Good afternoon everyone,


Here’s the latest and greatest for the Suncook River:


  1. NH Geological Survey issued a memo documenting their work to date (attached)  Please contact Friends of the Suncook River at for a copy..
  2. USACOE responded to the NHDES request for assistance (attached).
  3. The Suncook River avulsion received coverage in the NHDES Environmental News.
  4. NASA obtained satellite imagery of the avulsion.
  5. I paddled the Suncook River from Epsom Valley Campground to just upstream of State Route 28 in Pembroke.  Photos can be downloaded from the NHDES FTP site.  Go to this address using a web browser:   . Please note that some may have to copy and paste this address into a browser for the link to work.


    a) A the login window, click on the box in the lower left hand corner labeled “Login Anonymously”.


    b) The User name will then be automatically filled in with the word “Anonymous”.


    c) Type in your email address in the Email Address block.


    d) Then click on the Log On button


  6.  FEMA has not made a final decision on the USGS proposals as of this time.


That is all for now.  If you need to review what has happened to date, visit the Friends of the Suncook River website at: .




Good morning everyone,


This has been another busy week for Suncook River related activity.  Here’s the latest:


1. Michelle L. Daley, Research Scientist, UNH Water Resources Research Center submitted an Initial Water Quality report for sampling conducted on June 1 and June 2 (attached).

2. NHDES requested assistance from the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) via their Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Program (letter attached).  Details on the program can be found at:

3.  NHDES received the aerial photographs taken with assistance from the USACOE on 6-6-06.  The photos are available for download on the NHDES ftp site.  Simply follow these directions:

a. Go to this address:

b. At the login screen, enter the following (using the appropriate case):

                     User Name:       wsmbftp

                     Password:         estuary3

c. The Watershed Management Bureau’s directory will appear.  The photos are located in the “Suncook River USACOE Aerial Photos 6-6-06” folder.

4. US Geological Survey (USGS) developed floodplain mapping and sediment transport concept proposals at the request of NHDES (attached).

5. NHDES presented the Suncook River avulsion and need for technical/financial assistance at NH Bureau of Emergency Management’s Interagency meeting on 6-21-06.   The USGS floodplain mapping and sediment transport concept proposals were submitted to FEMA at the meeting.  FEMA indicated they would make a decision within 1-2 weeks on the USGS proposals.  Personnel from Senator Gregg’s and Sununu’s office were also given copies of the NHDES request to the USACOE.

6. Barry Wicklow, Professor of Biology, at St. Anselm College, submitted Brook Floater information outlined in the NH Fish and Game Wildlife Action Plan (attached).


That is all for this week.  If you need to review what has happened to date, visit the Friends of the Suncook River website at:


Good morning everyone,


Here’s the latest and greatest for the Suncook River:


1. The Feasibility Study proposed to FEMA by NHDES was denied.  However, FEMA and/or other agencies may be willing to fund certain aspects of the study.  While this multiple funding source/project approach will likely take more time, we are still pushing forward to get the information and analyses needed to make an informed decision.

2. Last week, at the request of NHDES, US Army Corps of Engineers and NHDES personnel took aerial photos of the avulsion site.  The aerial photos should be delivered to NHDES early next week.

3. NH Bureau of Emergency Management will likely be calling an interagency meeting next week to facilitate NH wide post-flood coordination.  I will notify all parties of this meeting once it is called.


That is all for this week.  If you need to review what has happened to date, visit the Friends of the Suncook River website at:


Enjoy the sunny weekend!


June 9, 2006 


Good morning everyone,


I just wanted to provide a quick update and make reinforce a recommendation made by John Magee (see email text below).  First the update:


1. NHF&G, led by John Magee and Eric Orff, conducted a fish survey yesterday.  The email text below describes summarizes their field observations.

2. Yesterday, with the assistance of Dick Verville, Planning Officer for Emergency Management, DES presented a technical assistance proposal to FEMA.  FEMA will be discussing the proposal internally over the next couple of days (proposal attached).

3. On 6/5  NHDES retrieved two data loggers and compiled water quality data collected over a three day period (memo attached).

4. On 6/7, NHDES, conducted an assessment of the downstream well.  A course of action has been determined, with the intent of providing temporary impacts to stabilize the breached berm and have the well usable within a 45 days, if not sooner.


In John Magee’s email update below, he requests a single clearing house for information.  I volunteer this email list to serve as that clearing house, and as we attempt to secure funding to study the avulsion and its impacts, having any and all information available regarding everyone’s efforts is critical.  However,  if people feel their information can wait for a weekly distribution, please send me any information you may have relevant to your efforts on the Suncook River and I will distribute it to this group every Friday.


Finally, if there are other’s you feel should be included on this list or if you want to be removed, please let me know.  Also, feel free to distribute as you feel appropriate.




June 8, 2006


All: I walked along the Suncook River with Eric Orff yesterday.  We walked various areas but, in general, we observed most of the new channel and about 1/2 - 3/4 mile of the River upstream of the breach. 


Overall, my sense is that there are likely to be very large impacts to the habitat, stability, and hydrology of the Suncook River from the breach and downstream for many miles.  The ecological integrity of the River has been drastically reduced.  However, I feel that if the River is (or soon becomes) stable from a geomorphic perspective, the much of the ecological integrity will quickly recover (on the order of several years).  There will be some long-term impacts that may be noticeable (e.g., trees that will die because of large deposits of material at their base).  My concern, and my suspicion, is that the geomorphic stability of the River will take a very long time due to the extremely erodable material in the channel and along the banks, both in the newly formed reach and upstream and downstream of it.  We observed many areas of several banks falling into the River literally in front of our eyes.  We also observed very fast changes in water levels in one area that I suspect were due to rapid changes in sediment transport as opposed to a simple increase in flow.  In one area, I estimate that the water elevation increased a few inches in only one minute.  Upstream of the breach, it appears there may be two hydrologic controls that will preclude the amount of headcutting that will occur.  One of those is a series of rapids about 1,000 feet upstream of the bridge.  The other is at the Route 4 bridge.  The banks upstream of the first hydrologic control appear much more stable than downstream of this area.  The banks near Route 4 appear rather stable.


Relative to human issues, the massive amount of sediment appears to have been (as in currently being) deposited for several miles downstream, and this may cause dramatic changes in the elevation of the water surface.  If this is occurring or occurs in the near future, that may exacerbate flooding near the River.  Essentially, it is possible that flooding of the floodplain may become more frequent and occur at lower flows than before.  That could directly affect infrastructure and people's homes.


Regarding getting the River back into the original channel, I suspect that will cost millions of dollars at a minimum, but I suppose it is possible given enough money.  One would likely have to design, permit, and construct a berm perhaps 1,000 feet along and probably fairly high (and deep) at the breach site. 


This site appears, overall, more unstable that what I saw in Warren Brook and the Cold River.


Please forward this email to anyone you feel appropriate.  Also, so many things are occurring so quickly and are being done by so many agencies, I feel it is important that there is a single avenue to efficiently distribute information relative to this issue.  I have learned about much of what folks are doing or planning to do from NPR.


John Magee

Fish Habitat Biologist

New Hampshire Fish and Game Department

11 Hazen Drive

Concord, NH 03301

p (603) 271-2744

f  (603) 271-1438


"I like dogs.  You always know what a dog is thinking.  It has four moods.  Happy, sad, cross and concentrating.  Also, dogs are faithful and they do not tell lies because they cannot talk."  - from "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" by Mark Haddon.