IV. Summary and Recommendations
As it flows through the towns of Lee and Durham, the Lamprey River supports a variety of significant state and local resources. To better protect and manage these resources, the Department of Environmental Services recommends the following actions:
Recommendation 1: The General Court should adopt legislation which designates the Lamprey River in Lee and Durham into the Rivers Management and Protection Program and classifies the segment as a "Rural River."
Under the provisions of the protection measure amendments to RSA Ch. 483, a rural designation will provide increased protection for the river against water quality impairment, new dam construction, damaging channel alterations, and the siting of solid and hazardous waste facilities within the river corridor. A designation will also require the establishment of protected instream flow levels to maintain the minimum amount of water in the river that is necessary to safeguard public trust resources, including water quality, recreation, fisheries, and scenic values. A Local River Management Advisory Committee will be established to coordinate local issues related to the protection and management of the river and will provide local residents with a direct avenue for formal input to state decisions that affect the river. Finally, a designation will result in the development of a long-range management plan for the river that coordinates state planning and management of fisheries, water quality and quantity, and recreation.
A "Rural River" classification is recommended for this segment of the Lamprey River. Under the proposed amendments to RSA Ch. 483, rural rivers are defined as "those rivers or river segments adjacent to lands which are partially or predominantly used for agriculture, forest management, and dispersed or clustered residential development. Some instream structures may exist, including low dams...". The Lamprey River in the towns of Lee and Durham clearly meets this definition: the riverbanks are predominantly forested; land use within the corridor is a mix of forest, farms, and single family residences; and the dam at Wiswall Falls is an existing instream structure.
The designation of the Lamprey River as a "Rural River" under the Rivers Management and Protection Program will clearly express the intent of the General Court with regard to the protection and management of the river and will focus attention on the river as a natural resource of both statewide and local significance. This attention will help to insure greater scrutiny of plans or proposals which have the potential to significantly after or destroy those river values and characteristics which quality the Lamprey River for designation.
Recommendation 2: The towns of Lee and Durham should continue to work toward the protection of the Lamprey River through the adoption of local river corridor management plans, including comprehensive shoreland protection ordinances.
While a state designation will improve the protection and management of the river itself, continuing local efforts will be needed to address the use and conservation of the river corridor. A growing recognition by local citizens of the Lamprey River's valuable contribution to the overall quality of life in their communities is evidenced by their desire to see it designated into the state program. Citizen appreciation and concern for the river should be reflected in the decisions and actions of local officials. Upon request, the Department of Environmental Services will provide technical assistance to the towns of Lee and Durham on the development of local river corridor management plans, including comprehensive shoreland protection ordinances.
In summary, the establishment of a clear policy and specific instream protection measures by the General Court, and a continuing commitment on the part of local governments and residents to protect and manage the river corridor through sound land use decisions will ensure that the outstanding resources of the Lamprey River will "endure as part of the river uses to be enjoyed by New Hampshire people."