Sunday, February 10, 2013

Exeter developing climate change adaptation plan

Aaron Sanborn in By the end of 2014, the town [of Exeter, New Hampshire] is expected to have the most rigorous climate change adaptation plan on the Seacoast. Through a $683,472 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the University of New Hampshire and Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve are working with the town to develop a plan based on Exeter's perspectives using hydraulic and hydrologic modeling and climate change scenarios.

Paul Kirshen, a research professor with UNH's Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space, said Exeter was a good fit for the grant because the grant focuses on the protection of large watersheds and Exeter sits along the Great Bay watershed.

In addition, Exeter is already focusing on some of the areas this study will highlight, such as stormwater runoff, non-point source pollution and flood projections. The study will also look at how climate change may impact the Squamscott River and its ecosystem.

"Exeter is already concerned about many of these issues and climate change will make them worse," Kirshen said. "As part of climate change we're expecting more intense rain storms. Any problem Exeter already has with water is going to be worse with climate change."

Kirshen said there are some models that indicate the area could see a sea-level rise of 1 to 2 feet by 2050, which would put additional stress on the tidal marshes of the Squamscott River. He said it's important for the town to understand what the potential impacts of this might be so it can factor it into its future planning of developments, land use decision-making, drainage networks and future infrastructure needs, such as the new wastewater treatment plant....

The Exeter Town Hall, shot by Beancounter603, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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