Blog : New Coalition Aims to Expedite Clean Up of Great Bay Estuary

By Tricia | Jul 3, 2012 | in

A coalition of non-profit organizations, local business and a Seacoast municipality seeking immediate action to control pollution threatening the Great Bay estuary has formed under the name Rescue Great Bay. The new coalition will work together to advance and foster public support for meaningful and immediate regulatory actions and sound management of the Great Bay estuary, according to its mission statement.

Rescue Great Bay’s founding members are the New Hampshire Coastal Protection Partnership, EcoMovement, Winnicut River Watershed Coalition, Trout Unlimited-Great Bay Chapter, the Town of Newington, NH, the Coastal Conservation Association-NH Chapter, the New Hampshire Rivers Council, and the Conservation Law Foundation’s (CLF) Great Bay-Piscataqua Waterkeeper. Together, Rescue Great Bay represents members and residents from the Seacoast and beyond who are concerned about the future of Great Bay and oppose current efforts to delay meaningful actions to restore the estuary to health. 

Peter Wellenberger, CLF’s Great Bay-Piscataqua Waterkeeper stated, “The Great Bay estuary needs a voice for action. Despite the science that identifies the problem, laws that clearly regulate it and available technology to solve it, Great Bay is continuing to be degraded by unchecked nitrogen pollution. It is deeply concerning that the Municipal Coalition, which is pursuing a carefully-orchestrated and well-funded campaign to delay the necessary steps to clean up Great Bay, purports to speak for the tens of thousands of Seacoast residents and others who want this unique natural resource to be protected now. Rescue Great Bay is looking forward to amplifying the voices of action, the voices of progress, and the voices of support for this irreplaceable treasure.”At the recent Market Square Day event in Portsmouth, Wellenberger and other CLF staff spoke with hundreds of people who voiced their support of an expedited solution to clean up Great Bay. Rescue Great Bay plans to attend future events throughout the summer soliciting support for its efforts.


Newington's Town Planner, Tom Morgan, noted that the town's fifteen miles of estuarine shoreline have long been integral to the region's environment and its economy. “We owe it to future generations to leave the bay in a condition that is at least as good as that which we inherited,” said Morgan.

Rick Stern, a Newington town selectman, added, “I have lived and boated on Little Bay for almost 25 years and have noticed the change. I always had eelgrass and horseshoe crabs; both do not exist in Tricky's Cove in Little Bay any longer.” Others who have fished in Great Bay for many years have noted that striped bass are harder to find in the upper part of the estuary due to changes in the habitat.

Rescue Great Bay’s objectives include raising public awareness of water quality issues facing the estuary and needed solutions, and promoting regional cooperation to improve policies and decisions affecting the Great Bay estuary.

Rescue Great Bay is actively seeking new members to grow its constituency. For information about joining Rescue Great Bay, contact Peter Wellenberger at Conservation Law Foundation (