Cheri Patterson, N.H. Fish and Game, (603) 868-1095
Ted Diers, N.H. Coastal Program, (603) 431-9366
August 7, 2003

Public Scoping Meeting to be Held on Winnicut River Restoration Feasibility Study

DURHAM, N.H. -- A public "scoping meeting" will be held on August 11, 2003, at 7:00 p.m. at Greenland Town Hall, to talk about a river restoration feasibility study for the Winnicut River in Greenland, N.H.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, with a grant from the New Hampshire Coastal Program, has hired Woodlot Alternatives, Inc., environmental and engineering consultants, to conduct a river restoration feasibility study for the river. The comprehensive study will evaluate options to restore the movement of native anadromous and resident fisheries, and will include an analysis of whether the removal of the Winnicut River Dam would result in overall benefits to fish movement and habitat, in addition to improved water quality in the Winnicut River system and Great Bay estuary.

The scoping meeting is being held at the beginning of the study process; therefore, little data will be presented. The public is invited to attend the meeting, to learn about what will be evaluated in the study, ask questions and express concerns. All agencies involved, including the N.H. Department of Environmental Services and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, are committed to addressing public comments as part of the feasibility study.

A dam has usually been located at the approximate site of the current Winnicut River Dam since 1670. The current dam was built in the 1950s and is owned by N.H. Fish and Game. The intent of the feasibility study is to gather sufficient information to make an informed decision about the future of the dam. The study will take into consideration not only on ecological issues surrounding the possibility of restoring the river, but also economic, historical, social, engineering and other issues. "We don't have any preconceptions about the project," says Cheri Patterson, Marine Biologist at Fish and Game. "That's why we are conducting a feasibility study."

All of the agencies involved are dedicated to the overall sustainability of the Winnicut River and Great Bay estuary to which it flows. Patterson explains that water quality and fish passage are the main reasons for looking into the possibility of dam removal: "The findings from this feasibility study will enable us to determine both the positive and negative impacts of restoring the Winnicut to a free-flowing river."

As the guardian of the state's fish, wildlife and marine resources, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department works in partnership with the public to conserve, manage and protect these resources and their habitats.

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