or trend
Exotic Plant Infestations There are currently 89 known exotic aquatic plant infestations in 69 lakes/ponds and 11 rivers statewide. cautionary condition or trend
Waste Management Generation, Recycling & Disposal Currently, 10% of New Hampshire’s solid waste is exported; 29% is recycled or composted; 27% is incinerated for purposes of energy recovery; and 34% is sent to landfills. cautionary condition or trend
Water Availability Stream Flows During the 12 months of July 2011 to June 2012, stream flow conditions statewide exhibited extreme values, illustrating both the difficulty in forecasting rain events and the necessity of monitoring flows. cautionary condition or trend
Wetlands Wetlands Loss & Mitigation Over the past five years, current wetlands loss has averaged 59 acres per year; however, more than 28,000 acres have been protected through wetland mitigation and conservation since 1997. positive condition or trend

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NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

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