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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DATE: June 6, 2011
CONTACT: Steve Couture, 603 271-8801

Mascoma River Designated for Protection

Concord, NH – The Mascoma River has become the sixteenth protected river in the New Hampshire Rivers Management and Protection Program (RMPP). The RMPP is administered by the Department of Environmental Services.

After two years of outreach and public input, in June 2010, the Mascoma River Nominating Committee, with support and technical assistance from the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission, nominated a 25 mile segment of the Mascoma River for designation. During the nominating effort, DES received eighteen letters of public support. Eight of these endorsements were from local officials in the towns that border the Mascoma River. The Rivers Management Advisory Committee (RMAC) and DES reviewed and approved the nomination and in November of 2010, DES forwarded the nomination to the legislature in a Report to the General Court. House Bill 336, nominating segments of the Mascoma River into the RMPP was signed by the Governor and went into effect on May 9, 2011.

The Mascoma River, a tributary of the Connecticut River in western New Hampshire, is in southern Grafton County and runs southwestward, through the towns of Dorchester, Canaan, Enfield and Lebanon. The Mascoma River designation begins at the confluence of the Mascoma River with the Canaan Street Lake tributary in Canaan Center and ends at the confluence of the Mascoma River with the Connecticut River in West Lebanon.

"During the winter of 2008, a citizens' group from throughout the Mascoma River watershed first met to consider how best to protect this important natural resource. For the City of Lebanon, the Mascoma River is critically important because it is the source of the municipal water supply for the largest community in the Upper Valley. Nearly unanimous support for the river's nomination developed among local public officials, citizens and landowners and we are very pleased that the New Hampshire Legislature and Governor enacted this important legislation.” stated Shawn Donovan, Chair, Mascoma River Nominating Committee.

The Rivers Management and Protection Act of 1988 (RSA 483) established the RMPP based on a two-tier approach to river management and protection. On one tier the state would legislate designation of significant rivers and protection of instream values, and on the other tier local advisory committees would coordinate development and adoption of river corridor management plans to protect shorelines and adjacent lands. RSA 483 also established the RMAC, whose members represent a wide range of river interests and work closely with DES in an advisory capacity.

“Designation of the Mascoma River acknowledges its important local and statewide natural, managed, cultural, recreational and other resources in N.H.’s Upper Valley region,” said Tom Burack, Commissioner of DES. “This designation formalizes a local and state partnership for the management of this outstanding resource.”

For more information about the New Hampshire River Management and Protection Program, you may contact Steve Couture, Rivers Coordinator at (603) 271-8801. More information on the Mascoma River nomination can be found at http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wmb/rivers/nominations.htm.

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