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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DATE: June 12, 2009
CONTACT: Laura Weit, 603 271-8811

Cocheco River Designated for Protection

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services announced today that the Cocheco River will become the sixteenth protected river in the New Hampshire Rivers Management and Protection Program (RMPP). The RMPP is administered by DES.

House Bill 58, nominating segments of the Cocheco River into the RMPP, was signed by the Governor on May 22, 2009. The act becomes effective on July 21, 2009.

“Designation of the Cocheco River acknowledges its important role in New Hampshire’s coastal watershed, and formalizes a local and state partnership for the management of the river’s outstanding cultural and recreational attributes,” said DES Commissioner Tom Burack.

In May 2008, the Cocheco River Watershed Coalition, with support and technical assistance from the Strafford Regional Planning Commission, nominated the 34.8-mile river segment for designation. The Cocheco River designation begins at its headwaters south of March’s Pond in New Durham and continues to the tidal limits at the Cocheco Falls Dam in Dover. Following a two-year long nomination process, the Rivers Management Advisory Committee (RMAC) and DES reviewed and approved the nomination. DES then sent the nomination to the legislature for consideration.

The Rivers Management and Protection Act of 1988 (RSA 483) established the RMPP based on a two-tier approach to river management and protection: state designation of significant rivers and protection of instream values, and local development and adoption of river corridor management plans to protect shorelines and adjacent lands. The outstanding characteristics for which a river can be designated include: recreational, fisheries, wildlife, environmental, cultural, historical, archaeological, scientific, ecological, aesthetic, community significance, agricultural, and public water supply. RSA 483 also established the RMAC, whose members represent a wide range of river interests and work closely with DES in its implementation of the statute.

For more information about the New Hampshire RMPP, please contact Acting Rivers Coordinator Laura Weit at (603) 271-8811. More information about the Cocheco River nomination can be found at http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wmb/rivers/nominations.htm

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