Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership
Salmon Falls River
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The Salmon Falls River is fed by an ecologically diverse land area shared by the states of Maine and New Hampshire, and drains into the Great Bay estuary, a coastal ecosystem of national importance. Approximately 47,000 people (not including well users), including the population centers of Berwick, Maine and Somersworth, NH, currently rely on the Salmon Falls watershed to provide clean drinking water. The watershed is potentially threatened by increases in polluted runoff resulting from rapid population growth and conversion of forested land to developed areas. The Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative is committed to addressing these threats to water quality via the following integrated actions:

  • Land Protection
  • Improved Land Use Planning Practices and Policies
  • Best Management Practices
  • Education


Members of the SFWC receiving the US Water Prize at the Awards Ceremony in Washington, DC on April 23, 2012.

Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative Honored with U.S. Water Prize

Durham, NH - The Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative, an ambitious inter-state effort to protect drinking water supplies for more than 47,000 residents in Maine and New Hampshire, has been named a 2012 U.S. Water Prize award winner by The Clean Water America Alliance. To see the national prize video featuring the Collaborative and to learn more about the U.S. Water Prize visit

Members of the collaborative recieved the award at a reception in Washington D.C. on Monday, April 23.

Conceived through the efforts of the drinking water protection programs in the states of both Maine and New Hampshire, the Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative brought together natural resource experts, municipalities, land trusts, local water districts and community and watershed organizations to develop and implement an Action Plan to protect clean drinking water for current and future generations.

The Salmon Falls River is the largest river system contributing to the Great Bay estuary that borders both states, and was recently identified by the U.S. Forest Service as being the most threatened in the nation with regard to a potential decline in water quality due to conversion of private forested lands to housing.

The selection of the Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative for the U.S. Water Prize highlights the importance of inter-jurisdictional partnerships to protect and sustain drinking water supplies. The success of the collaborative relies on the “on-the-ground actions” of multiple local watershed and community groups, municipalities, and landowners. The groups use grassroots messaging and community organizing to implement actions town-by-own, property-by-property throughout the watershed. The Collaborative unites to protect forests, champion smarter development approaches, and reduce water pollution from existing and future land development.

The Collaborative’s work has been made possible through funding support from NH Department of Environmental Services, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as part of the national Source Water Collaborative. Other key partners in the Collaborative include: The Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership, the Wells and Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserves, Maine Rural Water Association, Granite State Rural Water Association, South Berwick and Berwick water districts, City of Somersworth, Maine Non-point Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO), Strafford Regional Planning Commission, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, York County SWCD, Acton Wakefield Watersheds Alliance, and five land trust organizations.

SFWC E-Newsletters

October, 2012 - NEW!
September, 2012
August, 2012

City of Somersworth Adopts Low Impact Development Regulations
Congrats to the City of Somersworth for recently adopting Low Impact Development (LID) regulations! City Planner Dave Sharples worked along with the Somersworth Planning Board and the consulting firm Tighe & Bond to develop improved policies for smarter development practices that will reduce polluted runoff from developed areas. PREP provided technical assistance and funding to Somersworth to enable consulting assistance to the Planning Board. The project was made possible via a grant from the NH Department of Environmental Services' Drinking Water and Groundwater Bureau.

The new changes were adopted unanimously by the Planning Board at their February 15 th meeting. The complete Site Plan Regulations regulations can be viewed  here. Improved policy changes have been added to Section 11.17 addressing stormwater management.