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Salmon Falls Watershed

Water District Drinking Water Source

The Salmon Falls River Watershed drains 238 square miles from eight towns in Maine and ten towns in New Hampshire. Significant water features include Great East Lake, Lovell Lake, Lake Murdock, Little River, Branch River, and the main stem of the Salmon Falls River. The watershed includes hundreds of small streams, ponds, and wetlands. Landscapes range from forested floodplains and peat lands, to open grasslands and mixed pine, oak and hemlock forests. A number of these areas have been identified as significant habitat for a wide variety of wildlife including many threatened and endangered species.

The landscape in the upper reaches of the watershed includes large areas of forested and agricultural land. Development is concentrated mainly around the lakes and ponds. Parcels of state and privately managed conservation land are located in Milton, Brookfield, and Middleton, NH. The Milton Municipal Wastewater Facility empties to the Salmon Falls River.

The middle section of the watershed is characterized by increased development around the town centers and major roads. Large blocks of forest, wetland, and agricultural land are scattered throughout the area and provide significant habitat for many species of wildlife and plants including the endangered Northern Black Racer and Small Whorled Pogonia, as well as large areas of deer wintering habitat. Several parcels of municipal, public, and privately controlled conservation land are located in Lebanon and Berwick, ME, and Rochester, NH.

The lower section of the watershed is highly developed around the centers of Berwick, South Berwick, ME, and Somersworth, NH. High levels of impervious surface contribute to increased levels of stormwater runoff into the watershed. Several large blocks of forest and wetland provide significant habitat for inland wading birds and waterfowl, deer wintering, and the endangered Northern Black Racer and Ringed Boghaunter, and threatened Spotted Turtle and Upland Sandpiper. Several parcels of state, municipal, and privately managed conservation land are located in the towns of South Berwick, ME, and Somersworth and Rollinsford, NH. The Salmon Falls River is the source of water for the Berwick and Somersworth Water Districts. The river also receives the outflow from the waste treatment plants in Berwick and South Berwick, ME, and Somersworth and Rollinsford, NH.

The Salmon Falls River runs for 37.5 miles from its headwaters at Great East Lake to its confluence with the Cocheco River. It forms the border between several Maine and New Hampshire towns. There are 15 dams on the river, the last forms the head of tide at the Route 4 bridge in South Berwick, ME.

Key Resource(s) for Salmon Falls Watershed:
(Click the Title of the entry below to learn more.)
Great Works Regional Land Trust
Community Assistance Providers

Serving the communities of Berwick, Eliot, Ogunquit, and Wells.

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways
Community Assistance Providers

Strafford Rivers Conservancy
Community Assistance Providers
The Strafford Rivers Conservancy is a regional land trust whose purpose is to protect the natural resources, beauty, and character of lands in Strafford County.
Three Rivers Land Trust
Community Assistance Providers
A regional land trust for Acton, Alfred, Lebanon, Sanford, and Shapleigh in Maine
Towns located in Watershed:
Acton [ME]
Berwick [ME]
Eliot [ME]
Lebanon [ME]
North Berwick [ME]
Sanford [ME]
Shapleigh [ME]
South Berwick [ME]
Brookfield [NH]
Dover [NH]
Farmington [NH]
Middleton [NH]
Milton [NH]
Rochester [NH]
Rollinsford [NH]
Somersworth [NH]
Wakefield [NH]
Wolfeboro [NH]
Counties located in Watershed:
Carroll [NH]
 Website: http://www.epodunk.com/cgi-bin/genInfo.php?locIndex=18832
 Phone: 603-539-2428
 Population SWIM Towns: 11,828
 Total County Population: 47,475 (U.S. Census Est. 2006)
 Area SWIM Towns: 110.7 square miles
 Total County Area: 934 square miles
Strafford [NH]
 Website: www.co.strafford.nh.us
 Phone: 603-742-1469
 Population SWIM Towns: 18,217
 Total County Population: 119,990 (U.S. Census Est. 2006)
 Area SWIM Towns: 313.4 square miles
 Total County Area: 369 square miles
York [ME]
 Website: www.co.york.me.us
 Phone: 207-324-1571
 Population SWIM Towns: 121,400
 Total County Population: 202,232 (U.S. Census Est. 2006)
 Area SWIM Towns: 645.3 square miles
 Total County Area: 1002.6 square miles
Waterbodies located in Watershed:
(WC-watercourse, WB-waterbody)

Black Pond [WB]; Bog Brook [WC]; Branch River [WC]; Churchill Brook [WC]; Cranberry Meadow [WB]; Deering Pond [WB]; Driscoll Brook [WC]; Farnham Brook [WC]; Ferguson Brook [WC]; Furgeson Brook [WC]; Garvin Brook [WC]; Grant Brook [WC]; Great Brook [WC]; Great East Lake [WB]; Great Works River [WC]; Halls Pond [WB]; Hanson Brook [WC]; Hart Brook [WC]; Heath Brook [WC]; Horn Brook [WC]; Horn Pond [WB]; Ivanhoe Lake [WB]; Jones Brook [WC]; Keay Brook [WC]; Kingswood Lake [WB]; Leighs Mill Pond [WB]; Lily Pond [WB]; Little River [WC]; Long Swamp Brook [WC]; Lord Brook [WC]; Lovell Lake [WB]; Lyman Brook [WC]; Marshes, The [WB]; Miller Brook [WC]; Mountain Lake [WB]; Mulloy Brook [WC]; Murdock Lake [WB]; Northeast Pond [WB]; Pike Brook [WC]; Pine Hill Brook [WC]; Quamphegan Brook [WC]; Salmon Falls River [WC]; Seribner Brook [WC]; Shoreys Brook [WC]; Sligo Brook [WC]; Spaulding Pond [WB]; Tates Brook [WC]; Togue Brook [WC]; Union Meadows [WB]; Willand Pond [WB]; Wilson Lake [WB]; Worster Brook [WC]

The shores of this river were some of the first to be settled (1630). The first cow in the New World was landed here in 1634. The river first provided access and easy travel and then power. At one point in the 1700s there were over 100 sawmills along its length and the river was said to be heavily polluted and choked with sawdust. These mills were later replaced by textile mills as the supply of trees declined and industry increased. A few of the brick mill complexes still exist (Rollinsford). Presently there are eight dams remaining, several which produce electricity.

In the last century much of the environmental damage healed. River banks, fields, and farms were abandoned and returned to a more natural state. Over the last twenty years many of the communities mirror the experience of South Berwick that saw its manufacturing base disappear to be replaced by a service industry supporting a growing residential population. South Berwick grew by 50% between 1980 and 2000 to over 7000 residents. The desire to live by water has created a premium for river and stream front property with a resulting degradation and removal of streamside vegetation along with increasing non-point source pollution.
The Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farm, Wells, Maine Copyright 2006 All rights reserved. Collaboration with NOAA CSC, Charleston SC