Town Achievements: Kittery’s Spruce Creek Watershed-Based Management Plan and Watershed Improvement Project

Photo of the mid-estuary data sonde location in Spruce Creek - Photo from FB Environmental

Photo of the mid-estuary data sonde location in Spruce Creek – Photo from FB Environmental

FB Environmental Associates has been assisting the Town of Kittery, the Spruce Creek Association, and their partners for the last seven years to assess and restore this important, beautiful and impaired estuarine waterbody.  Spruce Creek is impaired for non-point source pollution (septic systems, fecal coliform and runoff).

Using the Maine Department of Environmental Protection 319 grants since 2008 the effort has attained a total of $225,300 in grant funds; Total Match of $322,118; more than 4,700 volunteer hours have been given to the program. As well as, employed a very strong and effective outreach program. They’ve hosted 11 septic and residential socials, instituted a rain barrel program with 100 recipients receiving barrels. They’ve developed the Save Kittery Waters website and enacted a citizen pledge program. They have also done more than 26 public presentations or demonstrations all around town.

SCA

The ongoing project relies heavily on monitoring data and as PREP knows, that is entirely vital to understanding if management actions are working. Monitoring pollutants and remediating pollution sources is essential to making Spruce Creek a place for all to enjoy.  Estuaries like Spruce Creek are dynamic and constantly changing both naturally and as a result of land use and monitoring helps us to understand those changes in the system, address pollution and to better ensure public safety, economic well-being, and environmental health.

This map shows E.coli counts at sampling sites with DNA analysis identifying potential sources and 3 primary hot spots identified. March 2016.

This map shows E.coli counts at sampling sites with DNA analysis identifying potential sources and 3 primary hot spots identified. March 2016.

The communities around our estuaries face a great deal of pressure, decisions and dwindling funds so when a community invests in cleaner, healthier waters like Kittery has it is to be commended and celebrated.

Spruce Creek at sunset in early December

Spruce Creek at sunset in early December

PREP is part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program, a joint program between local, state and federal agencies established under the Clean Water Act with the goal of protecting and enhancing nationally significant estuarine resources. PREP is supported in part by an EPA matching grant and is housed within the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering at the University of New Hampshire.

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