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Nashua;43.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/novc.png;2014-10-31 02:51:37
Saturday, June 7, 2014

Good results in Souhegan, Merrimack rivers as summer testing starts

Local rivers seem in good health, judging from results from the first volunteer water-sampling session of the summer.

About 30 volunteers gathered water in the Souhegan and Merrimack rivers on Tuesday to begin the 18th season of collection by the Souhegan Watershed Association. ...

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Local rivers seem in good health, judging from results from the first volunteer water-sampling session of the summer.

About 30 volunteers gathered water in the Souhegan and Merrimack rivers on Tuesday to begin the 18th season of collection by the Souhegan Watershed Association.

The samples showed excellent dissolved oxygen levels in both rivers. This is the best indicator of the overall health of the river, fish and habitat.

E. coli levels also showed generally good results.

The Merrimack River between Manchester and Tyngsborough, Mass., had very good numbers. The program uses a count of less than 88 to indicate perfect conditions, and the highest
number was 62 at the Thorntons Ferry access. The lowest was 5 at Arms Park in Manchester.

The major news for the Merrimack River was how low the level was.

“This is the lowest I’ve ever seen it,” wrote one of the long-term monitors in the Tyngsborough area.

What was reported was the lowering of the pond that’s caused by the removing of the boards on the Pawtucket Dam in Lowell, Mass.

This raising and lowering of the river has been a source of concern by river groups in the Nashua area, who have called for the dam to be improved along the lines of the newly improved Jackson Falls Dam behind the Nashua Public Library. The change is being blocked by the National Park Service, which objects on the grounds of historical appearance.

The Souhegan River is monitored over its entire length from Ashburnham, Mass., to its mouth in Merrimack. The Souhegan is a small river and meanders slowly in its lower stretches from Milford to Merrimack. E. coli counts vary generally from very good in the upper river, which moves fairly quickly, and get more stressed in the lower river.

A high reading of 236 was noted in the river behind Lorden Plaza in Milford, the only spot of any concern on either river. Watson Park in Merrimack was a healthy 46. All of the results can be found at nashuatelegraph.com/specialreportsriver
testresults
.

The next test will be done on June 17. There are still sites in Milford and Wilton that could use a volunteer. Tests take about a half-hour and are conducted every other Tuesday morning through September.

Anyone interested can email Karen Mattor at swawatertesting@gmail.com for more information.

Also, anyone interested in doing macroinvertebrate sampling can contact the association for information. The lab tests are done by certified personnel at the wastewater treatment plants in Milford, Nashua, Merrimack and Manchester. The program is coordinated by the Souhegan Watershed Association.

The Nashua River Watershed Association performs similar services on the Nashua River in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. It gathers samples once a month, which are also reported on The Telegraph map.