The NH Department of Environmental Service’s (DES) Watershed Assistance Section works with local organizations, other programs within DES, and EPA New England, to improve water quality in New Hampshire at the watershed level. We are working with people in their watersheds to identify water resource goals and to develop and implement watershed management plans.
About the Watershed Assistance Section
In order to protect our state’s water resources we must consider the entire watershed. This means protecting aquifers, wetlands, groundwater, marshes, streams and estuaries, plus forests, fields, and other upland areas, because all parts of the watershed are interconnected as one system.
The watershed approach is a management strategy based on the premise that many water quality and ecosystem problems are best solved at the watershed level rather than at the individual waterbody level. In addition, the watershed approach empowers local communities with greater involvement in decisions that affect their future. By combining forces and resources, community-based watershed groups are overcoming old barriers and realizing new opportunities to protect water resources.
The many activities of the Watershed Assistance Section include:
- providing financial and technical assistance to local watershed management organizations specifically through Section 319 Grants,
- investigating actual and potential nonpoint source water contamination problems and working with the appropriate parties by providing technical and financial assistance for remediation,
- executing contracts with New Hampshire regional planning agencies for state-funded regional environmental planning projects and federally funded water quality planning projects,
- implementing the recommendations of the Council on Resources and Development Sprawl Report,
- writing and distributing Greenworks environmental newspaper columns, to New Hampshire daily and weekly newspapers,
- assisting regulated New Hampshire municipalities with implementing National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Federal Stormwater Regulations (Phase II),
- working with the New Hampshire Natural Resource Outreach Coalition (NROC) to assist New Hampshire communities with dealing with growth, and
- assisting applicants for New Hampshire development permits with attaining water quality standards through the use of low impact development (LID) and best management practices (BMPs).