First Season on the Water with the Great Bay–Piscataqua Waterkeeper

Jeff Barnum

With the comfortable boating season at an end, the Great Bay–Piscataqua Waterkeeper vessel was removed from the water at the end of the October. It was a good couple of months on Great Bay and the Piscataqua River, with the vessel providing an excellent platform to introduce municipal and state officials, funders, and the press to Great Bay in a way that simply writing about the issues cannot.

With our new Waterkeeper vessel, we're able to give people an up close look at the Great Bay estuary's beauty and challenges.

With our new Waterkeeper vessel, we’re able to give people an up close look at the Great Bay estuary’s beauty and challenges.

Given Great Bay’s location, few folks ever see the whole estuary. A fine article with video and numerous pictures of the estuary appeared in the Portsmouth Herald and is well worth a read. Understanding the geography is but one facet. Understanding the beauty and complexity of the estuary is something else altogether. The health of the estuary’s many components are intricately related – the eelgrass is affected by nutrients, which affects distribution, which affects sedimentation, which affects oysters, which affects water quality, which affects photosynthesis, which affects eelgrass growth. You get the idea.

Since acquiring our vessel, I have been able to explore the tidal portions of most of the many rivers that flow into the estuary. This has given me the opportunity to observe and report potential violations of laws intended to protect our water quality, and to share with others the amazing value of the estuary and what we need to do to protect it.

Though the Waterkeeper vessel will be stored for winter, it will be back in the water come spring. There is a waiting list of folks who want to get out on the water – please let me know if you would like to be included on that list.

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