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Public comment period to end April 19 on Edward MacDowell Lake master plan of project operations

Published March 26, 2019

CONCORD, Mass. – The Corps of Engineers held a public meeting March 20, 2019 in Peterborough, New Hampshire, to discuss updating the master plan for project operations and federal land management of the Edward MacDowell Lake flood risk management project in Peterborough, New Hampshire. The Corps team provided a presentation and overview of the purpose and timeline of the master plan and then took public comments.


The public, and local, state and federal agencies and groups have until April 19, 2019 to submit their comments to the Corps of Engineers on the Edward MacDowell Lake master plan. The master plan is available for review at: https://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/Edward-MacDowell-Lake/.


The master plan is a document that conceptually establishes and guides the orderly development, administration, maintenance, preservation, enhancement and management of all natural, cultural and recreational resources at Edward MacDowell Lake. It is a land use management document and does not include any operations associated with facilities such as the dam or spillway.


The master plan, last updated in 1979, will present an inventory and assessment of the land and water resources and related physical improvement. Public input is important. This master plan will address land use pressure, along with the increased demand for outdoor recreation and shifting interest in more and varied types of outdoor experiences. The classification system and guidelines set forth are designed to guide the preservation, management and use of public lands in the future.


The master plan covers approximately 1,469 acres of federal land and prescribes an overall land and water management plan, resource objectives, and associated design and management concepts which provide the best possible combination of responses to regional needs, resource capabilities, and public interests consistent with authorized flood risk management purposes.


Situated on Nubanusit Brook in Peterborough and about 14 miles east of Keene, Edward Macdowell Lake Dam was completed in 1950 at a cost of $2 million. It consists of an earth fill dam with stone slope protection 1,100 feet long and 67 feet high with a capacity of storing more than four billion gallons of water. There is a conservation pool at Edward MacDowell Lake covering 165 acres and having a maximum depth of about seven feet. The flood storage area at spillway crest totals 840 acres and covers parts of Hancock, Dublin and Harrisville. The lake and all associated project lands cover 1,469 acres.


The Corps operates a small recreation area and amenities include two pavilions, multiple picnic and grill locations, beach, volleyball net, horseshoe pits and playground. Canoes, rowboats and other small boats are permitted. Project lands also offer trails for hiking and cross country skiing; snowmobile trails; undeveloped open space for ball playing and other sporting activities; drinking water; and sanitary facilities. More than 146,000 visitors annually enjoy recreational opportunities at Edward MacDowell Lake.


Edward MacDowell Lake dam provides flood risk management and flood reduction primarily to Peterborough. The project also provides flood reduction to downstream communities of Hancock, Bennington, Antrim, Deering, Hillsboro and Henniker, all on the Contoocook River.


The master plan covers all project resources, including fish and wildlife, vegetation, cultural, aesthetic, interpretive, recreational, commercial and outgranted lands, easements and water. The public notice informing the public of the Corps intent to update the master plan is posted on the website: https://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/Edward-MacDowell-Lake/. The Corps has been working with the public and other stakeholders to develop the draft master plan that is now available for review and comment.


The Corps is preparing a draft Environmental Assessment for the master plan under the National Environmental Policy Act. Interested parties may request a copy from the address listed below.


The master plan provides guidance for future management of the project and surrounding federal lands. The natural resources of the project will continue to be managed to provide the best combination of responses to regional and ecosystem needs, project resources and capabilities. All specific proposals for recreational or other development at the project must comply with the master plan, the Edward MacDowell Lake flood risk management reduction requirements, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and federal and Corps requirements.


Public comments on the Edward MacDowell Lake Project master plan should be submitted by April 19, 2019 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Edward MacDowell Lake Project, (Attn: Project Manager Jason Tremblay), 75 Wilder Street, Peterborough, NH 03458 or by email to jason.c.tremblay@usace.army.mil. For additonal information, call (603) 924-3431 or visit the project web site at https://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/Edward-MacDowell-Lake/.


Tim Dugan

Release no. UNRELEASED