CONTACT:
Cheri Patterson, N.H. Fish and Game, (603) 868-1095
Ted Diers, N.H. Coastal Program, (603) 431-9366
November 10, 2003

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

DURHAM, N.H. -- A public "scoping meeting" will be held on November 10, 2003, at 7:00 p.m. at the Greenland Town Hall, to talk about progress on the current Winnicut River restoration feasibility study. Another such meeting will be held on November 20 at 7 p.m. at the same location.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, with other state and federal agencies and a grant from the New Hampshire Coastal Program, hired Woodlot Alternatives, Inc., environmental and engineering consultants, to conduct a river restoration feasibility study for the Winnicut River in Greenland, N.H. The comprehensive study will evaluate options to restore native anadromous and resident fisheries movement, and will include an analysis of whether the removal of the Winnicut River Dam would result in overall benefits to fish movement, habitat and improve water quality in the Winnicut River system and Great Bay estuary. The first scoping meeting was held in August, before the study began.

Meeting attendees will learn about what has been evaluated to this point in the study, and have an opportunity to ask questions and express concerns. This scoping meeting is being held in the middle of the study process; only completed information will be presented to the public. All agencies involved, including the N.H. Department of Environmental Services and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, are committed to addressing public comments throughout the feasibility study.

The Winnicut River Dam site has had some type of dam on it almost continuously 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 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. That's why we're conducting a feasibility study," said Cheri Patterson, Marine Biologist at Fish and Game. "This study will allow us to determine both the positive and negative impacts of restoring the Winnicut to a free flowing river." All of the project partners are dedicated to the overall health and sustainability of the Winnicut River system and the Great Bay estuary.

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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