The Saco River begins at Saco Lake in the town of Carroll, New Hampshire, and flows south and east to the town of Conway before entering Maine and continuing on to the Atlantic Ocean. The mainstem of the Saco River has been nominated by the Saco River Advisory Council for designation into the New Hampshire Rivers Management and Protection Program. The Saco River has been evaluated by the Department of Environmental Services and found to quality for designation.
The Rivers Management and Protection Program Act was passed by the General Court in 1988. 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 Commissioner must forward approved nominations to the General Court for review and approval.
In fulfillment of this statutory directive, the nomination of the Saco River is hereby forwarded to the General Court. The Department of Environmental Services recommends that the Saco River be designated into the Rivers Management and Protection Program and classified a "Natural River" from the base of the dam at Saco Lake to the Harts Location-Bartlett town line, and a "Rural River" from the Harts Location-Bartlett town line to the Maine border under the provisions of the protection measure amendments to RSA Ch. 483. The outstanding statewide and local resource values and characteristics which qualify the Saco River for designation are described in this report.