Volunteers help with Bedford-Manchester brook cleanup

The annual McQuesten Brook watershed cleanup during World Environment Week was a tremendous success.

The New Hampshire Rivers Council was joined by volunteers from Anheuser-Busch in Merrimack, with funding for the event provided by them through River Network.

This year, there were 40 volunteers from organizations including the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and the town of Bedford.

The 563-acre McQuesten Brook watershed is in Bedford and Manchester. The brook supports one of the state’s highest-quality populations of self-sustaining wild brook trout, as well as a variety of other wildlife.

Crews removed trash from wooded areas behind Second Street and South Main Street in Manchester and along the brook in Bedford on Wathen Road, Eastman Avenue and Donald Street.

“We are grateful to our partners and other dedicated volunteers who removed a huge amount of trash from the watershed,” said Michele L. Tremblay, president of the New Hampshire Rivers Council. “A total of 57 bags of trash were piled up at the Wolfe Park kiosk in Manchester, 13 of which were recycling. The city of Manchester collected and disposed of everything that could not be recycled.”

These items included a bicycle, two shopping carts, half of a sofa, two televisions, many yards of fencing, eight tires, a car bumper, an oil tank, a culvert pipe, a motorcycle battery and three plastic chairs.

“For a sixth consecutive year, the New Hampshire Rivers Council has organized a cleanup of McQuesten Pond and Brook,” said Jen Drociak, of the Manchester Urban Ponds Restoration Program.

“The Manchester Urban Ponds Restoration Program is thankful to the many volunteers who see what a gem the McQuesten Brook watershed is to the city of Manchester, and who have tirelessly worked to keep the area clean of debris and illegal dumping so that others may enjoy this area’s peaceful serenity in the midst of a bustling commercial area within the Queen City.”

The annual cleanup is part of a larger effort that the NHRC and project partners are working on to restore McQuesten Brook.

Funding for the development of a watershed restoration plan to protect the sensitive trout habitat has been provided in part by NHDES, New Hampshire Fish & Game and the Samuel P. Hunt Foundation.

The first phase of the restoration plan implementation involves re-establishing a connection from McQuesten Pond to McQuesten Brook by removing two dams in the pond and one on the brook. The Rivers Council also plans to improve stream conditions by working with watershed residents and business owners to reduce stormwater runoff, which can include chemicals, sediments, nutrients and toxins that run into the brook.

You can join this effort by visiting nhrivers.org/mcquesten-brook for project updates and information and to sign up for events.