Newfound Lake Level Investigation Decision

December 08, 2023

On May 1, 2018, NHDES received a petition pursuant to NH RSA 482:79 from more than 20 owners of property on Newfound Lake, an inland public water located in the New Hampshire towns of Alexandria, Bridgewater, Bristol and Hebron. The petition (often referred to as a Lake Level Investigation, or LLI) requested that NHDES investigate the lake level management policy and its potential connection to shorefront erosion at Newfound Lake and related concerns. Levels on Newfound Lake under average inflow conditions are regulated in large part through operations at the Newfound Lake Dam located on the Newfound River just downstream of the outlet of the lake. However, the lake’s watershed is large with significant portions of steep slopes, and, during significant rain events, inflows into the lake can exceed the non-flooding flow capacity of the Newfound River causing the lake level to rise quickly.

In response to this petition, on June 5, 2018, the Dam Bureau at NHDES opened a preliminary investigation of conditions affecting the use and enjoyment of Newfound Lake. As a result of this preliminary investigation, NHDES decided to make further investigation into the management of Newfound Lake. A public hearing on the matter was held at the Bridgewater Town Hall on August 28, 2018. In addition, public meetings related to the petition were held at the Minot‐Sleeper Library in Bristol on February 26, 2019, and at the Bridgewater Town Hall on August 30, 2019.

NHDES received considerable testimony relative to this LLI and studied several issues raised. While the petition focused on the reduction of lake levels as a way to address shoreline erosion, environmental and other issues, several others submitting testimony highlighted the impacts of lowering lake levels to some existing dry hydrants that use the lake as a water source, fish habitat and spawning, the volume of flow entering the Newfound River and the use and enjoyment of the resource.  

NHDES operated the Newfound Lake Dam according to an Interim Operating Curve, and subsequently a Modified Interim Operating Curve, for levels in Newfound Lake for the 2019 and 2020 summer seasons to determine if operating the lake at lower and more consistent elevations is feasible while still meeting the needs of the majority of stakeholders. NHDES continued to receive testimony on this LLI while compiling a Decision.

NHDES issued a decision on the Newfound Lake Level Investigation on December 5, 2023. Interested parties can find information about the Decision and Appendices on this webpage.

Newfound LLI Decision
Newfound LLI Appendix A-M


For more information, contact:
Corey J. Clark, P.E.
(603) 271-1961