NOTICE: On June 6, 2012, the Suncook River Nomination Committee decided not to submit a nomination of the river for designation under the NH Rivers Management and Protection Program. The Nomination Committee also voted to disband due to a lack of community support.This website will continue to provide information on ongoing efforts relating to the Suncook River, including studies, maps, resources, and public events.
The State of New Hampshire established the Rivers Management and Protection Program (RMPP) in 1988 under RSA 483. The RMPP provides a two-tiered approach to river management and protection: State designation of significant rivers and protection of instream characteristics, and local development and adoption of river corridor management plans to protect shorelines and adjacent lands. The RMPP is administered by the Department of Environmental Services
A river may be nominated for state designation by community members or organizations. Sponsors must submit a nomination document that includes an inventory and assessment of the river’s values, characteristics, and significant resources. The nomination document must also recommend the classification level(s) desired with designation. RSA 483 recognizes four different river classifications: Natural, Rural, Rural-Community, and Community. The nomination must also demonstrate public involvement and support. Nominations are submitted to DES for evaluation by the Commissioner and the state Rivers Management Advisory Committee. If approved, the nomination is forwarded to the state legislature. The legislature then considers a bill to designate the river formally under RSA 483.
Nominations are due to DES on June 1 in order to be considered in the next legislative session. A Suncook River Nomination Committee has been formed to sponsor the River’s nomination and oversee the process. Coordination will be provided by the Central New Hampshire Regional Planning Commission (CNHRPC) and the Lakes Region Planning Commission (LRPC).
Why is the Suncook River Being Nominated?
The Suncook River Community Planning Team, formed in 2010 with Town officials and emergency management personnel in the five lower Suncook communities, has been working together to promote regional hazard mitigation and resource planning along the Suncook River. This group identified a need for continued regional communication and cooperation on a variety of matters relating to the River.
The Suncook River is an extremely dynamic system possessing many resources vital to local communities. Historically and currently, the river has shaped patterns of settlement in the area. Several hydroelectric dams operate along the Suncook, and the Towns of Epsom, Pembroke, and Allenstown all depend upon aquifers adjacent to the river for public water supplies. The river is used recreationally by paddlers, anglers, hikers, and wildlife watchers. It also provides a habitat corridor for wildlife. In sum, the Suncook River represents an important regional resource whose water quality, quantity, and flow directly affect residents and users throughout the region. Designation would provide statewide recognition and opportunities for regional river management.
About This Website
Photo Above: The Suncook River in Pittsfield. Courtesy of Mark Wallace.