Do you live on the Winnicut River, or one of its brooks or streams? Would you like to learn how to have a "better backyard," or be a steward for wildlife? Do you enjoy birding, kayaking, or trail walking? Have you got Invasive Plant Problems? Would you like to learn more about the Winnicut River and its wildlife diversity, from its treefrogs and trout lilies, to its black bears and white cedars? If you can answer 'yes' to any of the above, we need YOU. The WRWC is working hard to develop a Better Backyard campaign which promises to be a rewarding program for land/homeowners interested in protecting the integrity of the Winnicut River, its streams and brooks, and ultimately Great Bay, and the wildlife that lives and breeds here. E-mail us today to learn more at

Friday, July 29, 2011

VRAP Sampling - July 28, 2011

With a new set of sites to sample (for a total of nine to date), volunteers set out early Thursday morning to conduct water quality testing on the Winnicut River and one of its tributaries.  All general parameters were tested, as were nutrients and bacteria.  It was a beautiful, clear day in the 70's, and we saw a Great Blue Heron at our first stop on the Packer Brook, pickerel frogs and an unidentified species of fish (~3-4" long) at our third stop (a quiet, scenic wet meadow/marsh area), and native Joe Pye Weed and Cardinal Flower at our last stop (among other flora).  Great rewards!

All photos by NHDES Habitat Restoration Coordinator Kevin Lucey (missing from photos), who volunteered his time for sampling assistance.  Also missing from photos, hydrologist and WRWC volunteer Danna Truslow.

Volunteer Nate Hazen (Greenland) performs an initial conductivity meter check at the first stop of the morning -- 03-PBG, Packer Brook in Greenland (refer to Sampling Locations map in right-hand column of this blog).

View of our second stop, this time on the Winnicut itself, just upstream from the former dam in Greenland (02-WNC on the Sampling Locations map). 

At the third site, also on the main stem of the Winnicut in Greenland (05-WNC), NHDES Coastal Program intern Andy Gould reviews sampling protocols while volunteer Jean Vincent (North Hampton) works with volunteer Nate Hazen and the WRWC's project director, Jean Eno (far right).

We're not always busy sampling...sometimes we take breaks for clay treatment on our feet.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dick Pinney's Got the Trout Blues

IN a recent article, contributor Dick Pinney, a self proclaimed long-time angler, writes about the book 'Fishing Winnipesaukee' by Hal Lyons.  "A poignant book," writes Pinney, it reminded him of "fishing friends of long ago."  In Pinney's piece, he mentions an old favorite fishing spot right here on the Winnicut.  You can read the article here.

In another interesting article on blue fish, he provides a humorous and culinary take on fishing for blues right here in Great Bay.  It's a good, quick read!

For more info on fishing for blues (provided by NH Fish and Game), click on the picture.

Friday, July 22, 2011

VRAP Sampling - July 20, 2011

Ten newly trained citizen scientist volunteers began collecting water samples and testing for potential problems in the Winnicut River and some of its tributaries early Wednesday morning, starting with an area in North Hampton where the Winnicut River primarily begins (near the former town dump on South '21-WNC' on the 'Sampling Stations' map at end of this post).

Using special meters to gauge the level of the river's health, volunteers tested for conditions such as turbidity, pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen and specific conductance--all of which are described in the article "...Water Quality Parameters..." under the heading 'Pages' in the right-hand column.  At several sites bacteria (E. coli) and nutrient samples (nitrogen, phosphorus, chlorides) were also collected, which were delivered to a state laboratory for analysis immediately following the morning's end.  All results will be made available as soon as the sampling season is complete, some time in late October.

The WRWC will conduct this sampling regime next spring and summer as well, thereby increasing the amount of relevant information available to local, state and federal governments for making smarter land-use decisions and planning better protection of our river and streams.  In turn, these steps can improve community vitality (not to mention improve wildlife habitat!).

These volunteers are making a difference!  Left to right: Nate Hazen (Greenland), Kathy Grant (No. Hampton), Lisa Tutinas (No. Hampton), Brenda Tharp (No. Hampton) and Wendy Crowley (No. Hampton) begin reviewing sampling protocols at the day's first sampling site.

We welcome youths!  Junior High School student Petras Tutinas (No. Hampton) "grabs" the first sample of the day at a culvert crossing just west of North Hampton's former town dump.  Volunteer Danna Truslow (Rye), a surface water and groundwater hydrologist by trade, looks on.

Attention to detail is a must!  Nate, Brenda and Petras conduct a pH measurement at the first sampling site, while WRWC Project Director Jean Eno follows up on meter protocols.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Reading: 'Four Fish' by Paul Greenberg

An excerpt from the book (pp 187-188):

“We must…rebuild the bottom of the food chain we have already lost by restoring the habitats where forage fish are born and reared.  Estuaries and river systems are vital zones of food production and not simply “natural” spaces.  Nearly every wild fish highlighted [in the book Four Fish]—striped bass, European sea bass, cod, Alaska Pollock, Atlantic and Pacific salmon, bluefin tuna—depends upon a supply of forage fish whose life cycles are in turn dependent upon rivers and estuaries.  Herring, menhaden, smelt—all these small fish are the silver coin, the coin of the marine realm, and their hatching and rearing often occur in direct association with access to rivers that enter the sea.  Restoring these areas increases the food supply for the fish we eat most.  Deny the restoration and…abundance will inevitably be limited by a low ceiling of limited food.”

Paul Greenberg, Author of Four Fish, 2010, The Penguin Press

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Winnicut Coalition and Portsmouth Open Market

The gundalow sailing on the  bay, as most people have seen her.
Click here to read an interesting NHPR article on the new Gundalow being built in Portsmouth, NH, for the Gundalow Company.  What a thrill it will be to sail the waters of the Piscataqua region when it is finished!

The Gundalow Company is also part of another great project this summer in the form of a series of Open Markets every Sunday at Strawbery Banke (pix of previous market days can be seen under the 'Blog' link found under the 'Home' drop-down).  The Gundalow Co. is featuring and celebrating a local river group working to protect rivers and streams in and around, and including, Great Bay.  The Winnicut Coalition is one of these such groups and will be on hand August 7th to answer questions about Winnicut River-related issues and events, pass out dog waste baggies and bones (part of the NH Coastal Program's 'Scoop-the-Poop' campaign), and share lots of other conservation info.  Come on into Portsmouth and enjoy a great afternoon of fun and shopping (market runs from 10am to 4pm), and learn about the maritime history of 'Puddle Dock' and 'Strawbery Banke'!