River Local Advisory Committee (PRLAC)
The Pemigewasset River was included in the Rivers Management & Protection Program (RMPP) under RSA 483 in 1991. Subsequently, the Pemigewawsset River Local Advisory Committee (PRLAC) was created as part of RMPP as a state chartered advisory committee responsible for developing a Management Plan for the entire river corridor. The Plan was completed in 2001 and many of its recommendations have now been implemented, including annual water quality monitoring in the river.
Representatives of PRLAC perform bi-weekly water quality tests from April to October at six sites on the Pemigewasset and two key tributaries (Smith and Mad Rivers) in towns from Bristol to Thornton (more information about water monitoring). The monitoring is comprehensive and provides key indicators for assessing the overall health of the river and its associated habitat. The tests range from Dissolved Oxygen, which is critical to a healthy fish population, to E. coli, which determines whether the river is safe for human recreation activity. Water is also tested for pH and nutrient levels, both of which can contribute to weed/algae problems.
The results are submitted to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NH DES) where they are incorporated into the state’s report to the Environmental Protection Agency on compliance with the Clean Water Act. New Hampshire is one of only a handful of states that utilize water quality data collected by volunteers as primary data, not simply as a guide for state staff to then conduct their own monitoring. Ensuring high quality, repeatable results requires annual training of volunteers, regular calibration of monitoring equipment, and active support by NH DES staff.
This is the seventh consecutive season of monitoring by this trained group of volunteers. Local concern and action have helped keep the Pemigewasset River one of New Hampshire’s great recreational resources.
On April 25, representatives from the NH DES and several of the state’s fourteen Local Advisory Committees were honored at Faneuil Hall in Boston by EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson with a Presidential Volunteer Service Award, recognizing the many hours of service that these individuals have contributed to their communities in their efforts to protect and monitor the quality of New Hampshire’s riverine environment.
The committee is always looking for creative ways to communicate these issues to corridor communities, and encourages community participation in all these important endeavors. PRLAC meets on the last Tuesday of each month, often hosting guest speakers on watershed issues. The public is encouraged to attend these meetings and take an active role in maintaining this important community resource. PRLAC is currently seeking additional volunteers as representatives and water quality monitors. Contact LRPC at 279-8171 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
PRLAC activity is currently supported by the Lakes Region Planning Commission with funding provided in part by the NH Department of Environmental Services through December 2008.
Visit the Pemigewasset Watershed Resource Co-occurrence Mapping and Analysis page.
Visit the water monitoring program webpage.
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