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Town of Kittery Maine

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Spruce Creek Watershed Reports and Resources
[Link]Spruce Creek Association Website

2008RR01  Spruce Creek Watershed Improvement Project, Phase I
Grantee:  Town of Kittery

Watershed Information:
Spruce Creek Watershed is a 9.6 square mile coastal southern Maine watershed located 90% within the Town of Kittery with the remaining 10% of the headwaters located in the Town of Eliot (see attached map). The watershed empties into the Piscataqua River 1.5 miles northerly from where the Piscataqua meets the Gulf of Maine. The Spruce Creek watershed is primarily fed by 6 freshwater streams: Wilson Brook, Fuller Brook, Hill Brook, Hutchins Creek, Chickering Creek, and Crocketts Brook. It contains approximately 3 square miles of tidal area that consists of high salt marsh, ledge, and mud flats.

Due to the continued poor water quality, Spruce Creek is listed in Maine’s 305(b) report as impaired under Category 5-B-1:  Estuarine & Marine Water Impaired by Bacteria (TMDL required) for nonpoint pollutant sources. This fragile body of water is also identified by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (Maine DEP) as a “nonpoint source pollution priority watershed” due to bacterial contamination, low dissolved oxygen, toxic contamination, and a compromised ability to support commercial marine fisheries. Finally, the Spruce Creek watershed is listed by the Maine DEP as one of seven coastal watersheds in the state being “most at risk from development.”

Out of the 9.6 square miles that the watershed is comprised of, only 3.5 % of this land (14 parcels / 216 acres) is permanently conserved. Spruce Creek drains a significant commercial area along US Route 1 and the towns of Kittery and Eliot are both experiencing population growth. For Kittery, population has increased by 5.9% from 2000 to 2006 while Eliot has experienced an 8.3% increase during this same period.

Problem / Need:
Spruce Creek, particularly the tidal portion, is being intensely manipulated and impacted by people’s desire to live near the water and to have water views, and by polluted stormwater. The developed areas surrounding the Creek and its tributaries are currently contributing to its water quality degradation at an increasing rate. Phased treatment of existing sources of polluted stormwater is crucial for watershed health. The effective way to achieve water protection is to address cumulative impacts resulting from increasing development and polluted runoff.

To address and quantify these concerns, project partners have recently conducted assessments of the watershed to determine the extent of these environmental threats. The results of these environmental condition studies include the identification of 20 stormwater outfalls discharging high concentrations of pollutants, more than 40 potentially failing septic systems, and as many as 12 non-licensed overboard discharges. A Section 319 funded, community-led watershed survey conducted in 2005 identified 197 sites contributing high levels of polluted runoff to Spruce Creek. A comprehensive riparian habitat assessment conducted in 2006 identified 90 degraded riparian areas. While scientific research and assessment of the watershed will continue, project partners have begun to implement measures to restore the watershed.

The primary outcome of this project is to improve water quality to open shellfish harvesting areas. While a portion of Spruce Creek has been open to shellfish harvesting in the past, the flats have been closed since 2005 due to poor water quality. In July of 2005 clam samples were found to have very high fecal coliform concentrations. The Creek is currently classified “restricted for depuration harvesting only”. Spruce Creek is one of the sample sites used by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for their study “A Decade of Monitoring Toxic Contaminants along Maine’s Coast”. The results for the Spruce Creek sampling area show that both lead and mercury are found in above normal levels. Other metals present include silver, cadmium, chromium, copper, nickel, zinc, aluminum, and iron. Clearly, stormwater runoff is contributing heavy metals to Spruce Creek and its tributaries.

In Kittery and Eliot, failing septic systems and polluted stormwater runoff from roads, parking lots, lawns, and fields pose the greatest threat to the Spruce Creek’s aquatic life, water quality and habitats. In order to reverse the cumulative impacts aggressive actions need to be taken to remediate past land use and management decisions that are resulting in poor water quality and to minimize or prevent future ones.

The project will address polluted runoff problems to reduce bacteria loading and the export of sediment and nutrients into Spruce Creek to improve water quality and help re-open shellfish harvest areas. 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.  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 and landowners.  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.

Project Duration:
Project start date:               April 2008
Project completion date:                March 2010

General Project Plan:
The seven 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. Reductions of sediment (tons/year), nitrogen (lbs/yr) and phosphorus (lbs/year) will be estimated for NPS sites treated with BMPs.

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.   Phase II, if funded, will aim to treat an additional 40 high and medium priority sites in the watershed including several sites in the Route 1 commercial zone.

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 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.  

If necessary, environmental permits will be obtained before construction (Tasks 3, 5  & 6).   In managing this project NPS Program grant funds will not be used to undertake, complete or maintain erosion or storm water control work otherwise required by existing permits or orders.

Tasks, Schedules & Estimated Costs:

Task 1: Project Management
The Town of Kittery and Maine DEP will sign a letter of agreement outlining project roles, responsibilities, and funding arrangements. The Town of Kittery will track project costs and match, submit deliverables and complete three progress reports and one final report. (4/08 to 3/10)

+  match
= Total Cost

Task 2: Steering Committee
A steering committee will guide project activities and meet at least four times during the grant period. This committee will include representatives from Maine DEP, Maine DMR, MDOT, SCA, York County SWCD, and municipal staff; businesses, and citizens from the Towns of Kittery and Eliot. (4/08 to 3/10)

+  match
= Total Cost

Task 3: LID and Stormwater Best Management Practices

In 2005, the Maine State Planning Office, the Town of Kittery and the Maine DOT identified 21 possible stormwater retrofit sites within the commercial district of Route 1 in the lower Spruce Creek watershed. This comprehensive assessment of impervious surface contributing areas, probable stormwater quantity and quality loading, and drainage infrastructure provides the necessary information for the development and implementation of stormwater retrofit and LID demonstration projects within the Spruce Creek watershed. Partnering efforts with the local business community is well underway.  Project staff will continue to work with retail outlet and restaurant owners, the Town of Kittery and the Maine DOT to determine the final locations for stormwater retrofit implementation based on current efforts with the Kittery Premium Outlets future capital improvement efforts on private property, roadway maintenance activities and/or municipal planning efforts. Stormwater and LID specialist(s) will develop the best stormwater Best Management Practice (BMP) technologies to utilize in the selected retrofit locations. Project partners will implement at least two stormwater retrofit demonstration areas that will provide significant treatment of stormwater quantity and quality (Please see NPS Candidate Site list for more information). Cooperating with the nearby UNH Stormwater Center, staff will develop the best technology for the sites and will use their extensive data to determine probable benefits. Final site selection will be determined on the basis of technical feasibility, cost-effectiveness, opportunity for demonstration to other commercial and municipal entities, and feasibility of maintenance. The Town of Kittery will send site designs to Maine DEP for review and approval.  Site selection will be completed in year one and installation will be complete within two years. Letters of Agreement outlining long-term maintenance and construction cost sharing of the BMPs will be signed by all property owners before construction commences.

Within the retail district, project consultants will work with landowners and LID specialists to include innovative LID and stormwater retrofit techniques at two identified retrofit sites. Possible financial partnering through capital improvements or other municipal or state activity and likely water quality benefits will help to determine project opportunity. In addition to the two larger stormwater retrofit projects, two smaller-scale LID technologies will be constructed in the watershed for demonstration of water quality improvements. Demonstration efforts will include one press release and one tour to include commercial, municipal, agency, and citizen attendees.  (6/08 to 10/09)

+  match
= Total Cost

Task 4: Septic System Maintenance and Repair

The Towns of Kittery and Eliot will employ a public outreach approach modeled on the successful Washington Sea Grant Septic Social Program.  At the start of the project, cost share criteria will be developed and priority septic systems to be addressed will be identified through site inspection, review of Town and DEP records, and analysis utilizing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data layers and aerial photography of the watershed. Subtasks will include:

  • Hold three septic socials in three separate neighborhoods that have evidence of failing septic systems.  Develop a septic system factsheet to be distributed at each social.
  • Develop a brief factsheet (based on recent research by the Town of York) that outlines mechanisms for reducing septic system failures including frequent pump outs.
  • Provide assistance to residents to help upgrade or replace malfunctioning septic systems.  As appropriate, help homeowners obtain financial assistance from the Maine DEP Small Community Grants Program or the "MaineHousing" Home Improvement Assistance Program.  Assist with the securing of funds for replacement of four residential septic systems. (6/08 to 10/09)
+  match
= Total Cost

Task 5:  Residential Conservation Practices
The Town of Kittery in partnership with The York County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Spruce Creek Association will develop a suite of programs to reduce pollution stemming from residential properties. A matching grants program will be established to encourage installation of conservation practices at ten sites using infiltration trenches, dry wells, runoff diverters and vegetated buffers using matches of cash, material or labor. The results of these projects will provide tangible examples for landowners of practical methods to remedy common conservation problems in the watershed that threaten to negatively impact water resources, thereby increasing landowner stewardship. All programs will be marketed to priority sites identified as part of the 2005 watershed survey. Preference for matching grants will be based on priority ranking, landowner interest, and overall site need. Local students and volunteers assist with fieldwork through watershed service learning projects that will be showcased in local papers. When applicable, demonstration sites will showcase reduction of impervious cover and pet waste disposal practices.  Letters of Agreement outlining long-term maintenance and construction cost sharing of the BMPs will be signed by all property owners before construction commences. (6/08 to 10/09)

+  match
= Total Cost

Task 6:  Stream Crossing Erosion Control and Culvert Replacement
The Town of Kittery in partnership with the Town of Eliot and YCSWCD proposes to provide technical assistance for stabilizing eight high priority eroding stream crossings including the replacement of two failing culverts to reduce pollutant loading and improve aquatic habitat throughout the watershed. YCSWCD staff will provide municipal road crews with technical assistance to address erosion and runoff problems for all identified roadside erosion sites. Both municipalities will provide match through cash, material, and labor contributions under cost share agreements. (6/08 to 10/09)

+  match
= Total Cost

Task 7: Public Outreach
The goal of this task is to enhance landowner understanding about how their land management practices can impact water quality, and encourage them to adopt management practices that minimize impacts. Project staff will lead this multi-tiered public outreach program focusing on homeowners including the maintenance of septic systems, management of pet waste and environmentally-friendly lawn care including the incorporation of vegetated buffers. The public outreach program will be based on the results of a pre- and post-project intercept survey. The first survey will be conducted in the early summer of 2008 at a common public area.  A follow-up survey will be completed in the late summer of 2009.  The document “Administering an Intercept Communications Survey” (Maine DEP, 2007) will be used to guide this subtask.

Once the outreach program design has been finalized, project staff will deliver two presentations at public events, the distribution of educational material and the offering of two workshops on NPS management to a general audience including homeowners, landowners, schools and municipal officials. A flyer will be developed to link watershed management to water quality conditions, which in turn would be linked to local economic conditions. This highly interactive public outreach program will provide the information needed to educate citizens on the watershed-based measures needed to help improve Spruce Creek.

All of the material developed and distributed through this public outreach program would be made available through the Towns’ websites. The online information will include an extensive Internet Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping component that enables the use of colorful and informative maps.  This component will allow users to view data specifically for Spruce Creek. Finally, a Spruce Creek Festival will be organized by watershed volunteers in 2009 to celebrate the successful projects and improved health and water quality of the watershed. (6/08 to 10/09)

+  match
= Total Cost

Task 8: Pollutant Reduction Estimates
The Town of Kittery and YCSWCD will estimate NPS pollutant load reductions and resources protected under this project.~ Pollutant load reduction estimates will be developed and reported as follows:~ During design or installation of BMPs at NPS sites, appropriate field measurements will be recorded to prepare written estimates of pollutant load reductions.~ Estimates will be prepared for all NPS sites, unless there is not an applicable estimation method for a given site.~ Methods to be used are the EPA Region 5 Load Estimation Model (see website~ and/or the federal WEPP Road Model (   Estimates will be checked for proper application of the method(s) and the results will be summarized on a standard form provided by DEP titled "Pollutants Controlled Report" (PCR).~ The PCR will be submitted to the DEP Agreement Administrator, by December 31 of each year, until project completion.~ Documentation of the estimation procedures used for each NPS site will be kept in the Grantee project file and will be available for DEP/EPA review.  
Pollutants Controlled Report (PCR) each year until project completion.

+  match
= Total Cost

Signed contract, 4 semi-annual progress reports and final project report (Task 1).
NPS Site Report for each NPS site (Tasks 3, 5, and 6).
Copies of newspaper articles, brochures, presentations and outreach material including pre and post citizen surveys, and summary of septic socials (Task 7).
Pollutants Controlled Report (PCR) each year until project completion (Task 8).

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 Maine Department of Marine Resources will contribute water quality monitoring and shoreline survey data and will assist with managing and reopening clam flats.
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.

Project Outcome
  • At least twenty-two NPS sites treated with BMPs.
  • At least 500 watershed citizens and visitors directly educated

Environmental Results
  • Pollutants controlled:  Reductions of sediment (tons/year), nitrogen (lbs/yr) and phosphorus (lbs/year) will be estimated for NPS sites treated with BMPs. Estimated tons of sediment kept out of Spruce Creek by addressing high and medium impact sites.
  • 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. The summary will describe progress reopening the shellfish harvest area.
Project Coordinator:
Jonathan Carter, Town Manager  
Town of Kittery
200 Rogers Road Ext.
Kittery, ME  03904
Phone:  207-439-0452, Fax:  (207) 439-6806
Federal ID# 01-6000224

Estimated Total Cost, Federal & Non-Federal Sources:

Federal Grant (319):    $69,670
Non-Federal Match:      $106,326
Total:               $175,996

Sources of Match:
Dollar Value Planned
 $     28,630.00
(cash and volunteer in-kind services)
Spruce Creek Association
$     16,033.00
(volunteer in-kind services)
Landowners & citizen volunteers
$     12,751.00
(volunteer in-kind services)
Town of Kittery
$     47,092.00
(cash and in-kind services)
Town of Eliot
$       1,820.00
(cash and in-kind services)
$   106,326.00

Budget Information

Estimated Personnel Expenses (Grantee staff )

Position & Title Name
Hourly Rate
Number of Project Hours
Total Grantee Personnel Expenses
Project Manager (Town of Kittery)
$ 35
$ 17,500
 $       -   
 $ 17,500
$ 17,500
 $       -   
 $ 17,500

Budget Estimates by Cost Category

Cost Category
Federal Grant (319)
Non-Federal Match
Total Cost
Salary & Fringe
$ 17,500
 $             -   
 $ 17,500
      $  2,000
  $ 5,250
      $  7,250
$ 14,000
    $ 47,000
 $ 61,000
 $ 34,200
    $ 10,200
 $ 44,400
Donated Services – Labor4
   $ 38,792
 $ 38,792
      $ 1,970
   $   1,384
       $ 3,354
 $             -   
$             -   
    $  3,700            -   
$  3,700                
Indirect Costs
$ 69,670
 $ 106,326

1. Supplies include printed materials ($3,950); construction tools for volunteer projects ($400). Donated supplies include use of Kittery Municipal printers, copiers and office supplies and postage ($900).
2. Construction match includes $37,000 from commercial entities for LID construction (Task 3) and $10,000 from the Town of Kittery for culvert replacement (Task 6).
3. Contractual includes $21,200 for technical support for project tasks (@ $40-$60/hr); $13,000 for engineering assistance (@ $75/hr) for project Tasks #3 and #6.  Matching contractual services include 50% pledged discount from graphic artist/web design & maintenance ($9,000); discount on printing ($1,200).
4. Donated labor services include Steering Committee meeting attendance ($8,992); LID site identification, mapping, and remediation ($3,100); Septic issue identification and outreach activities ($3,450); Volunteer participation in conservation site identification and remediation, as well as education ($4,300); Town and volunteer construction assistance for stream crossing improvements ($7,750); general outreach activities ($4,700); volunteer observational and maintenance monitoring ($6,500).
5. Travel = 4,691 miles @ $.42/mile (will be adjusted to State rate in 2009)
6. Other match includes use of Kittery Municipal offices and GPS equipment .

Spruce Creek Watershed Improvement Project, Phase I
Attachment: Candidate NPS Abatement Projects

  • Task 3 LID site: Kittery Outlets - Kittery – (high priority site) A large parking area near Route 1 has direct flow of uncontrolled stormwater to Spruce Creek.  Current BMPs are not functioning properly (see photo top right). Recommendations include treating off site flows from the Tanger Outlets, Wilson Road and Route 1. Specific projects may incorporate pervious pavements, vegetative buffers, and underdrain soil filters. The UNH Stormwater Center will be consulted on the best available technologies related to site considerations.  Planning and Engineering will be provided for this site through the grant with construction costs paid for by the commercial entities. Estimated Construction Cost: $21,000 ($6,000 319 grant; $15,000 match)
  • Task 3 LID site: Bob’s Clam Hut – Kittery – (high priority site) A small parking area directly off Route 1 which is currently gravel, compressed from several years use.  Proposed retrofit includes installing infiltration basins and cisterns to capture roof and parking lot runoff.  BMPs installed will be similar in design to those installed at Robert’s (same owner).  Estimated Construction Cost: $19,000 ($4,000 grant; $15,000 match).  This will likely be a 2009 construction project.
  • Task 3 Additional LID sites: (two high priority sites): Two additional (smaller-scale) LID sites will be constructed from the current listing of sites identified in the 319 Watershed Survey and Route One Stormwater Survey for Kittery.  Final site selection will be determined by the Steering Committee and may include vegetated infiltration basins on Route 1 (see photo bottom right), and stormwater planters and infiltration trenches at one (or more) of several identified commercial outlet mall parking areas.  Commercial owners have been contacted and are supportive of efforts to improve Spruce Creek water quality. Estimated Construction Cost: $5,000 ($2,000 grant; $3,000 match)
  • Task 6 Stream Crossing Erosion Control (six high or medium priority sites)

  • Martin Road (Kittery) – From 319 Survey: Filled and diverted stream flow, and clogged culverts, water level on downstream side is higher then upstream side.  Grant to provide technical assistance to stabilize site and redesign culvert.
  • Haley Road at Trafton Lane (Kittery) – From 319 Survey: Grant to provide assistance to armor the culvert inlet and outlet and stabilize the ditches.
  • Charles Hill Road (Kittery) – From 319 Survey: trash and debris, pet/animal wastes, septic system, shoulder erosion, bank erosion surface erosion, winter sand use, runoff, clogged culvert, road crossing ~ 20 ft wide.  Grant to provide assistance to stabilize site and repair culverts.
  • Off Norton Road (Kittery) – From 319 Survey: Downstream culvert: dirt drive into condo units: direct runoff into stream; driveway, shoulder erosion, surface erosion, sediment; Grant to provide assistance to stabilize site and restore buffer.
  • Rosellen Drive (Kittery) – From 319 Survey: Culvert under road that drains directly from extensive lawn across road; clogged culvert, lawn drains directly into the creek.  Grant to provide assistance to stabilize site, establish buffer, and repair culvert.
  • ATV site off Wilson Road (Kittery) – From 319 Survey: ATV trails running along the creek and crossing a few minor streams and tributaries, some still with water flow, about 20 - 25' to creek edge. Stagnant ponded water, runoff; ATV / recreational, shoulder erosion, surface erosion, runoff, flow restriction, sediment and sediment build up in the water. Grant to provide assistance to stabilize site with erosion controls and vegetation.
        Total Construction Costs for six road crossing sites: $10,000 ($0 319 grant; $10,000    match)

Task 6 Culvert Replacement:  (2 sites)

  • a. Rogers Road Extension – Kittery (leads from traffic circle to Town Hall). Town will replace 140-feet  of culvert by taking an SDR25 pipe and cutting it in half and then laying it over the existing one to shore it up/prevent stream flow restriction. Construction Cost: $6,000 ($1,000 319 grant; $5,000 match)
  • Picott Road at Litchfield Road – Kittery – High priority site. This site is located near the intersection of Litchfield and Picott Roads.  Culvert is misaligned and undersized.  Town will provide construction funds and 319 grant will pay for oversight, planning and engineering. Construction Cost: $7,000 ($2,000 319 grant, $5,000 match)


Town of Kittery 200 Rogers Rd Ext., Kittery, Maine 03904
(207) 439-0452 Fax: (207) 439-6806
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