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Conservation Law Foundation GREAT BAY CURRENTS eNewsletter - News and Updates from Your Great Bay-Piscataqua WATERKEEPER
  reetings, and welcome to the seventh edition of Great Bay Currents, a bi-monthly e-newsletter of the Great Bay-Piscataqua Waterkeeper. Every other month, I'll provide updates on critical issues facing the Great Bay estuary, and the work we and others are doing to protect it. In a segment titled “The Faces of Great Bay,” I'll also feature our partners – people working to protect Great Bay and our coastal waters, and what motivates them.

In this edition, you will read about a critical vote in Newmarket to complete a major upgrade of the town's sewage treatment plant and how habitat changes are impacting rainbow smelt. You will also learn how one golf course in the watershed is minimizing its impact on the local environment, serving as a model to others on how to be a good steward for the health of our waters. Finally, you'll get to know Bill Stewart – businessman, chairman of the New Castle Conservation Committee and local advocate for protecting our marine resources.

Photo of Peter WellenbergerPeter Wellenberger
  As CLF's Great Bay-Piscataqua Waterkeeper, I'm working hard to ensure the health of our Great Bay estuary – now, and for future generations. It's a major undertaking, and one I can't achieve alone. I hope you'll support my efforts, and help protect Great Bay, the Piscataqua River, and all the waters comprising this wonderful estuary, by clicking here.  

  Help us build a stronger voice for the estuary. Encourage your friends to stay informed by forwarding them this message or sending them this link to sign up for Great Bay Currents.  

  Peter Wellenberger

To learn more about our work, or to report water pollution problems you've observed in the Great Bay estuary, please contact me.

Conservation Law Foundation
P.O. Box 277
Durham, NH 03824
(603) 225-3060

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  Come Join Me on the Water!

Join me for a late afternoon kayak tour of Portsmouth's Back Channel and Sagamore Creek. Sponsored by Portsmouth Kayak Adventures, participants will experience the intricate waterways that make up this part of the Great Bay estuary.

Portsmouth Kayak will provide boats and all required equipment, including life jackets. Prior kayaking experience is not required. You'll also learn about the issues facing the Great Bay estuary, what CLF is doing to protect water quality, and how you can help. There is no cost and space is limited; reservations required. For more information contact:

For a complete calendar of events, visit the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership's newsletter, Downstream – May 2013.


Get your copy of the newly released Great Bay-Piscataqua Waterkeeper Fact Sheet. Give one to your friends and neighbors and help support a thriving Great Bay estuary.

  Newmarket Votes to Clean Up the Estuary

Earlier this year, residents of Newmarket, New Hampshire went to the polls and supported a measure that will help to reduce nitrogen pollution in the Great Bay estuary. More than 80 percent of voters approved a warrant article to complete a major upgrade of the town's sewage treatment plant. The margin of approval sent a message that was heard throughout the estuary. You can read about Newmarket's decision to support clean water here. The town expects the new plant to be fully functional by 2018.

The Decline of Rainbow Smelt

Fish ImgAs with many other fish species that once thrived in the Great Bay estuary, rainbow smelt populations have been decreasing for far too long. Their decline is another disturbing sign that the health of the Great Bay estuary is in jeopardy. You can read here about this popular recreational fish and what is being done to save them here.

Golfing Green in the Seacoast

Fish ImgThere are six golf courses in the Winnicut River watershed. Now one of them has been certified by International Audubon as a “green” golf course. Since its inception in the early 1960s, the Hampton-Sagamore Golf Club has been perfecting a maintenance program that minimizes the use of chemically-based fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. You can read here about the Club's commitment to protecting the environment and serving as a model for others to follow.

Faces of Great Bay

Peter Whelan and a young angler after catching a striper in Little Harbor, New Castle, NHBill Stewart – Businessman and Conservation Leader

Bill Stewart of New Castle is quickly becoming one of the Great Bay estuary's most important advocates. Having grown up on the Farmington River in Connecticut, he understands the importance of clean water and the need to protect our rivers and estuaries.

As a management consultant, Bill works with private entities to implement new and bold strategies across organizations. He believes these same skills and talents will be necessary to protect our environment as conservation efforts become more complex and as demands on natural resources continue to grow. According to Bill, “It's easy to take the natural world for granted and assume it will be there; ever resilient, able to respond to any challenge. A perfect example is the Great Bay estuary. It looks incredibly pristine and beautiful. It's hard to imagine it is at risk. Unfortunately, it's the view we can't see that is most telling; the pressure the resource is under from increased siltation and pollution.”

As Chairman of the New Castle Conservation Commission, Bill has worked on a number of initiatives where leadership, collaboration and consensus were critical to achieving the outcomes. He notes, “Recently, I oversaw the restoration of a salt marsh. Although the project was small in scope, its benefits are far reaching. The marsh gives people a focal point for understanding how conservation directly affects their lives and why it is important. It is also a place for the local school to conduct guided science and environmental field work.”

Other projects he is spearheading include developing a comprehensive conservation plan for Lavanger Creek, New Castle's largest contiguous wetland. This project ties in with his goal to prepare a high value resource plan for the entire island, including threats to resources and how they can best be protected. A key part of implementing the plan will be to align the town's ordinances with best management practices and sustainable solutions.

Bill is also cognizant of the need to educate the general public about the importance of the estuary. To help local residents become better stewards, Bill has convinced the town to adopt the Lawns-to-Lobsters program from Maine. You can read more about the program here.

Bill explains, “My role in business and in leading local environmental projects has always involved bringing people and process together to achieve the best sustainable solutions possible.” You can read more about Bill's work with the New Castle Conservation Commission here. Bill is also a Conservation Law Foundation member and generous donor. Great Bay is extremely fortunate to have such a strong advocate in its corner.

Upcoming Events

June 8 – Market Square Day, Portsmouth

Market Square Day is the traditional kick-off to the summer season featuring a 10 K road race, live music, lots of food and other fun activities. This year, CLF will have its own booth featuring the Great Bay-Piscataqua Waterkeeper program and New England Ocean Odyssey: A Journey Beneath New England's Waves. Please stop by and sign up for our free raffle!

June 12 – Contemporary Coastal Issues Sunset Sail

Come sail with me on the Piscataqua Gundalow to learn about emerging issues and solutions in the Great Bay estuary. The sail will depart from Prescott Park in Portsmouth at 6 PM and return to the dock at 8:00. A great way to kick-off summer! You can reserve your tickets here.

June 25 – Northeast Regional Ocean Planning Public Meeting

We want to hear from you! Please share your thoughts on regional ocean planning in New England and the draft goals developed by the Northeast Regional Planning Body. The group is working to implement the President's National Ocean Policy and advance regional ocean planning over the next few years. The meeting will be held in Portsmouth, 4:00 to 7:00 pm. For more information, contact Dory Dinoto at

CLF protects New England's environment for the benefit of all people. We use the law, science, and the market to create solutions that preserve our natural resources, build healthy communities, and sustain a vibrant economy.

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