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Merrimack users asked to fill out survey

A response to the launch of the Merrimack River Users Survey and what ACES members are trying to accomplish with the results 

Photo by Brandon Duford on Unsplash
Allies and Partners

Complete the new ACES survey

NEWBURYPORT — The Alliance of Climate and Environmental Stewards is asking Merrimack River users to complete its new survey to gather perspectives and opinions from those who frequent the watershed for recreational and commercial purposes.

Efforts to improve the health and quality of the river have increased over the years with multiple municipalities, state and federal officials, and numerous local organizations and agencies getting involved.

The survey, which was launched two weeks ago and will run through the summer, looks to gain insight on how people use the river, what they see through their unique experiences, and what they understand about combined sewage overflows.

All are invited to participate

Boaters, anglers, swimmers, kayakers, bird-watchers, landowners, marina residents and other river users are all invited to participate.

In 2019, ACES conducted a pilot survey of adult masters-level rowers using the Merrimack between Newburyport and Manchester, New Hampshire.

Lon Hachmeister, a member of the ACES board of directors, said the first survey went "very well" and provided the alliance with useful information about what people know about the river. With this new survey, ACES hopes to reach a much broader audience.

For groups such as ACES to understand the state of the river, they need insight from those taking advantage of its multitude of uses.

"Experts are the people that use the river"

"Experts are the people that use the river every day," Hachmeister said, noting that he is interested in learning more about what people see and their concerns.

He added that ACES might conduct this survey every couple of years to see how opinions change.

ACES Youth Corps, the organization's high school- and college-aged interns, will work on all aspects of the project. This includes raising awareness of the survey at local events, analyzing the data, writing reports and presenting the findings later this year.

The Merrimack River drains into a watershed of 5,000 square miles that sustains more than 2.5 million people, supplies drinking water to 600,000 Merrimack Valley residents, and provides recreational opportunities to more than 200 New Hampshire and Massachusetts communities.

The health of the Merrimack

In 2016, the American Rivers Association listed the Merrimack as one of the country's 10 most endangered rivers. The U.S. Forest Service has ranked the watershed as the most threatened due to forestlands development, the fourth-most threatened due to water quality issues, and the seventh due to loss of habitat for at-risk species.

To learn more or to participate in the survey, visit www.aces-alliance.org/post/merrimack-river-users-survey.

- By Heather Alterisio

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