About Buffer Options for the Bay
Purpose: Support decisions involving buffers
Buffer Options for the Bay (BOB) is an informational resource intended to support policy and land use decisions in New Hampshire’s Great Bay region that involve buffers, defined for this project as the naturally vegetated stretches of land directly upslope of a water resource, such as a lake, stream, river, pond, estuary, or wetland. (See Buffer Basics.)
BOB was created through a collaboration of public, academic, and nonprofit organizations dedicated to leveraging the capacity of buffers to protect water quality, guard against storm surge and sea level rise, and sustain fish and wildlife in New Hampshire’s Great Bay region.
BOB can be used to inform a range of activities including land acquisition, management, and protection; restoration; community engagement and decision maker training; and policy making. While BOB will be of interest to many stakeholders, its primary purposes are to support technical assistance providers and educators who work with communities and landowners on buffers and to inform regulatory changes that integrate state and local perspectives.
Approach: Collect & integrate the best available information
BOB is the result of integrated policy assessment that engaged organizations representing a range of perspectives and professional expertise related to buffers in New Hampshire. (For more on integrated assessments, visit the NERRS Science Collaborative at the University of Michigan). This approach was selected to address a pervasive need for trusted, relevant information at every scale of buffer management—from decisions made by property owners at the water’s edge to those of state agencies and communities that set policy for what is permissible on that land.
Underpinning such decisions are tradeoffs that impact the economic vitality, environmental health, and community well being. To help decision makers navigate these tradeoffs and understand their options for action, the BOB team:
- Aggregated existing data
- Explored barriers and opportunities related to buffer science and management
- Delineated regulatory and non-regulatory options for buffer management
- Assessed ecosystem functions, services, and benefits arising from buffer protection
- Quantified potential willingness to pay for management options based on water quality benefits
- Assessed values, knowledge, and assumptions related to buffers at the community level
BOB was informed by an advisory committee of scientists, policy makers, municipal representatives, and outreach professionals who broadened the project team’s pool of knowledge and expertise, helped overcome bias, provided periodic input on progress, and helped ensure the utility of final products. The team also also conducted an external technical review on all project work plans and reports.
Results: Literature reviews, economic & policy analyses, maps, & more
Reports & Summaries
BOB generated a series of technical reports and summaries, each of which provides an in depth view of a different aspect of land use decisions involving buffers, these reports served as the foundation for this website. Explore and download these on the Reports Page.
The BOB team created a series of maps that used existing GIS data to support future management and science related to buffers. These maps identify areas where buffer protection/restoration or changes in policy would make the biggest impact on services including water quality, wildlife habitat, and storm surge protection. They are organized by community on the Maps Page.
To capture key gaps in existing knowledge and potential actions to address them, the BOB team created an evolving action plan that is supporting ongoing collaborations around the watershed. For more information, visit the Action Plan Page.
Team: Dozens of N.H. organizations & communities
BOB engaged scientists, practioners, and program managers from a range of organizations in the state and the region.
|Name||First name||Organization||Job title|
|Ballestero||Tom||University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center||Technical Team|
|Couture||Steve||N.H. Department of Environmental Services||End User Representative|
|Miller||Steve||Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve||Engagement Team (lead)/End User|
|Barley-Greenfield||Simone||N.H. Department of Environmental Services||Policy Analysis|
|Flanagan||Shea||The Nature Conservancy||Technical Team|
|Johnston||Robert||Clark University||Technical Team|
|Stevens||Rachel||Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve||Technical Team|
|Steckler||Pete||The Nature Conservancy||Technical Team|
|Stacey||Paul||Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve||Technical Team|
|Holt-Shannon||Michele||University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center||Engagement Team|
|Tilton||MaryAnn||N.H. Department of Environmental Services||End User Representative|
|Graichen||Lisa||University of New Hampshire Sea Grant||Engagement Team/Project Management and Communications support|
|Matso||Kalle||Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership||Engagement Team (tech review)|
|Houle||Jamie||University of New Hampshire||Technical Team|
|Leonard||Dolores||Roca Communications||Project Management and Communications Lead|
|Bauer||Dana||N.H. Department of Environmental Services||Technical Team|
|Patrick||David||The Nature Conservancy||Technical Team (lead)/End User|
|Riley||Cory||Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve||Project Lead/End User|
New Hampshire Audubon
New Hampshire Sea Grant/UNH Cooperative Extension
New Hampshire Rivers Council/naturesource communications
Southeast Watershed Alliance
Rockingham County Conservation District
Rockingham Regional Planning Commission
Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests
Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire
Strafford Regional Planning Commission
Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership
Town of Exeter, N.H.
Town of Hampton, N.H.
United States Army Corps of Engineers
University of New Hampshire
Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve
Technical Review Panel
|Name||First name||Organization||Job title|
|Bird||Steve||City of Dover, NH |
|Ferdana||Zach||The Nature Conservancy||Lead Coastal Resilience Manager|
|Kline||Mike||Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, Rivers Program||Program Manager|
|Mineau||Madeleine||City of Nashua, NH||Waterways Manager|
|Paterson||Robert W.||Industrial Economics, Inc.||Principal|
|Wainger||Lisa||University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science||Research Professor|
|Wilson||Fiona||University of New Hampshire||Associate Professor of Social Innovation, Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainability|
Thanks so very much to the talented photographers who shared their work for use across this website: Emily Lord, Steve Miller, Don Kierstead, Karen Dudley & New Hampshire NRCS.
Funder: We are grateful to our sponsor!
BOB was sponsored by the National Estuarine Research Reserve System Science Collaborative, which supports collaborative research that addresses coastal management problems important to reserves and their communities. The Science Collaborative is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and managed by the University of Michigan Water Center.