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.
Over the years, Strafford Regional Planning Commission has offered technical assistance and planning related to the designation of the following rivers, and for the maintenance and planning for the future protection of the natural resources for which they were desigated.
In the Strafford Region the following rivers have been designated: the Cocheco River in 2009, the Isinglass River in 2002, a section of the Lamprey River in 1990, the entire mainstem of the Lamprey River (including the tidal portion) and all associated tributaries in the watershed in 2011, and the Oyster River in 2011.
From the Fall 2009 through June 2010, the Strafford Regional Planning Commission (SRPC) worked cooperatively with the Oyster River Watershed Association to develop the Oyster River Nomination for designation as a New Hampshire protected river. The Nomination was submitted on May 27, 2010 to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, Rivers Management and Protection Program. The project was funded by grants from the Section 604(b) of the Clean Water Act from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.
The Oyster River is part of the Great Bay Estuary watershed in coastal New Hampshire. The entire Oyster River watershed is located within New Hampshire. The Oyster River originates in the town of Barrington, and flows through the towns of Lee, Madbury and Durham before becoming tidal.
In June 2002, the Isinglass River became one of 15 rivers designated by the Governor and Legislature of the State of New Hampshire as deserving of extra protection under the state's Rivers Management and Protection Program (RMPP). As part of its designation as a protected river, the Isinglass River was divided into three segments based on the land use and environmental characteristics of the river and river corridor; a Natural segment and two Rural segments.
The Lamprey, North Branch, North, Little, Pawtuckaway, and Piscassic are all part of the Lamprey River watershed, the largest tributary to Great Bay Estuary in coastal New Hampshire.
In 1990, a 12 mile section of the Lamprey River in the Towns of Lee and Durham was designated into the Rivers Management and Protection Program (RMPP). In 2011, the remaining portions of the Lamprey River was designated along with all the tributaries in the watershed. The nomination of these six rivers for designation totals 87.7 miles, including the sections of the Lamprey River from its headwaters in Northwood to the Epping/Lee town line and from the Durham/Newmarket town line to where the rivers meets Great Bay (37.6 miles).
Portions of the Lamprey River also hold a federal designation of Wild and Scenic. From the Bunker Pond Dam to the confluence with the Piscassic River, the Lamprey River's shoreline, natural floodplain, and wetlands provide a range of wildlife habitats. Currently, the Lamprey has the largest quantity of anadromous fish in the Great Bay watershed,and it hosts substantial numbers of freshwater mussel species. The river's resources include archaeological sites of prehistoric and nineteenth century culture, which are representative of the early settlement of New Hampshire's seacoast region. It is managed through a local-state-federal partnership, the Lamprey River Advisory Committee.
The Cocheco River is a unique and important resource for our region that should be designated to ensure protection of the river's natural resources, water quality, and wildlife habitats. In addition, the river provides many other services including its scenic beauty, historic character, and recreational uses.
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Download: 2014 Oyster River Corridor Management Plan [PDF; 4.93 MB ]
Download: 2014 Oyster River Corridor Management Plan Appendices [ ]
Strafford Regional Planning Commission
150 Wakefield Street, Suite 12
Rochester, New Hampshire 03867
Tel: (603) 994-3500 Fax: (603)994-3504