Goosefare Brook is located in the City of Saco and the Town of Old Orchard Beach, flowing into Saco Bay between two of Maine’s most popular beaches, the Rachel Carson Wildlife Preserve and Ferry Beach State Park and Ecology School. The Rachel Carson NWP has recognized the value of Goosefare Brook and its downstream estuary by acquiring approximately 500 acres in the Goosefare Brook area to protect migratory bird habitat and coastal wetlands, and the City of Saco has permanently protected additional habitat areas including The Heath and the Saco Tannery Pits.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has assessed Goosefare Brook as not meeting water quality standards for metals and aquatic life use. In addition, bacteria-related water quality concerns are monitored very closely as this area is one of the most visited recreational areas, and thus a key economic driver, in southern Maine.
FBE collaborated with the City of Saco, the York County Soil and Water Conservation District (YCSWCD), and the Maine DEP to write a Watershed-Based Management Plan for the Goosefare Brook watershed, finalized in 2016. This exciting collaboration and restoration effort works to protect one of the most popular coastal locations in the State of Maine.
FBE was contracted by the Town of Moultonborough, NH, and the Lake Winnipesaukee Association (LWA) to create a Watershed Restoration Plan for the Moultonborough Bay Inlet watershed. This watershed covers 50 square miles of area in the Towns of Moultonborough and Sandwich, NH. The inlet is part of the northern headwaters of Lake Winnipesaukee and is threatened by excess total phosphorus, low dissolved oxygen, and potentially elevated chlorophyll-a, likely a result of excess phosphorus-laden sediment entering the inlet from watershed runoff. Phosphorus, in excess, fuels the growth of algae that suffocates fish species. In 2015, FBE conducted a watershed survey to identify phosphorous sources such as erosion sites, slumping culverts and road shoulders, lack of buffer zones, and large areas of impervious cover. Also in 2015, FBE, along with local volunteers, conducted a shoreline survey to identify sites with direct erosion to the inlet. FBE assisted the Advisory Committee with setting a water quality goal for the inlet and prioritizing sites for targeted retrofits that reduce erosion. FBE will work with the Town of Moultonborough and LWA to finalize the plan and implement these restoration recommendations.
Bounded by the Sandwich Range to the northwest and Ossipee Mountains to the south, the Ossipee watershed is a subwatershed of the Saco River Basin and covers about 379 square miles across fourteen towns in eastern New Hampshire. The Ossipee watershed contains New Hampshire’s largest and deepest stratified-drift aquifer, which serves as the region’s primary source of drinking water. The watershed also contains 82 lakes and ponds that cover 14.7 square miles, including Ossipee Lake, the seventh largest lake in New Hampshire. Ossipee Lake is connected to five other major waterbodies in the watershed (Broad Bay, Leavitt Bay, Berry Bay, Danforth Ponds, and Huckins Pond), all of which are fed by fourteen major tributaries. FBE is working with the Green Mountain Conservation Group (GMCG) to develop watershed management plans for the Danforth Ponds and Lower Bays of Ossipee Lake (Phase I), as well as the Lovell River and the direct shoreline of Ossipee Lake (Phase II). The plans will provide GMCG with the tools needed to maintain the integrity of Ossipee Lake for future generations.
The Pleasant Lake watershed drains approximately 3.6 square miles of forested, low-density residential land in the towns of Deerfield and Northwood of south-central New Hampshire. Pleasant Lake is listed as impaired for aquatic life use for insufficient levels of dissolved oxygen. Unlike many other New Hampshire lakes, the very low median total phosphorus concentration in the epilimnion (and relatively low internal loading) does not explain the extent and duration of low dissolved oxygen observed in Pleasant Lake. The low-oxygen impairment may be the result of high sediment oxygen demand from large amounts of organic matter in the lake bottom. This organic matter could be natural or from legacy human activities in the watershed (e.g., logging, land clearing, farming, etc.). Regardless of possible legacy effects, new sources of pollution, especially phosphorus, will increase as development or other human activities in the watershed increase unless measures are taken to mitigate this pollution. As such, phosphorus remains in focus as a water quality goal, along with more frequent dissolved oxygen monitoring to establish a baseline of change to aid future water quality goals. As part of the plan, FBE completed a thorough water quality analysis, watershed survey, shoreline survey, ordinance review, land use model, and build-out analysis to assist the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission and Pleasant Lake Preservation Association with setting appropriate water quality goals for Pleasant Lake. Photo Credit: Tom Brennan.
FB Environmental Associates worked with the Lake Wentworth Foundation and Town of Wolfeboro, NH, to develop a watershed-based plan. The project required working collaboratively with a steering committee, volunteers, and town staff to analyze water quality data, guide the water quality goal setting process, assess and prioritize current pollution sources in the watershed, evaluate existing and proposed town ordinances, estimate the extent of future development in the watershed and its effects on water quality, organize and facilitate community meetings, and develop a watershed management plan.
FBE analyzed 29 years of water quality data to assess trends and to determine if state standards for high-quality waters were being met. These results, combined with a watershed specific land-use model, assisted with the establishment of long-term water quality goals and helped prioritize sub-watersheds with high phosphorus loading. The project identified more than 100 current sources of pollution throughout the watershed via a door-to-door septic and stormwater survey. FBE worked with the Steering Committee to develop a pollution prioritization matrix. Future pollution sources were addressed through a review of the current and proposed land use ordinances. A build-out analysis estimated the potential extent of development in the watershed based on existing zoning, and the effects that this development will have on lake water quality. This information will help guide decisions affecting future development in the watershed.
The project provided the Town of Wolfeboro with engineering designs and cost estimates for addressing high priority pollutant sites identified in the watershed survey, a long-term monitoring program to track whether the water quality goals are being achieved, and the development of a watershed management plan that will enable the town to apply for grants to improve the water quality of Lake Wentworth and Crescent Lake in future phases of the watershed planning process.
FB Environmental worked with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Services (RIDEM) and EPA Region 1 to develop the first Watershed-Based Plans (WBPs) for two of Rhode Island’s 24 Watershed Planning Areas (WPAs). As these WPAs extend beyond state borders into Massachusetts, FBE worked directly with the local communities in both states throughout the development process, including community meetings and workshops in both states. The resulting plans are truly watershed-based, spanning state and municipal boundaries, and reflecting input from the stakeholders they are intended to serve.
To develop these plans, FBE identified priorities through a series of stakeholder meetings; analyzed and summarized existing water quality data; developed a series of watershed-specific maps; and reviewed Stormwater Management Program Plans for MS4 communities, individual and general permit holders, wastewater facilities, onsite wastewater management plans, existing TMDLs, local ordinances, and all other relevant information that could be discovered. Through extensive research and interviews, FBE developed a strong and effective collaborative relationship with municipal personnel. The final documents included a set of specific implementation strategies for non-point source pollution prevention efforts throughout the two WPAs.
FB Environmental was hired by the US EPA to conduct a statewide TMDL analysis for bacteria-impaired waters in Vermont. The TMDL document establishes the allowable bacterial loadings, provides documentation of impairment, and outlines the reductions needed to meet water quality standards for 22 bacteria-impaired waters across the state. The report also provides information to help communities, watershed groups, and other stakeholders to implement the TMDL using a phased, community-based approach.
As a component of this project, FBE completed detailed waterbody-specific summaries for each of the impaired waters. The summaries include a description of the watershed and any potential or known bacteria sources, maps, and recent bacteria data for each waterbody. Additionally, watershed reconnaissance field surveys were conducted for three bacteria-impaired waterbodies: the West River, the Huntington River, and the Ompompanooosuc River. These more detailed summaries demonstrate an initial step in the process of identifying and prioritizing sites for bacteria mitigation as part of an overall watershed restoration process.
In coordination with VTDEC and EPA staff, FB Environmental conducted three regional stakeholder meetings to provide public education on bacteria impairments and sources, and to solicit local feedback on the TMDL, ensuring the direct stakeholder participation in the plan development.
FBE performed a build-out analysis for the entire town of Freedom, NH and for the portion of the town of Ossipee within the Danforth Pond and Lower Bays subwatershed of the greater Ossipee Lake watershed. Analyses were carried out using CommunityViz, and extension for GIS software. To determine where development may occur in the town, FBE gathered information about environmental restrictions (soils, steep slopes, wetlands), zoning restrictions (shoreland zoning, street ROWs and building setbacks), and practical design considerations (lot layout inefficiencies). The results showed what land is available for development, how much development could potentially occur, and at what densities. The analyses also estimated increases in phosphorus loading to Ossipee Lake as a result of the projected development.