December 5


NH Seacoast Science CafeThe Health of Great Bay: Great Big Challenges and Great Big Opportunities

Presented by: Rachel Rouillard and Cory Riley

Great Bay, the state’s largest estuary, is a tidally dominated system encompassing an area of approximately 10,900 acres, or 17 square miles. Two-thirds of the estuary’s 930 square mile watershed is located within New Hampshire. Eleven New Hampshire communities border Great Bay, which has a 144-mile shoreline made up of steep wooded banks with rock outcroppings, cobble and shale beaches, and fringing saltmarsh. The phase of the tide lags significantly as you move from the ocean up into the estuary, with slack tides as much as 2.5 hours later in the Squamscott River than at the mouth of Portsmouth Harbor. It can take up to 36 tidal cycles, or 18 days, to flush water through the estuary during periods of high river flows.

Rouillard  is the director of the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership (PREP), a collaborative program at UNH that monitors, protects, and restores the environmental health of the Great Bay and Hampton-Seabrook estuaries.

Riley is the manager of the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR). The Great Bay NERR is a local protected area established to support long term research, public and school education and outreach, and informed natural resource management practices.

About The Science Café

The Science Café format brings the discourse out of the university and into the larger community. Dr. Cameron Wake, UNH research associate professor of Earth Sciences and the Director of Carbon Solutions New England, initiated the partnership with Portsmouth Brewery to sponsor the series. “Organizing the Seacoast Science Café is important because it provides a new opportunity for researchers to engage in dialogue with seacoast residents about the science that directly impacts all of our lives,” said Wake. “We hope café goers will take away not just information, but also an understanding of just how important these issues are.”  Join us this fall in a series of four conversations on the interconnections and changes to our climate, our ecosystems, our land use, and our society. The conversations are held on the following Wednesday evenings beginning at 6 p.m. at the Portsmouth Brewery, Jimmy LaPanza lounge.