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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

fluvial erosion

In the public imagination, the enduring "Granite Hills" of New Hampshire are commonly associated with an image of perpetual rock-hard stability and resistance to change. However, like every other place on this planet, dynamic natural forces are always at work to shape the landscape around us. Mostly they act so imperceptibly as to go unnoticed from year to year or even over an entire lifetime. None will ever come close to rivaling the extreme changes that occurred as the last continental glacier advanced and retreated more that ten thousand years ago. Yet, from time to time, we are reminded that geologic hazards do exist in New Hampshire and that society is best served by avoiding vulnerable areas if possible and planning an effective response to any natural disaster before it occurs.

While geologic hazards encompasses a multitude of natural phenomena, including landslides and earthquakes, flood inundation and river erosion constitute New Hampshire's #1 natural hazard risks. Given that New Hampshire has begun to experience significant flood events almost every year, the program is primarily focused on inundation and erosion hazards. Program staff within the New Hampshire Geological Survey (NHGS) provide technical expertise and outreach to help communities better prepare for and respond to the resulting flood impacts. NHGS conducts pre- and post-flood site assessments to analyze potential risks to life, property and infrastructure associated with future floods and erosion events. The program also administers the New Hampshire interagency flood management team, a partnership of state and federal agencies that works collaboratively to address flood risk issues using a comprehensive approach to hazard mitigation before, during and after flood events. This team works to bring resources and technological expertise together to assist communities with practical approaches to managing flood impacts. Flood hazards program staff also coordinate the collection, management, distribution and interpretation of river geomorphology data in the state, in partnership with units within NHDES, multiple state agencies, regional planning commissions and local communities.

NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

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