Scenes from Three New Hampshire Rivers

posted on 06.11.2019 by Alexandra Evans, Kevin Gardner

Freshwater aquatic ecosystems, such as streams and rivers, vary greatly across landscapes. For example, streams can have different riparian vegetation composition, streambed and bank material, channel shape, sinuosity, water clarity, and anthropogenic impacts affecting them. Researchers have found that these differences can be difficult to convey to stakeholders using numbers and abstract data. It is important for stakeholders to have the opportunity to understand researchers’ findings for informed decision making. To improve expert-stakeholder communications, this video was made using high resolution unmanned aerial system (UAS) footage of three New Hampshire rivers: the Cocheco, Oyster, and Lamprey Rivers. By using this video, researchers and educators can illustrate aquatic ecology concepts to non-expert audiences and students.

The intent of the river choice was to demonstrate river reaches that have notable differences in ecological conditions. These differences are illustrated through the three NH sites, allowing them to become more tangible to viewers. The Cocheco has forested banks, but the riparian zone is restricted by development such as the road visible in the video that runs parallel along the river. The Oyster resides in a heavily forested area, providing a denser canopy cover over the stream. The Lamprey provides the greatest contrast regarding vegetation, with its riparian zone composed of shrubs and grasses with visible forested areas further up- and downstream. The Cocheco and Oyster are of similar width, but the Cocheco is deeper than the Oyster. The Oyster’s streambed of cobble and fines can be seen through the relatively clearer, shallower water. The Lamprey stretch is much narrower and is much more sinuous than the Oyster and Cocheco. The Oyster is rich in visible habitat features, such as fallen trees and overhanging vegetation, while the Lamprey illustrates macrophyte beds and off channel habitat. The Lamprey is free of visible anthropogenic impacts in the video, with roads off in the distance past its floodplain. The Oyster provides an example of a small run-of-river dam, seen at the start of the Oyster video segment. The Cocheco is the most visibly anthropogenically-impacted stream stretch in the video. The nearby parallel road combined with the Spaulding Turnpike passing over the river, nearby housing and public works building, and the groomed baseball field all provide opportunities to discuss the different ways humans can impact rivers.

The Cocheco River was flown on October 1, 2017. The stream stretch is located near Rochester Public Works from 43.282589, -70.976969 to 43.284397, -70.976754 in Rochester, NH. The Lamprey River was flown on October 12, 2017. The stream stretch is located near the Deerfield Fair grounds from 43.094711, -71.237818 to 43.092888, -71.237481 in Deerfield, NH. The Oyster River was flown on October 1, 2017 and October 12, 2017. The stream stretch is located near the Rivers Edge Apartments from 43.148387, -70.965626 to 43.148659, -70.964800 in Durham, NH. A DJI Phantom 3 Professional UAS was used to collect the video footage with a 4K camera. FAA Part 107 UAS flight regulations were followed to collect the imagery. Footage was collected manually, no automated flight paths were used. Altitude varied throughout collection but did not exceed 150 feet above ground level. The footage was edited together and rendered using DaVinci Resolve 14. The 1080p version was made in iMovie.

The first file (jpg) is a screenshot of the Lamprey River from the video to provide a preview on figshare. The second file (.mov) is a 1080p version of the video. The third file (mp4) is the full resolution video.


This video was made using resources from an NSF EPSCoR funded project titled “RII Track-2 FEC: Strengthening the scientific basis for decision-making about dams: Multi-scale, coupled-systems research on ecological, social, and economic trade-offs”. Support for this project is provided by the National Science Foundation's Research Infrastructure Improvement NSF #IIA-1539071. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.