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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Media Center

DATE: July 12, 2011
CONTACT: Jacquie Colburn, (603) 271-2959;

Oyster River, Lower Exeter and Squamscott Rivers, and Undesignated Portions of the Lamprey River Incorporated into the New Hampshire Rivers Management and Protection Program

Concord, N.H. – Eight rivers in New Hampshire’s coastal watershed have recently been designated under the New Hampshire Rivers Management and Protection Program by the New Hampshire State Legislature. The RMPP, administered by DES, gives citizens the opportunity to demonstrate to the state why their rivers are important to their communities. Once designated, a river is protected and managed for water quality and flow by a local river advisory committee.

The Oyster River, Lower Exeter and Squamscott Rivers, and the currently undesignated sections of the Lamprey River with its major tributaries (the North Branch, North, Little, Pawtuckaway and Piscassic Rivers) were accepted for designation. In addition, the Mascoma River, which is a major tributary to the Connecticut River, was also designated under the Rivers Program this year, bringing the total to 18 rivers since the RMPP was legislatively established in 1988 (RSA 483). Incorporation into the RMPP represents the tremendous effort of citizens coming together to complete a nomination process documenting the natural, historical and recreational resources on each river up for consideration.

The Oyster River designation will provide a more formal means for riverfront towns to communicate with each other and with the state on how to protect the river in the rapidly developing Seacoast region. The Lower Exeter and Squamscott Rivers helps complete the goal of designating the whole Exeter River, portions of which were designated in 1995, from its source to where the tidal portion meets Great Bay Estuary. Including all of the portions of the Lamprey River and its major tributaries will allow for all fourteen towns in the Lamprey River Watershed, or area of land that drains to the Lamprey, to participate in protecting the area’s water resources.

The next step is the formation of local river advisory committees (LAC) for each newly designated river. The LACs will be responsible for developing a management plan and commenting on activities affecting the river that require state or federal permits. They are comprised of citizens from each riverfront community who are nominated by their municipalities and appointed by the DES Commissioner. Because the river management plan is locally developed, adopted and implemented, it reflects the specific needs, interests and concerns of local citizens.

For more information please contact Jacquie Colburn, Rivers Coordinator, at (603) 271-2959; Visit the RMPP website at

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NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
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