Preserving, maintaining, and restoring the physical, chemical and biological integrity of our nation's waters are goals expressed in the Federal Clean Water Act and shared by DES. The Biomonitoring Program assesses the biological health and integrity of aquatic ecosystems throughout the state. The results of these assessments are used to establish reference locations for "least disturbed" conditions in the state, identifying areas that are biologically impaired, and for prioritizing those areas needing management, restoration, or preservation efforts.
Since its beginnings in 1995, the Biomonitoring Program has continually expanded its assessment capabilities. The primary focus so far has been on wadeable streams, with numerous special projects in other habitats.
Monitoring activities taking place at most sites include:
- Collection and identification of aquatic macroinvertebrates
- Collection and identification of the resident fish community
- Assessment of riparian habitat and land uses
- Physical and chemical measurements for assessing water quality
Routine activities from 1997 to 2001 have resulted in the assessment of a total of 166 stations, with all major river basins having representative stations. Ideally, we will have a biomonitoring station in each watershed. So far, 65 of the 109 watersheds in the state of New Hampshire are included. (Presently, some watersheds have more than one.)
Locations of all NHDES biomonitoring sites from 1997 to 2001, representing a period of "routine, standardized" analysis.