Souhegan Watershed Association

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NH State Rivers Program
Souhegan River Nomination

State Protection for the
Souhegan River

The SWA spent several years working on including the Souhegan River in the NH Rivers Management & Protection Program (RMPP). This required documenting all natural resources along the river and documenting the interest and agreement of all the communities along the river. The nomination was submitted to the NH Legislature who approved it in June 2000. It is presently one of 21 protected rivers in the state.

As part of the program, the Souhegan receives special consideration for protection of water quantity and water quality from the state. It also has a permanent committee that meets monthly made up of representatives from each of the six corridor towns. This local advisory committee (SoRLAC: Souhegan River Local Advisory Committee) is responsible for making recommendations to the state and watershed communities for improvements and permits to the river. All state permits must be reviewed by this committee and their recommendations are generally followed. This allows representatives from upstream to talk with representatives from downstream with the goal of representing the river rather than just the individual community.

The Souhegan is a multiple-use river that has water withdrawals for business and drinking water, waste assimilation, swimming, fishing, canoeing. SoRLAC has to balance all of these uses to protect the river.

As part of the RMPP, SoRLAC wrote a Master Plan for the entire river. This has been presented to the watershed communities with the hope and expectation that it will result in changes to the towns’ master plans and planning regulations in order to further protect the river and its tributaries.

Also, the Souhegan, along with the Lamprey River, was selected by the state for a study of Instream Flow Rules which were part of the original legislation (RSA 483) for the RMPP which passed in 1989. This is the pilot program for eventually protecting the amount of water withdrawals in all of NH’s rivers. It was adopted in 2013. A huge amount of data about the river is available here.

Web pages by Richard Hart.
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