Integrated watershed planning across jurisdictional boundaries
Abstract:We will present the foundation for an Coastal Watershed Integrated Plan for three communities in southern New Hampshire. Small communities are often challenged by complex regulatory requirements and limited resources, but are wary of perceived risks in engaging in collaborative projects with other communities. Potential concerns include loss of control, lack of resources to engage in collaboration, technical complexity, and unclear benefits. This project explores a multi-town subwatershed application of integrated planning across jurisdictional boundaries that addresses some of today’s highest priority water quality issues: wastewater treatment plant upgrades for nutrient removal; green infrastructure stormwater management for developing and re-developing areas; and regional monitoring of ecosystem indicators in support of adaptive management to achieve nutrient reduction and other water quality goals in local and downstream waters. The project outcome is a collaboratively-developed inter-municipal integrated plan, and a monitoring framework to support cross jurisdictional planning and assess attainment of water quality management goals.
This research project has several primary components: 1) assessment of initial conditions, including both the pollutant load inputs and the political, economic and regulatory status within each community, 2) a pollutant load model for point and non-point sources, 3) multi-criteria evaluation of load reduction alternatives 4) a watershed management plan optimized for each community, and for Subwatersheds combining multiple communities. The final plan will quantify the financial and other benefits/drawbacks to each community for both inter municipal and individual pollution control approaches. We will discuss both the technical and collaborative aspects of the work, with lessons learned regarding science to action, incorporation of social, economic and water quality assessment parameters, and stakeholder/researcher interaction.