2020 EPA Merit Award Announcement

Greetings to Rivers Members and Friends –

Way back in February, the Rivers Council Board of Directors submitted Michele Tremblay’s nomination to the EPA for consideration for the 2020 New England (Region 1) Individual Merit Award.  These awards are extremely competitive and sought-after in the environmental community of New England and to earn one as a volunteer leader of a nonprofit is HUGE!  Our nomination of Michele was for her outstanding work in the restoration efforts for McQuesten Brook in Manchester.  We finally received word that Michele was one of 7 recipients in New England in the Individual Award category and the only (ONLY!!!) unpaid professional in her capacity as the President of the New Hampshire Rivers Council.

In making the announcement, Dennis Deziel Regional Administrator of EPA Region 1 stated: “On behalf of EPA Region 1, it is my pleasure to announce the 2020 Environmental Merit Award Winners and congratulate them on their environmental protection accomplishments benefitting communities and ecosystems across New England.  Through each of their accomplishments, measurable and impactful change has been the direct result of the honorees’ dedication, commitment to partnerships, and passion for success.  (That passion) has brought change that can be measured; change that has impacts on the lives of New Englanders and the environment.”

EPA selected Michele for her leadership and long-term conservation and ongoing stewardship efforts to protect McQuesten Brook in Manchester.  In the span of seven years, Michele orchestrated development of the McQuesten Brook watershed restoration plan, elimination of four dam and other flow obstructions, a stream daylighting project, a stream crossing upgrade, confirmation monitoring sufficient for a pair of de-listings from the 303(d) list of impaired waters, and justification for two NPS Success Stories. Many environmental professionals strive for decades to achieve at least one of these environmental legacies. Michele successfully led these efforts as the unpaid, President of the New Hampshire Rivers Council.

These awards are extremely competitive and sought-after in the environmental community of New England and to earn one as a volunteer leader of a nonprofit is HUGE!  Please view the video segment (at the 19:50 time) produced by EPA, and check out the awards program document with the full write-up for Michele at the links below.

Although the award was for the ongoing McQuesten project, the award is more accurately a recognition for her professional and personal environmental works on behalf of New Hampshire’s rivers and watersheds.  Michele has modestly and rightly stated that this award belongs to the Rivers Council membership for our commitment on this project and our collective efforts to protect NH’s river resources.  However, this is a recognition of her unrelenting selfless commitment, vision, energy, expertise, and leadership in our Mission: “The New Hampshire Rivers Council is committed to the conservation and ecologically sound management of New Hampshire’s rivers, watersheds, and related natural resources.”


Text of the NH Rivers Council Board Nomination:  Michele Tremblay; Manchester, New Hampshire

“If you want the impossible done in the environmental realm, ask Michele Tremblay, the unpaid president of the New Hampshire Rivers Council. At McQuesten Brook in Manchester, an 8‐year old girl approached Michele while holding a dead, native Eastern Brook Trout. Six more healthy brook trout were found buried nearby in debris and sediment. This incited Michele to undertake the full restoration of the watershed and save a population of once‐thriving native fish. Michele embarked on a mission to unite resources from Manchester and Bedford, state agencies, nonprofit organizations, volunteers, and contractors to save a population of trout embedded in one of the state’s most urbanized areas. In 2011, with no established watershed organization, a six‐inch deep pond known for its collection of shopping carts, tires, and muck, Michele led a crusade to restore McQuesten Brook and its watershed. She brought together EPA grants, state and municipal funds, and in‐kind services with countless volunteer hours to carry out this project, which involved, among other things, removing four dams, eliminating a stream crossing and upgrading a second crossing. As a result of Michele’s leadership, McQuesten Brook flows freely after years of neglect. Her efforts have allowed the restored McQuesten Brook and the native population of brook trout to prosper for generations to come.”