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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

"Green Spaces" BMPs to Protect Water Quality
Clean Water, One Field at a Time

NHDES is partnering with the Seacoast Stormwater Coalition on a project to help reduce pollution caused by fertilizer application on community playing fields and other landscaped areas. Over-fertilizing and fertilizing at the wrong time of year wastes both time and money, and contributes significant levels of pollution to local water bodies. In the Seacoast area, that includes Great Bay and Hampton Seabrook Estuary.

The Seacoast Stormwater Coalition is a group of 15 municipalities subject to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s municipal separate sewer stormwater system permit, who work together to meet the permit’s requirements.

The Seacoast Stormwater Coalition collaborated on an outreach project to meet requirements in the Federal Stormwater Permit Minimum Control Measure #1: Outreach and Education. The coalition brainstormed and researched the most efficient and highest impact outreach effort to lead to behavior changes resulting in water quality improvements. The town of Greenland with assistance from Exeter, Portsmouth and Seabrook, received a NHDES Coastal Program competitive grant to implement the outreach effort.

Pollutant and Source Targeted: With Great Bay recently impaired for nitrogen, the coalition will reduce nitrogen pollution coming from fertilizer.

Audience: The coalition selected municipal field maintenance managers and staff as the primary target audience and added private turf maintenance companies as a secondary audience.

Project Components

1) Training Workshop: “Can You Get Greener? Free Best Management Practices Workshop for Municipal Turf Managers, Turf Care Professionals and Landscapers.” Approximately 50 participants attended the workshop held at the Portsmouth Public Library on September 19, 2011.

2) Operations and Maintenance Manual: A manual to reduce water quality impacts from municipal field maintenance practices will be created.

3) Municipal Pilot Projects: At least four municipalities will participate in pilot projects incorporating field maintenance practices to reduce impacts to water quality outlined in the new operations and maintenance manual. The communities of Greenland, Portsmouth, Rye and Seabrook are piloting the guide and using turf meters to assess some of their fields. Using turf meters is a new technique that helps to avoid over-fertilization by measuring the "greenness" of grass. Any interested community in the Seacoast Stormwater Coalition is welcome to borrow a turf meter to test their community’s turf. Contact Cathy Coletti at or (603) 559-0024.

4) Project Publicity and Outreach: Pilot communities will promote new water quality friendly practices with outreach tools including signs, flyers, press releases and promotional material. Look for signs in the communities of Greenland, Portsmouth, Rye and Seabrook on the fields that are part of the pilot project.

For Homeowners

Homeowners can save money, have a good looking lawn, and keep our water clean through their lawn care practices.

Contact Us

Catherine Coletti, Communications Coordinator
Coastal Program
Pease Field Office
222 International Drive, Suite 175
Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 559-0024
(603) 559-1510 (fax)

Barbara McMillan, Outreach Coordinator
NHDES Watershed Assistance Section
29 Hazen Drive; PO Box 95
Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 559-1517



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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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