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Merrimack River Watershed Assessment Study

The study is a jointly funded effort between local communities, state, and Federal partners. Partners include: Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Geological Survey, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District.

The Merrimack River is formed by the confluence of the Pemigewasset and Winnipesaukee Rivers in Franklin, New Hampshire. The River flows southward in NH and turns at the NH-MA border and flows in a northeasterly direction discharging to the Atlantic Ocean at Newburyport, MA. The watershed is about is 5,010 square miles with two-thirds in NH and one-third in MA.

The study area for the Upper Merrimack and Pemigewasset River Study is the main stem Pemigewasset and the Merrimack River in NH.  The Lower Merrimack study is to develop a comprehensive watershed management plan for the Merrimack River. The lower Merrimack River study area stretches from the Hookset Dam in NH to the estuary at Newburyport and Salisbury, MA.

The study includes sampling and analysis of water quality and river flows and development of a computer model capable of assessing existing and future water quality conditions. The three major components of the model are: watershed runoff and loading, hydraulic routing, and water quality simulation.  The models are being calibrated with data collected as part of the study and other available data, and are found under "Related Documents."

The studies are authorized by Section 729 of Water Resources Development Act of 1986 entitled “
Study of Water Resources Needs of River Basins and Regions” as amended by Section 202 of WRDA 2000 and by Section 437 of WRDA 2000 entitled "Merrimack River Basin, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.”

Six dams are included in the study area:
- Ayers Island Dam in Bristol/New Hampton
Franklin Falls Dam in Franklin
- Eastman Falls Dam in Franklin
- Garvins Falls Dam in Concord/Bow
- Hooksett Dam in Hooksett
- Amoskeag Dam in Manchester

The Franklin Falls Dam is owned and operated by USACE and is used primarily for flood control purposes while the other dams are owned and operated by a public utility company and are used for hydroelectric power generation.

For more information, please contact the 
Project Manager, by e-mail.

New Hampshire

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