Through a partnership with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services’ (DES) "NH River Restoration Task Force," and the NH Fish & Game Department, NHCP will help identify river restoration projects. Projects may include dam removal, fish passage installation, and stream bed restoration. River herring, shad, Atlantic salmon, and American eel are species that would benefit from such projects.
Dams can have many ecological impacts on rivers. They can block fish and other aquatic species from moving throughout a river system to access spawning sites and other critical habitats. Dams can hold back and cause the build-up of sediment, woody debris and other materials that would have naturally been distributed throughout the river, playing important roles in providing nutrients and habitat for plants and animals downstream. Dams can increase water temperatures and decrease dissolved oxygen availability in impoundments, forcing many native river species out because they can’t live under those conditions. Dams can also flood wetlands, floodplain forests and other ecosystems that naturally occur along the river’s edge and serve valuable purposes.
The DES Dam Bureau is already performing a feasibility study on the removal of Wiswall Dam and restoration of anadromous fish to the Lamprey River. They are also looking at the Winnicut Dam in Greenland and the Head of Tide Dam on the Bellamy River. Both of these projects will expand anadromous fish habitat. The Head of Tide Dam is a very low blockage which fish occasional pass under high flows. The Winnicut Dam is especially promising because it would open an entire watershed to anadromous fish, and it was an historically good spawning area.
Fish Ladder and Dam Locations
- Cocheco River - Dover
- Exeter River - Exeter (Pick-pocket dam and 2nd dam)
- Lamprey River - Newmarket
- Oyster River - Durham
- Salmon Falls - Somersworth/Rollinsford (multiple dams)
- Exeter River - Exeter (New trap and increased flow attraction).
- Oyster River - Durham (Pools added to river in the marsh and alterations to weir).
- Continuing: Transfer of river herring from place to place to augment stocks.
Projects in Planning
- Bellamy River Dam - Dover
- Salmon Falls River - Somersworth/Rollinsford (ladder on first dam)
- Winnicut River Dam
- Wiswall Dam - Lamprey River (new ladder)