Upper Valley Region
Updated Water Resources Chapter

1997 Connecticut River Corridor Management Plan

The recommendations offered below were reached on a consensus basis in 1992-1997 by the diverse membership of the Upper Valley Subcommittee.

RECOMMENDATIONS


FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

U.S. Congress should:

  • enforce existing regulations that protect water quality
  • take no actions to dilute the Clean Water Act
  • increase funding or research on endangered and threatened species
  • support increased funding for the Natural Heritage Inventory programs
  • take appropriate measures to relieve the cumulative negative impact of taxes on the farming industry
  • support better communication among groups/organizations/agencies concerned with the Connecticut River

Environmental Protection Agency should:

  • support continued research into methods of bank stabilization
  • provide financial assistance to municipalities to separate existing combined sewer overflows
  • enforce existing regulations that protect water quality and avoid dilution of the Clean Water Act
  • support study of the effects of water level fluctuations

US Army Corps of Engineers should:

  • conduct a study of the effects of water level fluctuations on bank erosion as well as fish habitat and populations of endangered species. The study should be conducted on site, at multiple locations, and result in action recommendations.
  • communicate with New England Power and its successors and independent engineers to ascertain what steps would be taken at Wilder Dam to reduce its effects on the banks of the river

Federal Emergency Management Agency should:

  • take steps to protect wetland ecosystems along the river

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service should:

  • provide professional and financial assistance to riparian landowners to clean up nonpoint pollution sites and stabilize eroding banks
  • continue research into methods of bank stabilization including demonstration projects
  • educate riparian landowners concerning methods of stabilization, and conduct targeted workshops in towns along the river

USDA Cooperative Extension Service should:

  • develop diversified marketable agricultural products from the area
  • support continued research, enforcement of rules and regulations, and public education concerning the spreading of municipal wastewater solids

US Fish & Wildlife Service should:

  • cooperate in a study of the effects of water level fluctuations on bank erosion as well as fish habitat and populations of endangered species
  • identify the fish species, population sizes, and their health/condition in the Upper Valley segment
  • increase funding for research on endangered and threatened species
  • icnrease funding and develop innovative methods to enable landowners to protect and provide habitat
  • enforce existing regulations which protect endangered and threatened species, while showing sensitivity to possible effects for landowners
  • support increased funding for the state Natural Heritage Inventory programs
  • ensure that activities of the US Fish & Wildlife Service in the Silvio Conte Fish & Wildlife Refuge do not infringe on property owners' rights and include procedures for incorporation of local recommendations and review in their decision-making process

STATE GOVERNMENT

New Hampshire and Vermont Legislatures should:

  • take no actions that would dilute the Clean Water Act
  • arrange for professional and financial assistance to riparian landowners to reduce nonpoint pollution
  • arrange for financial assistance to separate existing combined sewer overflows
  • support increased funding for the Natural Heritage Inventory program
  • increase funding and encourage development of innovative methods to enable landowners to protect and provide wildlife habitat
  • allow for an increased charge for boat licenses that would be used to support boater education
  • take an appropriate measures to relieve the cumulative negative impact of taxes on the farming industry
  • support current use assessment for property taxation
  • support research for agricultural advances
  • encourage programs that will protect our historic and archeological sites along the river corridor, including historic bridges and barns
  • support better communication among agencies/organizations/groups concerned with the Connecticut River

Water Quality Agencies should:

  • enforce existing regulations that protect water quality
  • continue and increase water quality monitoring activity. Support volunteer organizations such as the Connecticut River Watch Program.
  • provide professional and financial assistance to riparian landowners to clean up nonpoint pollution sites
  • take steps to protect the pollution filtration processes, the flood control capabilities, and the fish habitats of the wetland ecosystems along the river
  • protect the river and its tributaries from runoff from impervious surfaces by requiring suitable filtration of the runoff and minimizing all impervious surfaces adjacent to water bodies
  • support a study of the effects of water level fluctuations on bank erosion
  • educate riparian landowners concerning methods of riverbank stabilization
  • expand programs that offer professional and financial assistance to riparian landowners for bnak stabilization
  • support continued research, enforcement of rules and regulations and public education concerning the spreading of municipal wastewater solids

Transportation Agencies should:

  • educate hikers, joggers, cross-country skiers, snowmobilers, and hunters and all others on the proper use of private land to help prevent unwanted trespassing and littering
  • enhance bicycle safety by promoting construction of low-cost bike paths
  • promote the use of abandoned railroad rights of way as bike paths while continuing to permit landowners to access their own land
  • encourage programs that will protect our historic/archeological sites along the river corridor including historic bridges

Department of Safety Services, Marine Patrol should:

  • establish a comprehensive program of education for boaters concerning the impact of boat wakes, supported by increased charge for boat licenses
  • provide sufficient funding to enable increased enforcement of existing regulations concerning boat wakes

Agriculture Departments should:

  • perform research to develop diversification of marketable products from the area
  • develop additional markets for agricultural products
  • educate the public to the necessity and the advantages of local agriculture
  • take appropriate measures to relieve the cumulative negative impact of taxes on the farming industry
  • support the current use assessment for property taxation
  • promote availability of professional expertise for farmers
  • support research for agricultural advances
  • support the use of nutrient management plans by farmers
  • support programs that assist farmers in voluntarily adopting best management practices

Fish and Game/Wildlife and other natural resources agencies should:

  • conduct a study to identify the fish species, population sizes, and their health/condition in this segment
  • provide increased funding and develop innovative methods to enable landowners to protect and provide habitat
  • support increased funding for the Natural Heritage Inventory program
  • encourage more cartop boat accesses for the use of canoes and other small craft, because of their low impact on the river. Parking should be screened from the river by a vegetated buffer strip, and a site for educational information should be provided.
  • discourage construction of new public boat ramps in this segment because of the negative impact of motor boats on the river. Rules should be written to guide the management of existing public and private landings, as well as the construction of new private ramps, which would include the maximum bank height allowed to be used, a riparian vegetated buffer strip, and a site for educational information dissemination.

TOWNS should:

  • implement recommendations in their master plans concerning water quality and shoreline protection measures by adopting regulations supporting those measures
  • establish minimum setbacks from the water body for all non-water dependent buildings according to the soil conditions, taking into account the historical record of soil loss into the river. New Hampshire's Comprehensive Shoreland Protection Act has set 50 feet as a minimum setback.
  • determine setback requirements of all leaching portions of new septic systems by soil characteristics but with a minimum setback of 75' and a greater setback of 125' where more porous soils occur
  • determine minimum lot size by soil types in areas dependent on septic systems within 250' of the river
  • prohibit the establishment or expansion of salt storage yards, auto junk yards, and solid waste and hazardous waste facilities within 250' of the riverbank
  • protect a 150' buffer from clear cutting where it exists. Natural wooded riverbanks are important for the health of the river. Stumps and their root systems should be left intact within 50' of the shoreline. If it is necessary to remove vegetation of any size in these buffer areas, the Subcommittee recommends that landowners seek professional expertise in order to lessen any impact on the river.
  • encourage creation of buffer strips where they do not now exist
  • encourage protection of scenic views of the river corridor
  • take steps to protect wetland ecosystems along the river
  • take measures to protect the river and its tributaries from runoff from impervious surfaces by requiring suitable filtration of the runoff and minimizing all impervious surfaces adjacent to water bodies
  • adopt local regulations that support agriculture including local right to farm sections
  • recognize the value of working farms as habitat
  • take appropriate measures to relieve the cumulative negative impact of taxes on the farming industry
  • support current use assessment for property taxation
  • provide information to the public concerning the benefits of conservation easements
  • encourage more cartop boat access for the use of canoes and other small craft, because of their low impact on the river; screen parking from the river with a vegetated buffer strip and provide a site for educational information
  • discourage construction of new public boat ramps because of the negative impact of motor boats on the river
  • educate recreationists on the proper use of private land to help prevent unwanted trespassing and littering
  • enhance bicycle safety by promoting construction of low cost bike paths
  • promote the use of abandoned railroad rights of way as bike paths while continuing to permit landowners to access their own land

PRIVATE SECTOR

Riverfront landowners should:

  • create and retain buffer strips along the mainstem and its tributaries to provide pollution filtration and to help form wildlife corridors
  • recognize the value of working farms as habitat
  • use fertilizers with great caution within 250' of the river
  • support the activities of the US Fish & Wildlife Service in the Silvio Conte Fish & Wildlife Refuge that do not infringe on property owners' rights and which include procedures for incorporation of local recommendations and review on their decision-making process

Non-Profit Organizations should:

  • seek state support to encourage volunteer water quality monitoring
  • encourage creation and retention of buffer strips along the mainstem of the tributaries to filter pollution and provide wildlife corridors (land trusts)
  • provide information to the public concerning the benefits of conservation easements (land trusts)
  • continue establishment of primitive campsites located on the river, in part because they can help to reduce trespassing on private land. (Upper Valley Land Trust)
  • educate officials and voters about zoning techniques, such as clustering of development, that protect agricultural soils and the rural environment (land trusts, regional planning commissions)
  • support a study to identify the fish species, population sizes, and their health/condition in the segment (Trout Unlimited/bass fishing groups)
  • encourage programs that will protect historic/archeological sites along the river corridor including historic bridges and barns (land trusts, historical societies)

Farm Bureaus should:

  • encourage creation and retention of buffer strips along the main stem and the tributaries to filter pollution and provide wildlife corridors
  • help educate riparian landowners concerning methods of stabilization
  • promote availability of professional expertise for farmers and research for agricultural advances
  • support the use of nutrient management plans by farmers
  • support programs that assist farmers in voluntarily adopting best management practices

Business Community should:

  • encourage inn-to-inn canoe trips for their commercial value to local inn owners

Hydro Power Industry should:

  • participate in a study of effects of water level fluctuations on bank erosion as well as fish habitat and populations of endangered species. The study should be conducted on site, at multiple locations, and result in action recommendations.
  • communicate with independent engineers to ascertain what steps could be taken at Wilder Dam to reduce its effects on the banks of the river

 

-- developed by the Upper Valley River Subcommittee, 1993-1996, first published 1997