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Projects > Spruce Creek Watershed Improvement Project, Phase 1

Sponsored by the Town of Kittery (in close partnership with the Town of Eliot, the Spruce Creek Association, and the York County Soil and Water Conservation District), this project will be funded under the 319 Stormwater program of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (using EPA funds). The project timelines is from May 2008 and through March 2010, working to reduce bacteria loading and the export of sediment and nutrients into Spruce Creek by addressing a full suite of polluted runoff problems. For up-to-date information on the project, please see www.protectkitterywaters.org.

The primary purpose of this project is to significantly reduce bacteria loading and the export of sediment and nutrients into Spruce Creek by addressing a full suite of polluted runoff problems. The secondary purpose is to continue to raise community awareness in this watershed, with the long-term goal of improving and protecting the water quality of Spruce Creek and the Piscataqua River Estuary. This project will also serve to continue to build relationships with residents, town officials, and project partners to prepare for the Spruce Creek Watershed Improvement Project Phase II, which will address larger, more complex stormwater issues in the watershed and will be combined with funding from other sources including the Town of Kittery, Maine Department of Transportation (Maine DOT) Surface Water Quality Protection Program, and Maine DEP Community Grants septic program.

Estimated Total Cost, Federal & Non-Federal Sources
319 Grant:
Non-Federal Match:

Project Plan
The eight tasks included in this plan represent a broad collaborative effort between local, state and federal government, the Spruce Creek watershed communities, the private sector and a local citizen-based watershed group, the Spruce Creek Association. This two-year initiative to reduce bacteria, nutrients, toxic chemicals, sediments and habitat alterations will improve the health of the Spruce Creek watershed. These pollutants are the primary sources of impairments identified by federal, state and local assessments and pose the greatest threat human and ecological health. Section 319 funding will enable this project’s partners to implement an innovative stormwater retrofit and low impact development (LID) implementation program addressing at least four sites, initiate a maintenance and repair program for septic systems, develop a cost-sharing residential and business conservation practices program targeting several hundred individuals and businesses, provide technical assistance for erosion control and culvert replacement for at least eight stream crossings, and conduct innovative public outreach campaigns to reach residents and many of the more than three million annual visitors to the watershed. The collective benefit of the projects will be measured improvements in calculated units of pollutant reduction and infiltration associated with specific techniques; the reopening of shellfish harvesting areas in the watershed, and the education of and outreach to Spruce Creek’s residents and visitors.

The Spruce Creek Watershed Improvement Project, Phase I will be guided by a project steering committee including the Town of Kittery (including municipal staff, Shellfish Commission, and Conservation Commission), Town of Eliot, Spruce Creek Association (SCA), York County Soil and Water Conservation District (YCSWCD), local business owners, and Maine DEP. Through this project, staff and volunteers will coordinate and install conservation practices that reduce polluted runoff at 22 high and medium priority sites and will provide on-site technical assistance to town public works staff as well as landowners in the watershed.

Project staff will develop an initial fact sheet for watershed residents that will highlight planned activities over the span of the project and provide information on low-impact lawn care and landscaping. Project Spruce Creek Watershed Improvement Project, Phase I Proposal Page 3 activities, including before and after digital photos of all completed sites, will be showcased in presentations to the Town Council of Kittery and Board of Selectmen of Eliot, and at a community workshop which will build upon the recent successful community input efforts of several watershed partners in the formation of a watershed based plan for Spruce Creek. All information pertinent to the project will be prominently displayed on the Town of Kittery and Spruce Creek Association websites.

Proposed Project Tasks
The project will be broken down into the following main tasks:

  • Project Management
  • Steering Committee
  • Low Impact Development and Stormwater Best Management Practices
  • Septic System Maintenance and Repair
  • Residential and Business Conservation Practices
  • Stream Crossing Erosion Control and Culvert Replacement
  • Public Outreach
  • Pollutant Reduction Estimates

Proposed Interagency Coordination, Roles & Responsibilities
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection will administer project funding, serve as the project advisor, participate on the steering committee and assist with local education/outreach efforts.

  • The US Environmental Protection Agency will provide project funding and guidance.
  • The Town of Kittery will serve as the project sponsor and be responsible for the coordination and implementation of all project activities.
  • The Spruce Creek Association will provide in-kind match and serve on the steering committee, update and expand the current list of watershed residents, recruit volunteer assistance for NPS mitigation sites, coordinate the community participation, and assist in designing the outreach materials
  • The Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve will participate on the project steering committee and provide input on project tasks.
  • The York County Soil and Water Conservation District will provide project support, paid technical assistance, engineering assistance, serve on the steering committee and will assist with all project tasks.
  • Representatives from the Town of Eliot will serve on the steering committee and provide project updates to Town’s Select Board, Planning Board and Conservation Commission.
  • The University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center will provide technical assistance on effective stormwater BMPs for treatment and removal of bacteria, heavy metals, and nutrients.

Proposed Project Outcome
1. At least twenty-two NPS sites treated with BMPs.
2. At least 500 watershed citizens and visitors directly educated
3. At least twenty-two NPS issues addressed at end of project
4. NPS Pollutant loading (bacteria, heavy metals, nutrients, sediment) controlled

Proposed Environmental Results
1. Pollutants controlled: Estimated tons of sediment kept out of Spruce Creek by addressing high and medium impact sites. Estimated bacteria loading reduction through stormwater controls and septic replacement.

2. Water Quality Improvement: Improvement in river water quality is a long-term measure of environmental results of NPS abatement in the watershed. The final project report will include a summary of the current status of water quality as reported by the quality-assured efforts of the volunteer Spruce Creek Association.

Project Coordinator
Jonathan Carter, Town Manager
Town of Kittery
200 Rogers Road Ext.
Kittery, ME 03904
Phone: 207-439-0452, Fax: (207) 439-6806
Email: jcarter@kitteryme.org


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