New Hampshire Rivers Management and Protection Program

Souhegan River Nomination



Explanation: The level of community and other public support which is demonstrated for a river nomination will be an important factor in determining whether that river will be recommended for legislative designation. Such support may be shown by the adoption of a town resolution, a letter from selectmen, master plan excerpts, or documented support from other groups, either public or private (if private, explain the group's purpose and who is represented).

Instructions: Describe the type of community and other public support which exists for the river nomination and attach appropriate documentation. Include copies of any letters of support from local elected and appointed officials.

The nomination of the Souhegan River to become part of the NH Rivers Management and Protection Program is supported by the Souhegan Watershed Association, local governments, boards and commissions, and regional, state and federal agencies and organizations, as demonstrated by the attached letters of support. Prior to submission of the nomination, the SWA held three public meetings to discuss the nomination in Merrimack, Milford and New Ipswich. Despite notice/coverage by the local press there was light attendance at the meetings. Given the demands of people's time, light attendance is often indicative of lack of opposition to a proposed action.

In addition, each of the Town Master Plans recognizes the importance of the Souhegan River to the community, historically and in the future. All of the communities are beginning to refocus on the River as a key element to the local and regional quality of life. Amherst is pursuing conservation and recreation lands in the corridor and has recently developed a new public access near Route 122. Merrimack is making the Souhegan a key component in its movement to create a Town center. Milford continues to focus on the River as a recreational resource for downtown residents through trail construction, as part of its Main Street program and for future acquisition of recreation and conservation land. Wilton's participation in the Main Street Program has increased awareness of the River to the downtown and efforts are underway to increase access, both visual and physical, to the River. Land along the Souhegan and its tributaries has recently been donated to the New Ipswich Conservation Commission and residents have been working to improve the scenic quality of the corridor through the demolition of some structures. In addition, the communities have also been working collaboratively on the development of a continuous trail along the River that would highlight significant natural, historic and cultural corridor resources and features. The SWA also brings people directly to the River through a series of canoe trips offered primarily during the spring when the water is high.

All of the communities also actively participated in the development of the Souhegan River Watershed Study. Representatives from each community participated on the advisory committee while others provided additional review to the document. The Study was well received by all of the local boards when presented to each community individually and many are actively working to implement the Study recommendations.