Dover’s Endangered Waters:

Our Water Resources and Implications for Future Generations - A Forum

An Energy and Environment Action Group Project


Dover’s multiple water sources are vulnerable to man-made and environmental stresses. Under the surface of the City lie our aquifers, to the west flows the Bellamy River, and bordering on the east are the Piscataqua and Salmon Falls rivers, with the Cochecho river cutting through the city center, and Great Bay bordering us to south. Our city is prospering and attracting newcomers of all ages. Yet, even well-planned development can lead to unintended consequences. Our prosperity has brought stress along with success. Increased stormwater runoff from added paving, higher wastewater loads, more fertilizer, pesticide, and industrial toxins are flowing into our wetlands, rivers, ponds, and bays. This pollution becomes a challenge to water management and the protection of our water resources for present and future generations.

Dover recently shut down the city’s largest well over contamination concerns. In the Great Bay Estuary, scientists have measured significant and dramatic declines in oysters and eelgrass due mainly to algae blooms in our salt waters. Algae of various types reduce the sunlight necessary to the growth of eelgrass which has many attributes in regard to filtering water, removing nitrogen and carbon dioxide, and supporting fish stocks. Pollution also significantly impacts the oyster fishery. Dirty water negatively affects the recreational use of our bays and estuary. Climate change and rising sea levels compound and complicate the pollution problem. Water quality and water quality sustainability matters, not just for drinking, but for the character of life in Dover and its environs.


Tickets are free, but as space is limited we ask that you RSVP here.


Forum Facts:

  • The program will begin with brief introductory remarks by each panelist. Our moderator, Cory Riley, will then facilitate a conversation with the panel and conclude by inviting the audience to participate.

  • Tuesday, May 23rd from 6:30 to 8:00 PM

  • McConnell Center cafeteria - 61 Locust Street (door numbers to follow)


Our Moderator



Cory Riley:  Corey is the Reserve Manager for the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.  


Ms. Riley recently received the prestigious “Award for Outstanding Contributions” to the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (GBNERR).  Established in 1989, the GBNERR mission is to advance understanding of Great Bay and promote stewardship of this complex ecosystem. It accomplishes this mission through integrated programs of research, education, and stewardship based at the Reserve’s Great Bay Discovery Center.


Prior to joining the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department as manager of GBNERR, Riley worked in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration where she led system-wide strategic planning efforts.  Riley worked in NOAA where she led system-wide strategic planning efforts, evaluated research programs, and served as a federal liaison to New England sites.




Our Panel


Jeff Barnum:  Jeff is the Conservation Law Foundation’s very recently retired Great Bay-Piscataqua Waterkeeper, working to address water quality issues throughout the Great Bay estuary.  Jeff comes to the position with great knowledge of the estuary, having served as president of the Coastal Conservation Association of NH (CCA), where he focused on the health of New Hampshire’s estuarine ecosystems.  As a recreational fisherman who has fished Great Bay and the Piscataqua River, Jeff has witnessed, first-hand, negative changes in the estuary caused by water pollution, such as the loss of eelgrass habitat.


Jeff has an extensive history of civic engagement.  With CCA, he played a leading role in establishing an oyster shell recycling program – collecting oyster shells from area restaurants and the public to establish new oyster beds in Great Bay for their water quality and habitat benefits.  While living in New Vineyard, Maine, Jeff was an accomplished woodsman and chaired the town’s board of selectmen.  He also has engaged in legislative advocacy on forestry practices and transportation issues – advocacy work that was recognized by the Natural Resources Council of Maine – and was an appointee of Governor Angus King to Maine’s Advisory Committee on Radioactive Waste.


Dr. Tom Ballestero: Is a hydrologist and water resources engineer with just over 40 years of experience. Tom is an Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UNH, as well as the Director of the UNH Stormwater Center.  His experience with surface water runoff extends back to 1976 when he co-taught short courses on modeling techniques as well as investigated stream hydraulics and flood hydrology. His current research projects include the Stormwater Center, stream restoration (in close collaboration with the US Fish & Wildlife Service), living shorelines, and bedrock hydrogeology. Dr. Ballestero teaches advanced courses on: stormwater systems, stream restoration, sediment transport, open channel flow, engineering  hydrology, and hydrologic monitoring. Dr. Ballestero is the former Director of the New Hampshire Water Resources Research Center, and is presently a commissioner for the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission. Dr. Ballestero holds professional licensure as a: Professional Engineer, Professional Hydrologist, Professional Geologist, and Groundwater Professional.






Steve Bird:  Steve Bird has worked for the City of Dover as a City Planner for 19 years. During that time he has been involved in many projects including master planning, Cochecho River dredging, waterfront redevelopment, ordinance preparation, climate change planning and conservation land preservation. He provides staff support to the Conservation Commission, Open Lands Committee, Waterfront Committee, and Planning Board. Prior to Dover, Steve worked at the Rockingham Planning Commission for 12 years.

Steve was named the 2014 Professional Planner of the year by the New Hampshire Planners Association.

Assistant City Manager Chris Parker said this about Steve “This is Steve’s community and he plans based upon that intimate knowledge,” Parker said. Bird has lived in Dover for 30 years, and has raised two children in the community. “Steve not only is an employee of the community, but he is an active member of the community. He has coached baseball, volunteered with various civic groups, and has been a great envoy of the City, and planning, to the Community.”




George Maglaras:  George is the Chairman of the Strafford County Commission where he has served for thirty-four years.  He has been politically engaged since high school when he served in the NH House later becoming Dover’s Mayor.


George is a lifelong resident of Dover with an intimate knowledge of, especially, the Cochecho River where he often played as a boy and has owned and operated a marina for many years.  His tours of the Cochecho are famous for their depth of knowledge, historical elaborations, and entertaining anecdotes.








Senator David Watters:  

District 4: Barrington, Dover, Rollinsford, and Somersworth

Current Committees: Education; Transportation; Capital Budget

Years Served in the Senate: 2013-14, 2015-16, 2017-18 (Current)

Years Served in the House: 2009-10, 2011-12

2017-18 Legislative Priorities: Jobs, economic development, education, transportation, the environment, and historical preservation

Profession: Professor of English at the University of New Hampshire

Education: Dartmouth College and Brown University

Professional & Community Affiliations: Board of Directors of New Hampshire Humanities, Board of Directors of the Dover Adult Learning Center, Corporation of Canterbury Shaker Village, New Hampshire Legislative Commissioner on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, New Hampshire Sea Grant Policy Advisory Committee.


Family: Senator Watters lives in Dover with his wife, Jan Alberghene, and they have a son, Harper, who is a Demi Soloist at the Houston Ballet.


We would like to thank the following for their generous support in helping to make this forum possible: