Maine CDC Press Release

September 10, 2012

Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative Honored with National U.S. Water Prize

Augusta, ME - The Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative, an ambitious inter-state effort to protect drinking water supplies for more than 47,000 residents in Maine and New Hampshire, has been named a 2012 U.S. Water Prize award winner by The Clean Water America Alliance. To see the national prize video featuring the Collaborative and to learn more about the U.S. Water Prize, visit http://www.cleanwateramericaalliance.org/u-s-water-prize/2012-prize-winners/

Members of the collaborative, including the Maine CDC Drinking Water Program, received the award at a reception in Washington D.C. on , April 23. The Collaborative has many members, and the award, itself, has been rotating among them, and recently came to the Maine CDC Drinking Water Program. Dr. Sheila Pinette, CDC Director, said “Maine CDC is pleased to be a part of this successful team. Our partnership uses existing local resources to help keep drinking water safe for the people in the Salmon Falls Watershed in Southern Maine.” Other Water Prize honorees include Frito Lay, the Philadelphia Water Department, and San Francisco Public Utilities.

On Tuesday, September 11, 2012, Maine CDC will celebrate National Protect Your Groundwater Day, which is a day emphasizing the work the Collaborative engages in all year.

Conceived through the efforts of the drinking water protection programs in the states of both Maine and New Hampshire, the Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative brought together natural resource experts, municipalities, land trusts, local water districts and community and watershed organizations to develop and implement an Action Plan to protect clean drinking water for current and future generations.

The Salmon Falls River is the largest river system contributing to the Great Bay estuary that borders both states, and was recently identified by the U.S. Forest Service as being the most threatened in the nation with regard to a potential decline in water quality due to conversion of private forested lands to housing.

The selection of the Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative for the U.S. Water Prize highlights the importance of inter-jurisdictional partnerships to protect and sustain drinking water supplies. The programmatic success of the collaborative relies on the “on-the-ground actions” of multiple local watershed and community groups. The groups use grassroots messaging and community organizing to implement actions town-by-own, property-by-property throughout the watershed. The Collaborative unites to protect forests, champion smarter development approaches, and reduce water pollution from existing and future land development. Members of the Collaborative have produced a video describing their work and the award. http://youtu.be/O9AIF_9ZdDM

The Collaborative’s work has been made possible through funding support from NH Department of Environmental Services, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as part of the national Source Water Collaborative. Other key partners in the Collaborative include: The Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership, the Wells and Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserves, Maine Rural Water Association, Granite State Rural Water Association, South Berwick and Berwick water districts, City of Somersworth, Maine Non-point Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO), Strafford Regional Planning Commission, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, York County SWCD, Acton Wakefield Watersheds Alliance, and five land trust organizations.

To learn more about the Salmon Falls Collaborative or view the group’s Action Plan, please visit http://www.prep.unh.edu/sfwc.htm .

Besides participating in the Collaborative, Maine CDC also helps to keep Maine’s drinking water safe and healthy by working with public water systems and encouraging private well owners to test their wells regularly for contaminants often found in Maine wells like arsenic, radon, and uranium.


From left to right: Andrews Tolman, Nancy Beardsley, Dr. Shelia Pinette, Roger Crouse