Beach Advisories

How many times did beach advisory days occur on public tidal beaches in the NH and ME Piscataqua Region due to bacterial pollution, and have beach advisory days changed over time?

Across the 17 tidal beaches in the Piscataqua Region Watershed, beach advisory days occurred less than 1% of beach-days from 2012 to 2016. There are no statistically significant trends.


Beach advisories are an indicator of water quality overall and they are a particularly important measure of the health and safety of the region’s popular recreational areas. Beach areas in the region supply vital economic benefits from the tourist economy. Advisories are issued by the NH Beach Inspection program and ME Healthy Coastal Beaches program when bacteria water quality samples do not meet state and federal standards for swimming.
Less than 1% of beach days over the summer season affected by advisories due to bacteria pollution.
The Atlantic coast is home to 17 public tidal beaches in the Piscataqua Region. At these beaches, between 1 and 11 advisories have been issued per year since 2003. Advisories between 2003 and 2016 have affected 130 of 23,373 beach summer days (0.06%). The most advisories occurred in 2009 with 11 advisories affecting six beaches for a total of 23 days (1.2% of total beach-days) (Figure 12.1). In 2016, North Hampton State Beach had two advisories for a total of six days (0.4% of beach-days). A 2014 report by the Natural Resources Defense Council ranked New Hampshire beaches as the second cleanest out of 30 states.47 During 2012-2016, NH and ME tidal beaches in the region continue to meet PREP’s goal of beach advisories affecting <1% of beach-days each summer.

Figure 12.1 Advisories at tidal beaches in the Piscataqua Region 2003-2016. Beach days are calculated based on days between Memorial Day and Labor Day each year.