The health of the Great Bay Estuary is strongly influenced by stressors from across the watershed. Seven rivers flow into the estuary, which is recessed 15 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. While science and case studies clearly demonstrate the value of vegetated buffers along these rivers in promoting a healthy estuary, New Hampshire does not yet consistently or effectively use buffers to protect the Great Bay Estuary. A 2015 Integrated Assessment project led by Great Bay Reserve enhanced stakeholder capacity to make informed decisions on the protection and restoration of buffers around the Great Bay Estuary by addressing the following question: What are the options for addressing the challenges to effectively protect and restore buffer zones around New Hampshire’s Great Bay?
The key findings from the project are integrated into this Buffer Options for the Bay ("BOB") website. The site is designed to help agencies, non-profits, and communities that are working on buffers in New Hampshire and is organized around commonly asked questions about buffers. It integrates social science, economics, coastal science, legal analysis, and mapping information and includes summaries of information, maps and GIS analysis, and an evolving action plan that captures key gaps in existing knowledge and potential actions to address them.