Strafford Regional Planning Commission offers services related to natural resources in the form of technical assistance, data collection, and outreach and education. As explained in the current Strafford Regional Master Plan as one of the Regional Policy Goals: Natural resources that are managed to ensure their sustainability and meet community needs. Natural resources include water, air, land, flora and fauna, and ecosystem biodiversity. Natural resources planning can refer to different planning process and programs related with protecting our regional and state resources. Listed below are some of the areas were Strafford Regional Planning Commission focuses their efforts on.
In 1988 the Rivers Management and Protection Act was established. This Act allowed for the establishment of the NH Rivers Management and Protection Program (RMPP) whose goal is to protect our state's significant river resources. Rivers that are protected through this program are referred to as designated rivers. They are selected based on their outstanding natural and cultural resources.
Once designated, local and state officials work to protect each river's values through the development and adoption of a River Corridor Management Plan. This plan protects shorelines and adjacent lands. In the Strafford Region the following rivers have been designated: the Cochecho River in 2009, the Isinglass River in 2002, the Lamprey River in 1990, the Lamprey Watershed in 2011, and the Oyster River in 2011.
Strafford Regional Planning Commission supports efforts to conserve the natural resource values of our coastal watershed lands. To ensure a healthy environment into the future, it is essential that communities identify, retain, and protect the remaining undeveloped lands and waters. These are lands and waters that support the most important of the natural resource values and functions, as established by private individuals, municipalities, and local, regional and national land trusts.
Strafford Regional Planning Commissions works with communities and nonprofits to identify lands and waters, and to develop and implement voluntary and regulatory land conservation strategies. Our priorities are to assist with the protection of land through acquisition and to assist with the regulation of the location, density and design of development in the area.
The Strafford Region is located in the Piscataqua region watershed. Rivers in the region drain into the Great Bay estuary and ultimately flow into the Atlantic Ocean. Estuaries, water bodies with at least one opening into the ocean, are prime habitats for a diverse range of plants and animal species. These coastal areas contain a mix of salt and fresh water, which combine to create a unique but fragile habitat for a wide array of wildlife. The Great Bay estuary is part of the National Estuary Program, recognized as an area in need of protection from manmade and natural pollutants because of its unique nature.
Pollutants can enter waters from a variety of pathways. These sources are generally categorized as either point sources or non-point sources. In an effort the protect our water resources from pollution, the New Hampshire Legislature established the Water Protection Assistance Program in 1986 to encourage comprehensive surface and groundwater resources planning and protection. Throughout the region, municipalities have undertaken various protection measures including: completing water resource inventories, identifying threats to water quality from pollutants, recognizing the need for public/private water supplies, and understanding demands from competing water uses, such as recreation, wildlife habitat, hydropower production and fire protection. Clean water is a top priority for the communities in the region as seen by their continuous commitment in proposing new ordinances or amendments to existing regulations intended to protect water resources.
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Environment, Recreation and Land Use [Adopted 1/2015] [PDF; 4,299 KB ]
Water Infrastructure [Adopted 1/2015] [PDF; 4,987 KB ]
Strafford Regional Planning Commission
150 Wakefield Street, Suite 12
Rochester, New Hampshire 03867
Tel: (603) 994-3500 Fax: (603)994-3504