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Piscataqua Watershed

The Piscataqua River Watershed drains 1,495 square miles in all. It includes the sub watersheds of Spruce Creek, and the Great Works, Salmon Falls, Cocheco, Bellamy, Winnicutt, Squamscott, Lamprey, Oyster, and Exeter Rivers. The main stem of the Piscataqua River begins at the confluence of the Salmon Falls and Cocheco Rivers. It flows 12.25 miles to the Gulf of Maine through the towns of Eliot and Kittery, ME, and Dover, Newington, Portsmouth, New Castle and Rye, NH. The river forms the boundary between these Maine and New Hampshire communities. The last 8.8 miles is Portsmouth Harbor the sole deep draft harbor in New Hampshire. It handles about 5 million tons of shipping a year for New Hampshire, eastern Vermont, and southern Maine. Items include petroleum products, rubber and plastics, iron and steel scrap, salt, limestone, gypsum, and fish products. The harbor is used by submarines from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on Seavey Island in Kittery and for fuel deliveries to Pease International Tradeport in Newington. Portsmouth Harbor is also used extensively by a large lobster fishing fleet, charter fishing vessels, commercial fishermen, excursion boats to the Isles of Shoals situated nine miles offshore, and local and transient boats based at or visiting the nearly 20 boating facilities in the area. The harbor has been improved and dredged several times since 1966 extending up Long Reach to Newington. The Piscataqua River is also the receiving waters for the waste treatment facilities in Portsmouth, Kittery, and Newington.

The landscape in the watershed of the Piscataqua Riverís main stem is densely developed and high levels of impervious surface contribute to increased flow of stormwater into the river. Numerous small parcels of municipal and privately managed conservation land are located throughout the watershed, as well as several state sites and a portion of the Rachel Carson Nation Wildlife Refuge in Kittery. Many areas within the watershed provide significant habitat for inland and coastal wading birds and waterfowl, as well as a small area of nesting seabirds. In addition several areas provide valuable habitat for wintering deer, the rare New England Cottontail, and the endangered Bitternut Hickory, Spotted Wintergreen, and Scarlet Oak.

Portsmouth Sewer District discharges into the River.
Contamination from former Pease Air Force base, the Navy Yard, and industrial uses.
Key Resource(s) for Piscataqua Watershed:
(Click the Title of the entry below to learn more.)
Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Community Assistance Providers
Provides education, outreach, research, and stewardship in support of estuaries and rivers.
Great Works Regional Land Trust
Community Assistance Providers

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

Kittery Land Trust
Community Assistance Providers
A land trust serving the town of Kittery with conservation options for landowners.
Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire
Community Assistance Providers
A regional land trust serving 39 communities in southeastern New Hampshire
Towns located in Watershed:
Eliot [ME]
Kittery [ME]
Dover [NH]
New Castle [NH]
Newington [NH]
Portsmouth [NH]
Rye [NH]
Counties located in Watershed:
Rockingham [NH]
 Website: www.co.rockingham.nh.us
 Phone: 603-679-9350
 Population SWIM Towns: 31,759
 Total County Population: 296,267 (U.S. Census Est. 2006)
 Area SWIM Towns: 65.4 square miles
 Total County Area: 695 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)

Adington Creek [WC]; Brave Boat Harbor [WB]; Cocheco River [WC]; Fuller Brook [WC]; Garvin Brook [WC]; Great Bay [WC]; Hamilton Brook [WC]; Heath, The [WB]; Hill Creek [WC]; North Mill Pond [WB]; Piscataqua River [WC]; Salmon Falls River [WC]; Shoreys Brook [WC]; South Mill Pond [WB]; Spinney Creek [WC]; Stacy Creek [WC]; Sturgeon Creek [WC]

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