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Piscataquog Fluvial Erosion Hazard Assessment

June 19, 2013 at 10:38 AM

The Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission (SNHPC) and the New Hampshire Geological Survey, a unit of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES), are pleased to announce the coordination of a fluvial geomorphic assessment of the Piscataquog River.  This project is funded through a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant awarded to the NHDES.

Fluvial erosion is the wearing away of river beds and banks through the continual action of water.  This erosion can cause damage to roads and bridges during storm events, resulting in collapses and wash-outs.  The damage resulting from major flood events cost New Hampshire tax payers over $75 million between 2005 and 2007.  The purpose of this assessment is to evaluate and identify the present condition of the river and streams in the Piscataquog watershed to determine the areas most prone to flood and fluvial erosion-related hazards. 

The Fluvial Erosion Hazard (FEH) assessment will result in geomorphical data and maps identifying hazard areas.  The benefits of this assessment include: the targeting of resources to minimize future flood impacts; enhancing public safety by protecting public and private property, improving infrastructure and minimizing loss of lives; the reduction of economic losses; and aiding municipalities in the development of pre-disaster mitigation plans.

To complete the assessment, it is necessary to collect accurate data on the present physical condition of the river and its major tributaries, including channel dimensions, sediment character, and riverbank vegetation, including channel adjustment processes at work in the watershed that may cause river realignment, and reach sensitivity or the susceptibility of the river channel to erosion.  A private consulting firm, Field Geology Services, has been contracted to conduct the assessment starting in May and continuing through the summer of 2013.  The first public information meeting on the project was held on May 6, 2013 at the Whipple Free Library in New Boston.  SNHPC is assisting NHDES with this study and upon completion will work with the watershed towns to include the study results in the towns’ hazard mitigation plans.

Specific questions about the assessment can be directed to Jack Munn, AICP, Chief Planner, at jmunn@snhpc.org.


Tags: SNHPC Hazard Mitigation Climate Environment Flooding
Category: Southern NH Planning Commission

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