Dear Interested Party,
The cities of Dover, Portsmouth and Rochester, and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) are seeking public comment on a peer review of the 2009 document entitled, "Numeric Nutrient Criteria for Great Bay Estuary."

The Great Bay Estuary is a complex embayment and New Hampshire's largest estuarine system. The estuary is fed by the tidal waters of the Piscataqua River that forms the boundary between Maine and New Hampshire. The Great Bay watershed is 1,023 square miles in area with seven rivers that drain the water from 42 New Hampshire and 10 Maine communities into the Estuary.

In June 2009, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services ("DES"), which is responsible for setting water quality standards, produced a document entitled "Numeric Nutrient Criteria for Great Bay Estuary." This document, referred to as the "2009 Criteria", interprets the nitrogen water quality criteria for the Estuary as the annual median total nitrogen ("TN") concentration less than or equal to 0.30 mg/L, a ninetieth percentile chlorophyll 'a' level of 10 ug/l, and the water clarity criteria as the annual median light attenuation coefficient as less than or equal to 0.5-0.75 m -1 (depending on eelgrass depth).

In April of 2013, the Cities and DES reached an agreement to conduct a peer review of the 2009 Criteria. The Cities and DES will engage a panel of experts with a diversity of expertise to perform this work. A set of charge questions has been developed for the reviewers. The charge questions can be found by clicking here. The final report from the panel is expected by the end of January 2014.

The Cities and DES now seek public input to assist the reviewers in responding to the charge questions. This peer review will be aided by local knowledge and data related to the role of nitrogen in estuarine processes in the Great Bay Estuary. Relevant comments will be forwarded to the peer reviewers (though they are not obligated to respond specifically to those comments).

All public comments must be in writing and received by 5 PM November 25. Submit comments to the peer review clerk:
Sally Brabble
c/o Sheehen, Phinney, Bass and Green
1000 Elm Street
17th Floor
Manchester, NH 03101
or email sbrabble@sheehan.com

Any questions about the peer review or this request for public comments may be directed to Ms. Brabble 603-668-0300 who will forward them to the appropriate party for response.

The reviewers have been provided with the documents and resources identified on the attached list. To facilitate public comment, those documents and resources in chronological order are individually accessible below:

 

NO.

TITLE

AUTHOR

DATE

1

2004 Lamprey River Dissolved Oxygen Study

Pennock, Jonathan, Dr.

March 31, 2005

2

Survey of Dissolved Oxygen in the Lamprey and Squamscott Rivers

Jones, Stephen, Dr.

July 27, 2005

3

Impacts of Wastewater Treatment Facilities on Receiving Water Quality

Jones, Steve

April 2007

4

Subtidal Eelgrass Declines in the Great Bay Estuary, New Hampshire and Maine, USA, Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation

Beem, Nora T. and Short, Frederick T.

2008

5

Incidence and Timing of Low Dissolved Oxygen Events in the Squamscott River:  2005-07

Jones, Steve

July 2008

6

Methodology and Assessment Results related to Eelgrass and Nitrogen in the Great Bay Estuary for Compliance with Water Quality Standards for the New Hampshire 2008 Section 303(d) List

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

August 11, 2008

7

Using Moored Arrays and Hyperspectral Aerial Imagery to Develop Nutrient Criteria for New Hampshire's Estuaries, New Hampshire Estuaries Project

Morrison, J. Ru, Gregory, Thomas K., Pe'eri, Shachak, McDowell, William Trowbridge, Philip

September 30, 2008

8

Numeric Nutrient Criteria for the Great Bay Estuary, NHDES

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

June 2009

9

Letter to Burack, Thomas, Commissioner, NHDES, Spalding, Curt, Regional Administrator, US EPA re:  Nutrient Criteria:  Request for Rulemaking and Open Peer Review Process for NHDES Approach to Developing Nutrient Water Quality Standards for the Great Bay Estuary,

Kinder, E. Tupper

April 9, 2010

10

Science Advisory Board (SAB) Review of Empirical Approaches for Nutrient Criteria Derivation

United States Environmental Protection Agency

April 27, 2010

11

Letter to Burack, Thomas, Commissioner, NHDES re: Nutrient Criteria:  Request for Rulemaking and Open Peer Review Process for NHDES Approach to Developing Nutrient Water Quality Standards for the Great Bay Estuary

Kinder, E. Tupper

May 12, 2010

12

Technical Memorandum re: Review of Proposed Numeric Nutrient Criteria for Great Bay Estuary, HydroQual

Gallagher, Thomas W.,

June 14, 2010

13

Evaluation of Proposed Numeric Nutrient Water Quality Criteria for the Great Bay Estuary

Hall, John C., Gallagher, Thomas

June 30, 2010

14

Using Stressor-response Relationships to Derive Numeric Nutrient Criteria

United States Environmental Protection Agency

November 2010

15

Letter to Peter Rice, City of Portsmouth re:  Nutrient Criteria

Harry Stewart, Director, NH DES

March 10, 2011

16

Great Bay Municipal Coalition Nitrogen Meeting Minutes

September 26, 2011

17

Climate Change in the Piscataqua Great Bay Region:  Past, Present & Future

UNH

December 2011

18

Technical Memorandum re: Estimation of Din Loads to the Great Bay Estuary System, HydroQual

Gallagher, Thomas W., Mancilla, Cristhian

January 16, 2012

19

Technical Memorandum re: Squamscott River August-September 2011 Field Studies

Gallagher, Thomas W., Mancilla, Cristhian

March 20, 2012

20

New Hampshire's 303(b)/303(d) List, Technical Document, Assessments of Aquatic Life Use Support in the Great Bay Estuary for Chlorophyll-a, Dissolved Oxygen, Water Clarity, Eelgrass Habitat, and Nitrogen

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

April 20, 2012

21A-F

A - Letter to Mayors of Rochester, Dover and Portsmouth re: Request for Meeting to Discuss New Information Regarding Nutrient Effects on the Great Bay Estuary and Independent Peer Review
[attachments – B - 10/04/2012 letter from Mayor of Portsmouth to Thomas Burack; C - 10/03/2012 letter from Mayor of Rochester to Thomas Burack; D - 08/10/2012 letter from Mayor of Portsmouth to Thomas Burack; E - 07/20/2012 letter from Mayor of Rochester to Thomas Burack; F - 07/20/2012 letter from Mayor of Dover to Thomas Burack]

Thomas S. Burack, NHDES

October 19, 2012

22

State of our Estuaries

Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership (PREP)

2013

23

Letter from Mayors of Dover, Portsmouth and Rochester to Pennock, Jonathan, Ph.D., Langan, Richard, Ph.D., Jones, Stephen H., Ph.D. re: Request for Input on Results of Prior Research Conducted to Evaluate Nutrient Impacts on Great Bay Estuary

Spear, Eric, Trefethen, Dean, Jean, T. J.,

January 1, 2013

24

Letter from UNH to Spear, Eric, Trefethen, Dean, Jean, T. J. re: Request for Input on Results of Prior Research Conducted to Evaluate Nutrient Impacts on Great Bay Estuary

Langan, Richard, Ph.D., Jones, Stephen H., Dr.

February 19, 2013

25

Declaration of Steven C. Chapra, Ph.D., F.ASCE – Assessment of Whether the Department of Environmental Service's Approach to Nutrient Criteria Derivation for the Great Bay Estuary Used Reliable, Scientifically Defensible Methods to Derive Nutrient Criteria, Environmental Appeals Board, US EPA

Chapra, Steven C., Ph.D., F.ASCE

February 27, 2013

26

Peer Review Agreement

April 29, 2013

27A

2012 Section 305(b) and 303(d) Consolidated Assessment and Listing Methodology
B – Response to Public Comment on the Draft 2012 Consolidated Assessment and Listing Methodology (4/20/12)

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

July 2013

27B

Response to Public Comment on the Draft 2012 Consolidated Assessment and Listing Methodology (4/20/12)

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

July 2013

28A

Final 2012 Section 303d Surface Water Quality List Introduction (7/19/13)

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

July 19, 2013

28B

2012 List of Threatened or Impaired Waters that Require a TMDL (7/19/13)

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

July 19, 2013

28C

Impairments Removed from the 303d List of Threatened or Impaired Waters (7/30/13)

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

July 19, 2013

28D

Map of 2012 Final 303d List of Impaired Waters Requiring a TMDL (7/19/13)

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

July 19, 2013

28E

Response to Public Comment and Summary of Substantive Differences Between the Draft and Final 2012 Section 303d Surface Water Quality Report (7/19/13)

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

July 19, 2013

28F

Substantive Differences Between the Draft and Final 2012 Section 303d List of Threatened or Impaired Waters (7/19/13)

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

July 19, 2013

29

40 CFR 130 – Water Quality Planning and Management

 

30

Env-Wq 1700 – New Hampshire Surface Water Quality Regulations

 

 

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