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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DATE: May 27, 2011
CONTACT: Steve Couture, 603 271-8801

Update to Contoocook and North Branch Rivers Corridor Management Plan Completed

Concord, NH – The Contoocook and North Branch Rivers Local Advisory Committee (CNBRLAC) has announced the completion of an update to the Contoocook and North Branch Rivers Corridor Management Plan. The plan was prepared for the CNBRLAC by the Central New Hampshire Regional Planning Commission (CNHRPC) and the Southwest Region Planning Commission (SWRPC) in coordination with and funding from the Department of Environmental Services, Rivers Management and Protection Program (RMPP). The RMPP complements and reinforces state and federal water quality laws and establishes instream flows for designated rivers to enhance the outstanding characteristics for which rivers were nominated into the program.

“Maintaining current river management plans is critical for the health of New Hampshire’s designated rivers. The collaboration among and between the DES River’s Program, the local river advisory committees and affected communities is the key to the success of these efforts,” said DES Commissioner Tom Burack. In 1991, the Contoocook and North Branch Rivers were designated to be managed and protected for their outstanding natural and cultural resources in accordance with RSA 483 - The Rivers Management & Protection Act.

“The updated River Corridor Management Plan for the Contoocook and North Branch Rivers reflects the engagement of residents from fourteen New Hampshire communities who worked together to develop a clear set of goals, objectives, and strategies to protect the rivers’ resources. CNBRLAC is a truly grassroots committee with a unique regional perspective that considers issues affecting the river corridor as a whole. The input of committee members from Rindge to Concord helped to shape this plan and provide clear planning goals relevant to each community along the river. This is a great example of how regional natural resources planning can occur from the ground up in New Hampshire”, said Vanessa Goold, Regional Planner at CNHRPC.

The plan proposes management practices focused on protecting and conserving resources while balancing the development of land and water uses for recreation with other public needs within the river corridor and watershed. The seven priority management issues identified in the plan are water quality, stream channel integrity, invasive species, wildlife habitat, public access, sustainable development, and historical and cultural resources. Cooperative partnerships and public involvement will support all phases of plan implementation.

Michelle Hamm, Chair of the CNBRLAC, reflecting on the experiences of the last few years stated that the plan allows stakeholders to “be able to include language addressing our concerns with key river management issues such as maintaining stream flow and protecting riparian habitat.” The CNBRLAC is well underway in this summer's volunteer water quality monitoring program, and Hamm said that the members are “ready to move ahead with other projects to begin implementing our new plan.”

Local citizens are nominated by their local municipal officials and appointed by DES Commissioner to serve on a local river management advisory committee. For more information about the Rivers Management and Protection Program please contact Steve Couture, Rivers Coordinator at (603) 271-8801 or steven.couture@des.nh.gov or visit the RMPP homepage at http://www.des.nh.gov/Rivers/index.html.

The Contoocook and North Branch Rivers Corridor Management Plan is available at http://www.des.state.nh.us/organization/divisions/water/wmb/rivers/management_plans.htm.

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