The quality of water Police review beach laws Seal of approval for N.H. fish Pulpit Rock Tower up in air Lifeguard supervisor hired Favorite fin whale leads pack north again

Staff of Rye Reflections

No creaks over creek

Refurbished Seavey Creek Bridge opened in time for the Memorial Day weekend. Now eight feet wider with allowance for a bicycle shoulder, the bridge on Route 1A at the north end of Odiorne State Park also has a five-foot wide walkway with 42-inch high rail (top photo). Piles are in concrete casements (photo below). Structure should be free of major repairs for another 50 years, according to the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (Judy Palm photo)

Water quality can go down drain

As homeowners come into the season when their water bills will double and even triple, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) is doubling and tripling its efforts to raise awareness about drinking water issues. The main concern: High use of water can affect water quality.

Sarah Pillsbury, administrator of DES's Drinking Water and Groundwater Bureau, attributes the strain on water systems in New Hampshire to "the pattern of development". "The trend has been toward larger homes, larger lots, larger lawns and in-ground sprinkler systems," said Pillsbury.

The public seems aware of the impact of development on water resources, ranking it as the No. 1 concern in a series of statewide meetings held by DES. "It has come up again and again--when we consulted the experts, when we surveyed legislators and local officials and we've opened up the floor for discussion at public meetings," Pillsbury said.

One suggestion offered to homeowners by Derek Bennett, the DES water conservation coordinator, is attention to the selection of "turf grasses and landscape plantings that don't require lots of water." He also says, "It's important to have enough topsoil to support your lawn without frequent rain or watering."

Meanwhile, the DES is warning that 20 percent of private wells may have unsafe levels of arsenic and even more may have higher levels of radon. Proper testing and treatment should take place every few years, according to DES, which estimates that 36 to 40 percent of New Hampshire residents rely on private wells. Full details are available in Chapter Eight of the recently-released New Hampshire Water Resources Primer.

Rye re-visited

In its early days Rye was known as much for its farming as its fishing. Perhaps that explains the excitement building over the opening of the Rye Farmers Market on Wednesday, June 24. And the market will continue through the summer every Wednesday from 2 to 5:30 p.m. until October.

The location is right downtown well, we don't really have a downtown. But it's in the center of town in the Town parking lot between Town Hall and the Rye Congregational Church at the corner of Central and Washington Roads.

Area-grown vegetables? Yes. Fruit. Yes. And more. According to the Farmers Market Committee, it'll include "one-stop shopping of local fare from vendors which include Applecrest Farms (vegetables and fruits), Silvery Moon Cheese, Seaport Fish, Rye Harbor Lobster, White Heron Tea (teas and prepared foods), Joy Lane Farm (goat cheese and goat milk soap), Skip's Cider Donuts, Sea View Farm (bison and chicken), Yellow House Farm (chicken, duck, guinea fowl) as well as many Rye growers who are forming co-ops to sell vegetables, herbs, eggs and baked goods."

Other vendors are expected to be signed up.

How to avoid tickets

The Rye Police Department is trying to be pro-active regarding beach ordinances, reminding residents and visitors that:
Fines range from $50 to $100.

Much more beach information regarding other regulations, parking, surfing and safety issues are available in the Beach Information Section of the Rye Police website.

Also, for regularly update beach advisories regarding beach water quality, the NH DES has an advisory website.


Have I got a deal for you

One thing is certain about the Pulpit Rock Tower: The New Hampshire Fish & Game Department would like to unload it: "We're happy to give it up," Glenn Normandeau, the Fish & Game executive director, told Rye Selectmen at a May 18 meeting.

Less certain is whether costs and complications make it desirable for the Town of Rye to take over.

And less certain still is whether a neighborhood non-profit, the Friends of Pulpit Rock, would meet rigid criteria set by the General Services Administration (GSA) for control of federal government property (the eight-story tower was built by the US Navy in 1943 and has been in Fish & Game hands since 1974, used for coastal surveillance).

Patty Weathersby of the Friends made a strong statement in favor of the Town taking over the tower, then responded strongly when Selectman Craig Musselman questioned why the Verizon plan to use the Tower for a cellphone antenna site was not a "win-win-win" situation.

"I have serious concerns about the health of my children," Weathersby retorted. "I will fight it tooth and nail."

Steve Tobin of the Friends also opposed the cell plan, pointing out that a building would be needed outside the Tower to house the generator.

The Selectmen again ended discussion saying they would consult with Town Counsel, but Selectman Joe Mills sent Fish & Game and the Friends away smiling when he stated: "If it (the takeover of the tower by the town) were on the ballot," Mills said, "I think the people of Rye would accept it."

Meanwhile, Fish & Game revealed that what was thought to be hazardous material (mostly bird and animal droppings) piled up inside the tower turned out to be suitable for removal to a landfill after testing by Analytics Environmental Laboratories of Portsmouth, according to Betsey McNaughten of Fish & Game. The results were based on a Toxicity Character Leaching procedure, she said, enabling a cleanup by Enpro Services, Inc. And wire mesh was put over the windows to keep the birds out. Stay tuned.


The dye is cast

Volunteers helped federal and state officials monitor dye entering ocean adjacent to North Hampton State Beach. Meanwhile, a fox (below) took in proceedings while partaking of breakfast alongside Little River. (Judy Palm photos)

No, it was not red tide. That was a red dye injected into the water at the conduit connecting Little River with the ocean that you may have seen if you were driving near the fish houses between Little Boar's Head and North Hampton State Beach on May 19.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state Department of Environmental Services (DES) officials said the dye helps detect bacteria or other pollutants that make their way through the marsh and into the Little River. Testing works best at low tide.

Ironically, a marsh restoration project about six years ago increased the amount of pollution flowing from inland into the sea. A culvert was built under Route 1A to help reduce persistent flooding.


Rye Reflections began publishing four years ago this month. We are an all-volunteer citizens' monthly. We like to think we have given our readers a better sense of the people, the issues and the flavor of the Seacoast through words and photographs. We have only one complaint: Despite having about 20 regulars who participate in this publication, we would like more citizen involvement. It's not a requirement that our weekly meetings (Thursday, 1 p.m.) be attended in the Community Room at the Rye Public Library, but all are welcome. They are productive and enjoyable sessions. We also are open to submissions of articles, photographs and artwork either sent by clicking on Feedback on the Front Page, or by contacting one of those listed in our Who We Are section. Finally, there is the Letters section, where we are open to comment on any subject.

And so we pause briefly to note our Fourth Anniversary and we move on. The July issue beckons. Thank you. The Staff of Rye Reflections

Quick index to back issues of Rye Crisp

June, 2009