The project addresses water resource management
priorities identified in several watershed resident surveys as well as
action plans prepared by a number of groups including the Town of
To protect and effectively manage water
resources in the
S Better understand the watershed we live in;
S Identify and evaluate new or recurring sources of pollution;
S Encourage discussions in our communities about water resources; and
S Provide an objective and credible scientific basis for local, state and federal planning and law enforcement decisions.
Data Quality & Uses
We are an active participant in the state’s Volunteer River Assessment Program (VRAP), which requires adherence to strict quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) measures. In 2006, over 425 samples/measurements were collected by our volunteers – of which 100% met state and federal QA/QC standards. Technical assistance is donated to our project by VRAP staff and others as needed. For more information about the VRAP program, visit their web site at: http://www.des.state.nh.us/wmb/vrap.
The data produced by our team have practical value for a wide variety of users. State officials use our data to assess the condition of local surface waters every two years, and identify “impaired” areas requiring further study and/or restoration. This has been particularly important in evaluating the impacts of the enormous flood that devastated the lower watershed in October 2005. Local planning and conservation officials benefit from our data by better understanding the sources of water quality problems, and by having a baseline of information from which future impacts of growth can be assessed. The water quality summary for 2005 and the water quality summary for 2006 indicate the significance of the data.
With our database in hand, we have also been able to participate in a wide variety of public outreach functions including:
S Water quality information source and referral service for local residents, recreational visitors, waterfront land owners, etc.;
S Technical assistance and presentations for local boards and schools;
S Watershed information presentations at local fairs/events, the Cold River Duck Race, the state watershed conference, etc.;
S Assessments of project progress for inclusion with annual town reports; and
S Preparation of annual water quality summaries for the general public.
Sampling Schedule: Our sampling schedule has evolved over time and is updated each year to reflect current data needs as well as available human and financial resources.
Early in the project, we sampled every month (rain, snow or shine!) for a more limited set of parameters and at fewer sites, using equipment borrowed from the state. Based on the knowledge gained from those early efforts, we decided to purchase our own equipment to allow for increased numbers of test parameters and sampling sites. In 2005-06, we opted to restrict the sampling mostly to the summer months while adding several more sites and parameters. At the same time, we streamlined our field protocols to best fit the technical recommendations of the state’s Consolidated Assessment Listing Methodology (CALM). You can learn more about CALM at: http://www.des.state.nh.us/WMB/swqa.
Looking ahead, we intend to continue to sample each year on a monthly basis in July, August and September. Non-routine samples will continue to be collected at any time of the year as needed. Volunteers of all ages and skill levels are welcomed and encouraged to attend. Each routine sampling event usually takes an entire day, but volunteers can arrange to participate or watch for portions of those days as well. All of the necessary training and equipment is provided. To reduce equipment maintenance needs and encourage participation, most sampling events are scheduled for sunny summer days.
The sampling events are great fun, offering you a
chance to explore the streams and ponds of the
Sampling Results: Each year, VRAP scientists compile and analyze our data and publish the results in a comprehensive monitoring report. The reports and a list of our sampling sites may be downloaded from the Department of Environmental Services (DES) web site at: http://www.des.state.nh.us/wmb/vrap/Cold.html.
As resources allow, the LAC summarizes those reports in simple two-page fact sheets for general distribution. The 2005 and 2006 fact sheets may be downloaded here. The sheets also provide relevant flow and/or wildlife habitat data collected by the LAC, DES, NH Fish & Game Department and others.
Funding & Donations: Our project is largely self-funded and heavily dependent on donations. Laboratory fees and equipment maintenance costs run from hundreds to thousands of dollars every year. Please consider making a donation towards the sampling project today! Contact information is provided under “About the LAC.”
Acknowledgements: The LAC is very grateful for the financial and technical support we have received on this project in the past from groups such as:
S Acworth Conservation Commission
S Alstead Conservation Commission
S Alstead Supplemental Environmental Project
S Americorps Program
S Cheshire County Conservation District
S CT River Joint Commissions
S CT River Watershed Council
S Lempster Conservation Commission
S NH Department of Environmental Services
S NH Fish & Game Department
S NH Rivers Council
S Southwest Regional Planning Commission
S Unity Conservation Commission
These groups and many others including anonymous
private donors and all of our local volunteers deserve a big “thanks!” for
their valuable efforts to protect and understand the resources of the
The lake sampling data nicely complement the stream and pond information collected by the LAC, resulting in a more complete picture of the health of our watershed. In addition, waterfront landowners and town officials benefit directly from knowing how current land and lake use practices impact water quality. To learn more about the lake sampling programs or download their comprehensive annual water quality reports, visit the VLAP web site at http://www.des.state.nh.us/WMB/vlap.
To participate in the lake sampling programs or
learn more about the health of the lakes, contact the associations at