SWIM home Seacoast Watershed Information Manager
HomeMapsToolsProjectsAction Steps
Watersheds
What's NewIntro Contacts
Town of Kittery
State: ME
County: York

WATER RESOURCES:

York River Watershed

Ridge Brook drains a large forested wetland between Cutts Road and Wilson Road in the northern part of Kittery. The brook flows north through an emergent wetland that has been converted to farmland. It crosses into Eliot through a natural marsh, which borders a large junk car lot.

Libby Brook begins near the northbound rest stop on the turnpike. It crosses under the highway and runs through a half mile of dense forest until it enters York.

Johnson Brook drains an emergent wetland on Kittery’s border with York near Route 1. There is little development bordering the wetland.

Spruce Creek Watershed

Wilson Creek begins as two small streams run south on either side of Route 1 where it meets Cutts Road. This area is heavily developed; the Kittery Trading Post and outlet stores are nearby, as well as a large trailer park. The two streams converge and run for a tenth of a mile before joining Spruce Creek.

Spruce Creek flows into Kittery through a farm field west of Wilson Road. It crosses several more farms as it weaves through scattered stands of trees. Turning east, the creek passes under a bridge on a small dirt road where it begins to transition from fresh to salt water. Spruce Creek begins to widen where it flows under Picott Road and becomes more influenced by tides. The creek passes the turnpike and Route 1 and broadens greatly as it begins to form its estuary. The estuary is bordered by development on all sides, with lawns and pavement right down to the shore. Finally, Spruce Creek flows past Kittery Point and then empties into Portsmouth Harbor.

Southside Drainages

Cutts Pond and Deerings Pond are fed by several scattered wetlands west of Brave Boat Harbor Road. They are both only a few acres in size and bordered by scattered development. The two ponds are drained by small brooks that run south across Pepperell Road and empty into Pepperell Cove.

There are multiple small streams that flow into Brave Boat Harbor. These streams meet the incoming tide and form a large tidal marsh area on Kittery’s border with York. There is very sparse development around the marsh, a large portion of which is managed by the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge.

Piscataqua River Watershed

Legion Pond is located between Route 1 and State Road. It is 4.5 acres in size and is surrounded by development. A small stream empties the pond on its south shore and flows west through a marsh and into the Piscataqua River.

Kittery Club Pond is situated along Martin Road. It is only 1.5 acres in size and is bordered by the road on the north shore and a stand of deciduous trees on the south shore. A small stream runs out of the pond through the trees. It runs into the backyards of a few homes on Dennett Road where it crosses into another small woodland and empties into Spinney Creek Pond.

Spinney Creek Pond is a 127 acre freshwater impoundment that is separated from the Piscataqua River by Eliot Road. It is fed by Spinney Creek which drains a small wetland area 500 feet inland. The shores of Spinney Creek Pond are highly developed on the Eliot and Kittery sides.

By the time it reaches Kittery, the Piscataqua River is a wide marine channel that forms the border of Kittery and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. There is extremely heavy development along the shoreline with salt marshes and clam flats scattered among numerous wharves and piers. The most significant development is the Navy Shipyard which dominates a Seavey Island in the middle of the river. The Piscataqua River flows around the island and passed Pepperell cove where it empties into the Gulf of Maine.

To see the locations of these resources in Google Earth follow this link.

If you do not have Google Earth software you may download it by following this link.


WATER & SEWER DISTRICTS
Water District: Kittery Water District
District Website: http://www.kitterywater.org/
Water Source: Boulter Pond, Middle Pond, Folly Pond, Bell Marsh Reservoir
# Accts Serv: 5000
Other Towns: Eliot; York
   
Sewer District: Kittery Sewer
District Website: http://kittery.org/Pages/KitteryME_Sewer...
Receiving Waters: Piscataqua River
# Accts Serv: 2100
Other Towns: Eliot
   
WATERSHED(S):
 
KEY RESOURCE(S):
(Click the Title of the article to learn more.)
1999 Update of the Kittery Comprehensive Plan
Publications, Websites, and Tools
Updates to the Kittery Comprehensive Plan, revised in 2000.

Fish Communities and Habitats of the York River Watershed
Publications, Websites, and Tools
Report on a survey to assess the ecological integrity of fish communities and associated freshwater habitats in the York River.

Kittery Land Trust
Community Assistance Providers
A land trust serving the town of Kittery with conservation options for landowners.

Kittery, GIS website
Publications, Websites, and Tools

many kinds of GIS information


Spruce Creek Association
Community Assistance Providers
An advocacy organization promoting the protection and good health of Spruce Creek in Kittery and Eliot.

Spruce Creek Watershed Based Management Plan
Publications, Websites, and Tools
Due to poor water quality, Spruce Creek is listed in Maine's 2006 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report (303d) as impaired under Category 5-B-1: Estuarine & Marine Water Impaired...

TOWN RESOURCES:
Website:www.kittery.org
www.maine.gov/local/york/kittery
Seal:town seal, click to enlarge
Population:10495(U.S. Census Est. 2006)
Area:18.5 square miles
Zipcode:03904

DESCRIPTION:

While Kittery is a quiet, waterfront residential community with strong historical roots, geographically and economically, Kittery is strongly tied to the Greater Portsmouth economy. Many Kittery residents are employed in New Hampshire and most residents travel to the Portsmouth area for shopping, services and recreation. At the same time, the Shipyard served as a major employment center with a major impact on the region’s economy. The recent retention of the Shipyard notwithstanding the potential for cutbacks in the Shipyard argues for diversification of the economy for the region. Kittery also functions as the tourist gateway to Maine and its spectacular waterfront views warrant increased protection.

Kittery has a strong relationship to the sea since it is bounded on its eastern edge by the Atlantic Ocean and the Piscataqua River estuary on southern border. Its estuaries support diverse life forms. The Shipyard has been a Superfund site and has historically been a source of contaminants to the surrounding estuaries, as evidenced by the elevated levels of heavy metals and PCBs found in sediments. Kittery supports numerous wetlands that provide significant wildlife habitat and open space. The town plans to enact standards to improve the quality of stormwater runoff from new and expanded residential and commercial developments. In addition the town plans to adopt standards to guide development away from sensitive waterfront areas through resource protection and shoreland zoning.

Kittery is primarily a residential community. Housing is found in every section of the Town except the Route One retail outlet strip. Commercial activity is spread out along the primary travel routes through town.

The Town of Kittery maintains a few sites of open space such as the town forest. Additional large parcels of conservation land are maintained by The Kittery Land Trust and Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. Land used for agriculture in Kittery is scarce with only one parcel enrolled in the Farm and Open Space Tax Program as of 1999. Forest land is scarce in Kittery as well. As of 1999, only 317 of the 335 acres in Kittery were enrolled in the Tree Growth Tax Program.

Lobsters are found widely along Kittery’s coastline and harbor. The lobster fishery supports a significant group of fisherman, both year-round and seasonal. Shellfish beds remain closed to harvesting in Kittery due to contamination. Restricted harvests are allowed at Spinney Creek, Spruce Creek, Sea Point, and Brave boat harbor.

to learn more see The 1999 Kittery Comprehensive Plan Update


HISTORY:

The first settlement in Kittery was established in 1623 by Alexander Shapleigh. Soon fisheries were established offshore at the Isles of Shoals, where fish were caught, salted and exported back to Europe.

Kittery originally extended from the Atlantic Ocean inland up the Salmon Falls River, including the present-day towns of Eliot, South Berwick, Berwick and North Berwick.

In the mid 1700’s shipbuilding became the primary industry in Kittery. During the Revolution, the first vessels of the U.S. Navy were constructed on Badger's Island, including the Ranger commanded by John Paul Jones. The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, the nation's first federal navy yard, was established in 1800 on Fernald's Island. This facility rebuilt the Constitution, and built the Civil War sloop-of-war Kearsarge. Seavey's Island was annexed and became the site of the now defunct Portsmouth Naval Prison.

The bridge over the Piscataqua River connecting Kittery with Portsmouth was built in 1822 making regional transportation much easier.

According to historical records, in 1870 the population was 3,333. Over the next decade it actually decreased to 3,230. Kittery’s primary industry in the early1900’s continued to be shipbuilding, which attracted workers to the area. Farming and livestock were also an economic factor at this time and the availability of shipping enabled farmers to sell there goods far abroad.

Population in Kittery grew by 1.8% from 1990 to 2000 increasing to 9,663.

 
The Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farm, Wells, Maine Copyright 2006 All rights reserved. Collaboration with NOAA CSC, Charleston SC