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For Immediate Release
December 9, 2021


Lori Sommer
(603) 271-4059

NHDES Awards Wetlands Protection and Stream Restoration Grants

$1,866,306 Provided to Seven Projects

Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Aquatic Resource Mitigation (ARM) Fund Program has awarded grants for seven projects in the Salmon Falls-Piscataqua River Service Area totaling $1,866,306.

The NHDES ARM Fund, established within Federal and State law, is a mitigation option for projects impacting wetlands and streams that cannot avoid or minimize impacts and are not able to provide other suitable forms of mitigation. An ARM Fund Site Selection Committee is charged with identifying proposals to be funded by selecting high priority projects that most effectively compensate for the loss of functions and values from the projects that paid into the Fund. According to the law, the projects determined to be appropriate for receipt of ARM Fund monies are subject to approval by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the New Hampshire Wetlands Council.

Project Name
ARM Award Amount Project Summary

Champlin Forest Addition
The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests


The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire forests will use ARM funds to permanently protect a 122-acre parcel of land through a fee acquisition with conservation restriction to be held by the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP). This parcel extends the existing 185-acre William H. Champlin, Jr. Forest in Rochester, NH which will result in over 300 contiguous acres of forests and wetlands within a suburban area continually faced with development pressures. The property has high-value aquatic resources with 14 acres of forested and scrub-shrub wetland and 3,350 linear feet along an intermittent stream that feeds the perennial waters of Clark Brook, which lies in a wellhead area. The project will protect 108 acres of forested upland on Gonic Hill, one of the highest points in Rochester, and will provide a substantial buffer to help secure the water quality of these wetlands and Clark Brook.

Chelsey Brook Geomorphic Culvert Replacement
Town of Lee

This project will use ARM funds to replace a deficient culvert to enhance aquatic connectivity and fish passage of Chelsey Brook in Lee, NH. The current structure is a 7-foot-wide by 5-foot-tall metal pipe-arch, that is significantly undersized for the 11-foot stream width. The pipe impairs fish and wildlife passage, and inhibits natural water and sediment transport, resulting in a large scour pool and downstream erosion. The project site is located 1,000 feet upstream from the confluence to the Oyster River, a New Hampshire Designated River, and is the first crossing migratory fish encounter. Chelsey Brook receives cold-water inputs from the Spruce Hole Bog formation which provides cool base flows year-round that are critical to a local population of brook trout and the state-endangered American Brook Lamprey. Chelsey Brook is the only known watercourse in New Hampshire to host both of these fish species together. The Town of lee, with project partners, will replace the metal pipe with a 15-foot span and 5-foot rise box culvert embedded with natural sediment to simulate the natural stream channel. Replacing this stream crossing with a fully passable box culvert will create continuous connectivity for the first 1.8 miles of Chelsey Brook and provide water velocities, depths, and substrate transport consistent with the natural stream.

Jones Brook-Branch River Project
Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire

The Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire will use ARM funds to permanently protect +/-563 acres of the Jones Brook-Branch River catchment area through a conservation easement. This property has diverse aquatic resources which include +/-123 acres of wetlands dispersed across 18 wetland units, 19 vernal pools, and 4.7 miles of streams. Most of the property (97%) is ranked high quality habitat by the New Hampshire Fish & Game 2020 Wildlife Action Plan and a total of 51 wildlife species of New Hampshire Special Concern are documented on this property. This area has been identified in the Land Conservation Priorities of Coastal Resource (2021) as having the greatest pollutant attenuation due to high functioning buffers and the entire property is within the Somersworth Water Works Source Water Protection Area.

North Mill Pond
City of Portsmouth

ARM funds will be used by the City of Portsmouth to restore a degraded tidal shoreline to improve water quality, wildlife habitat connectivity, and support marsh migration within North Mill Pond. In addition, a deed restriction will be placed on the parcel to restrict further commercial, residential and industrial development of the property. The site is significantly impacted by former development and is currently an abandoned industrial area overgrown with invasive plants and a highly eroded shoreline. The project will result in +/-0.46 acres of wetlands enhancements and +/-0.27 acres of wetland creation that will consist of rocky intertidal tide pool habitat, low marsh and high marsh areas. To address issues from the surrounding developed land, storm water will be captured by a combination of treatment devices, and material for an adjacent community park and walkway will use previous surfaces.

Oyster River Restoration Topaz Drive Culvert Replacement
The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy will use ARM funds to fully restore aquatic fish and wildlife passage and geomorphic compatibility at a degraded stream crossing on the Oyster River in Barrington. The current culvert is a 9.5-foot wide by 7-foot tall metal elliptical-shaped pipe that is perched by over one foot and is a complete barrier for all aquatic organisms. This project is a long-standing priority to address aquatic connectivity in the Salmon Falls-Piscataqua watershed to restore aquatic connectivity for several Species of Greatest Conservation Need in New Hampshire that occur in the vicinity including American Brook Lamprey, American Eel, Brook Trout, Blanding’s turtle and spotted turtle. The proposed stream crossing is a 30-foot wide, open-bottom steel bridge that will result in 5.2 miles of fully reconnected upstream habitat on the Oyster River.

Pike-Lamprey River
Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire

ARM funds will be used by the Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire to permanently conserve +/-37.4 acres along the Lamprey River in Durham through fee ownership subject to a conservation easement. The property includes a diverse landscape including horse pasture, forest, intermittent, streams, wetlands, and numerous vernal pools. The aquatic resources that would be protected include +/-5.6 acres of wetlands across 11 wetland units, 4 vernal pools, +/-1,230 feet of frontage along the Lamprey River, and 1,150 feet of intermittent stream tributaries. All of the wetlands and streams on the property flow to the federally designated Wild & Scenic Lamprey River which is also a NHDES Designated River. The Pike-Lamprey River project has significant wildlife benefits and 91% of the property is high-ranked habitat.

Sam Plummer Road Stream Crossing Restoration
Strafford County Conservation District

The Strafford County Conservation District will use ARM funds to replace an undersized and deteriorating metal pipe culvert which conveys a perennial tributary to Lyman Brook in Milton, NH. The existing structure is hydraulically undersized and vulnerable to flooding with hydraulic models predicting overtopping at just the 2-year storm event, and is a barrier to fish and wildlife passage. This project will replace the structure with an open-bottom span that can pass the 100-year peak flows, and allow for sediments and mobile wood to pass through the crossing, and will be fully passable by all aquatic organisms. Replacing this barrier will regain headwater access to approximately 1.2 miles of excellent instream cold water habitat and benefit multiple aquatic species.

For more information on the NHDES Aquatic Resource Mitigation Program, visit the new ARM Fund website or contact NHDES Mitigation Coordinator, Lori Sommer, at or (603) 271-4059.