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Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve - an official New Hampshire Government website
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Research Programs

Research Programs | Monitoring Programs

The Great Bay NERR coordinates and collaborates on research initiatives related to its four focus themes: (1) water quality, (2) land use change, (3) biological communities, and (4) climate change. Major current projects include:

  • Assessing the risk of 100-year freshwater floods in the Lamprey River watershed of New Hampshire resulting from changes in climate and land use
  • Developing and implementing a conservation program for rainbow smelt
  • Water Integration for Squamscott-Exeter (WISE). This 2013 NERRS Science Collaborative project will develop the foundation for an Exeter-Squamscott Watershed integrated water quality management plan for the communities of Exeter, Stratham, and Newfields, NH (PI: Robert Roseen, Geosyntec and Alison Watts, UNH)
  • Green Infrastructure for Sustainable Coastal Communities (GISCC). This 2012 NERRS Science Collaborative project provides technical resources to build local stakeholder and municipal capacity in coastal watershed communities to implement Green Infrastructure (PI: James Houle, UNH)
  • Climate Adaptation Plan for Exeter (CAPE).This 2012 NERRS Science Collaborative project is developing an integrated climate change adaptation plan for Exeter, NH, which exhibits a range of land uses and management options to mitigate flooding impacts and improve water quality on a major tributary to the Great Bay Estuary (PI: Paul Kirshen, UNH)
  • Nitrogen Sources and Transport Pathways. This 2011 NERRS Science Collaborative Project is using science and management collaboration to identify and reduce nitrogen loads to Great Bay (PI: William McDowell, UNH)
aerial photo of the Adams Point and the Jackson Estuarine Lab
Adams Point and the Jackson Estuarine Lab.
Courtesy of Fred Short

The research program's direction is guided by input from researchers and managers comprising the Great Bay NERR's Research Advisory Board and the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership (PREP – A National Estuary Program) Technical Advisory Committee. We often work with graduate students and scientists from universities and state agencies as we develop projects to advance our research program. If you are interested in working with us or finding out more about our research priorities, please contact the Research Coordinator.

The Research Coordinator also provides information about past and on-going studies in Great Bay. A searchable bibliography containing over 1,000 references of projects conducted in and around Great Bay was designed to help students, research scientists, and coastal decision makers locate scientific information about the estuary. In addition, the Research Coordinator maintains a database of recent and current projects being carried out by local scientists and can help orient new investigators to studies that are already being conducted in the estuary.

Many research projects in Great Bay are supported by funding opportunities that exist within several programs:

NERRS Science Collaborative

The NERRS Science Collaborative supports Reserve-led research projects that bring scientists, intended users of the science, stakeholders, educators, and trainers together to address problems related to coastal pollution and habitat degradation in the context of a changing climate. It also works with outreach specialists, trainers, and communicators to share information about the science that it funds-not only research results, but also methods, collaborative practices, and evaluation tools-with other reserves and the broader coastal management community.

Graduate Research Fellowship Program

Until 2013, the NERRS provided funds and logistical support for Master's and Ph.D. level graduate research occurring within the Great Bay NERR and addressing issues of importance to local managers. The Great Bay NERR typically supported one or two graduate fellows each year. Past GRFs and their research topics can be viewed on this website. Please visit the NERRS Graduate Research Fellowship site for more information on the GRF Program’s status and prospects for future funding.

Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technologies (CICEET)

Since 1997 until its transition to the NERRS Science Collaborative program (above) in 2008, almost 50 of the 200 research studies funded by the Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Environmental Technologies were conducted in Great Bay. Information about these projects, reports, and summaries can be searched through the CICEET Project Explorer interface.

Great Bay Stewards Graduate Research Grants

The Great Bay Stewards, Friends group to the Great Bay NERR, provides regular support for Reserve operations, including Research Activities. The Stewards contribute to a summer Research Internship that provides field experience for students and recent graduates by participating in research and monitoring activities on the Reserve. The 2013 internship focused on saltmarsh vegetation monitoring to assess effects of sea level rise on the health Great Bay’s salt marshes. An announcement for the internship is posted in the spring of each year on the Great Bay NERR website, or you may contact the Research Coordinator to be placed on the e-mail list for the next announcement.

Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
New Hampshire Fish and Game Department