Cocheco River Nomination
Another addition for the New Hampshire Rivers Management and Protection Program
From the Fall 2007 through June 2008, the Strafford Regional Planning Commission (SRPC) worked cooperatively with the Cocheco River Watershed Coalition to develop the Cocheco River Nomination for designation as a New Hampshire protected river. The Nomination was submitted on May 30, 2008 to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, Rivers Management and Protection Program. The project was funded by grants from the NH Coastal Program and the NH Charitable Fund.
The Cocheco River is a unique and important resource for our region that should be designated to ensure protection of the river's natural resources, water quality, and wildlife habitats. In addition, the river provides many other services including its scenic beauty, historic character, and recreational uses. The river is a valuable community resource that benefits not only the communities through which it flows, but also citizens within its watershed and the region. Designation of the river will help bring citizens and communities together to develop an integrated strategy to manage and protect the river.
Several communities in the Cocheco River watershed have already adopted strong support of the river's ecological functions and services in their Master Plans as well as in ordinances and regulations that require river setbacks and buffers, limited uses and development disturbance near the river, and water quality standards.
It is SRPC's hope that the Department of Environmental Services and the NH Legislature approve the Cocheco River's nomination for designation to ensure that future generations of New Hampshire citizens will continue to use and enjoy this resource.
Gov. John Lynch Signs House Bill 58 - Placing Segments of the Cocheco River under the NH Rivers Management and Protection Plan
On Wednesday afternoon dozens of supporters watched as NH Governor John Lynch officially made law a set of bills aimed at protecting the state's waterways.
One of those bills - House Bill 58 - placed segments of the Cocheco River under the NH Rivers Management and Protection Program. Run by the NH Department of Environmental Services, this program will allow the river to be monitored under a management plan aimed at protecting the river's "outstanding natural and cultural resources."
Much of the credit for House Bill 58 successfully being passed goes to the Cocheco River Watershed Coalition, who worked collaboratively with Strafford Regional Planning Commission to develop the Cocheco River Nomination for designation as a New Hampshire protected river. Tom Fargo, Chairman of the Cocheco River Watershed Coalition spoke at the ceremony and thanked many of those involved saying, "I'd like to recognize the staff of Strafford Regional Planning Commission, the NHDES Watershed Management Bureau and all the volunteers and municipal officials in the watershed communities who helped us realize this goal."
To read the John Nolan article in Fosters please follow the link http://fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090716/GJNEWS04/707169882
The Nomination Process
SRPC will continue to support the efforts of the Cocheco River Watershed Coalition as the Nomination makes its way through the review process:
- Consideration by the NH Rivers Management Advisory Council in September, and if recommended
- Consideration by the NHDES Commissioner, and if recommended for Designation
- Consideration by the General Court, which will then hold legislative hearings on the Nomination and make the final decision on the proposal for Designation
The complete Nomination and associated documents can be viewed and downloaded from the NHDES web site at http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wmb/rivers/nominations.htm. Use the link on the bottom right side of the page.
About the Cocheco River Watershed Coalition (CRWC)
The Cocheco River Watershed Coalition (CRWC) - a non-profit advocacy group - was founded in 1998 to maintain a healthy watershed by identifying and protecting important natural resources, by forming a water quality monitoring network, and by educating and engaging citizens in these efforts. The Coalition has completed several comprehensive studies of the watershed including: Cocheco River Watershed Environmental Quality Report (February 2005) and the Watershed Restoration and Implementation Plan for the Cocheco River (June 2006).
Cocheco River Watershed Environmental Quality Report
Watershed Restoration and Implementation Plan for the Cocheco River
The Watershed Restoration and Implementation Plan for the Cocheco River recommends a working partnership of communities in the watershed to achieve the following primary goals:
- Improve public perception and understanding about the value of the river and increase stewardship for and responsibility to the river
- Restore water quality for greater recreational opportunities (swimming, boating, fishing), particularly upstream waters that discharge to the tidal portion of the river and the Great Bay estuary
- Restore wildlife and habitat by improving the condition of riparian areas, channel stability, and instream conditions
- Protect infrastructure and water quality by supporting low impact development, reduction in impervious surface cover, and reduction in sediment and other pollutants in runoff
Lorie Chase - Chairman
268 County Farm Road
Dover, New Hampshire 03820
Phone: (603) 516-8113
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