The Contoocook River flows for 71 miles from Poole Pond in Rindge, New Hampshire, north to Concord, New Hampshire, where it flows into the Merrimack River. The North Branch River flows for 16 miles from Stoddard to Hillsborough where it joins the Contoocook River. The Contoocook and North Branch Rivers have been nominated by the Contoocook River Greenway Coordinating Committee for designation into the New Hampshire Rivers Management and Protection Program. The Contoocook and North Branch Rivers have been evaluated by the Department of Environmental Services and found to qualify for designation.
The Rivers Management and Protection Program Act (RSA Ch. 483) was passed by the General Court in 1988 and amended in 1990. The Act states in part: "it is the policy of the state to ensure the continued viability of New Hampshire rivers for the benefit of present and future generations. The state shall encourage and assist in the development of river corridor management plans and regulate the quantity and quality of in-stream flow along certain protected rivers or segments of rivers to conserve and protect outstanding characteristics including recreational, fisheries, wildlife, environmental, cultural, historical, archaeological, scientific, ecological, aesthetic, and community significance so that these valued characteristics shall endure as part of the river uses to be enjoyed by New Hampshire people."
The Act directs the Department of Environmental Services to receive and evaluate nominations for the designation of rivers or river segments to protect outstanding values and characteristics under the Rivers Management and Protection Program. The Rivers Management Advisory Committee and the Rivers Coordinator make recommendations to the Commissioner who in turn forwards a recommendation to the General Court for review and approval.
In fulfillment of this statutory directives the nomination of the Contoocook and North Branch Rivers is hereby forwarded to the General Court. The Department of Environmental Services recommends that these rivers be designated into the Rivers Management and Protection Program and classified as stated in the Summary and Recommendations section of this report under the provisions of the protection measures in RSA Ch. 483. The outstanding statewide and local resource values and characteristics which qualify these rivers for designation are described in this report.