CONTACT:
Cheri Patterson, N.H. Fish and Game Dept., (603) 868-1095
Ted Diers, N.H. Coastal Program, (603) 431-9366
March 24, 2004

Winnicut River Restoration Feasibility Study to Be Presented

DURHAM, N.H. -- The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and the New Hampshire Coastal Program will hold a public presentation on Monday, April 12, at 7:00 p.m. at the Greenland Town Hall to summarize the findings of the Final Draft Feasibility Study regarding the analysis of restoration options for the Winnicut River in Greenland, N.H., and to provide a forum for questions and public comments.

Fish and Game, along with other state and federal agencies and a grant from the New Hampshire Coastal Program (NHCP), hired Woodlot Alternatives, Inc., environmental and engineering consultants, to conduct a river restoration feasibility study for the Winnicut River. The comprehensive study evaluated options to restore native anadromous and resident fisheries movement and included an analysis of whether the removal of the Winnicut River Dam would result in overall benefits to fish movement and habitat and improve water quality in the Winnicut River system and Great Bay estuary.

The public is invited to attend the April 12 presentation to learn what was evaluated in the study. This meeting will summarize the completed study and provide an opportunity for public comment on the Final Draft Feasibility Study. All agencies involved, including the N.H. Department of Environmental Services (DES) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, are committed to addressing public concerns to the extent possible in the feasibility study.

The complete study document is available for public review at the following locations:

  • Greenland Town Hall, 575 Portsmouth Avenue, Greenland
  • Weeks Public Library, 36 Post Road, Greenland
  • N.H. Fish and Game Region 3 Office, 225 Main Street, Durham
  • N.H. DES Dam Bureau Concord Office, 29 Hazen Drive, Concord.

Click here to read the complete document.

Written comments on the document should be submitted by Friday, May 14, 2004 to: Ted Diers, N.H. Coastal Program, 152 Court Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801.

All of the agencies involved in the study are dedicated to the overall sustainability of the Winnicut River and Great Bay estuary into which it flows. Cheri Patterson, a Marine Biologist at N.H. Fish and Game, explains that water quality and fish passage are the main reasons for looking into dam removal: "This feasibility study will allow us to determine both the positive and negative impacts of restoring the Winnicut to a free flowing river."

Various dams have existed at this approximate location on the Winnicut River since 1670. The current dam was built in the 1950s and is owned by N.H. Fish and Game. The intent of the study was to gather sufficient information to make an informed decision about the future of the dam -- not only focused on the ecological issues, but also economic, historical, social, engineering and other issues.

N.H. Fish and Game will conduct a thorough review of the public comment received on the Draft Feasibility Study. A timeline for decision on the selected project alternative will be determined in the coming months. Future public information meetings will be held at that time.

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