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Lamprey River Watershed Association


    About The Watershed

    The Lamprey River begins in Northwood, New Hampshire and travels 47 miles draining land from 14 towns before becoming tidal in Newmarket and then another three miles before emptying into the coastal estuary known as Great Bay. A large percentage of the land in the river’s corridor is undeveloped, creating extensive wildlife habitat and offering picturesque scenery. The Lamprey River is the largest tributary to the Great Bay Estuary. Due to this river’s valued resources and importance as a tributary to the Great Bay National Estuarine Reserve, the lower portion is recognized as Wild and Scenic by the National Park Service, one of only two rivers in New Hampshire to receive such designation.


    The Lamprey River is rich in history. Early commercial and industrial growth centered around the use of falls on the river for saw and grist mills. The Wiswall Falls Mill Site in Durham has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places in recognition of the extensive 19th century mill complex located at this site. On an island below Wadleigh Falls, archaeologists have documented artifacts over 8,000 years old that are among the earliest dated archaeological artifacts in New Hampshire.

    Wildlife and Plant Resources

    A number of endangered and threatened bird species have been sighted along the river which rely on the river habitat for food and shelter. Among these is the federally-listed threatened bald eagle which is known to forage in the river while wintering at Great Bay, an area noted to have the highest abundance of eagle activity in the State of New Hampshire during the winter. Also occurring along the Lamprey River are 12 endangered or threatened plant species, as listed by the New Hampshire Natural Heritage Inventory. Two other notable species which inhabit the river are the state-listed threatened spotted turtle and endangered brook floater mussel.

    The Newmarket Fish Ladder

    The Lamprey River is also considered to be prime fish habitat for both fresh water fish and anadromous fish.

    Members of the sunfish, catfish and pike families are common to the Lamprey, as are a variety of minnows, common white suckers, and American eels. The State stocks brook, brown and rainbow trout in the Lamprey River and its major tributaries. In the North River and the upper reaches of the Lamprey, brook and brown trout reproduce naturally.

    River herring (alewives), American shad, and Atlantic salmon are the principal anadromous species found in the Lamprey River. The State’s management goals for these three species are: to provide a recreational fishery (salmon and shad) and to restore self-sustaining runs (shad and river herring), including restoration of river herring to their former abundance and distribution. Sea lampreys, parasites on other fish, also come upriver to spawn.

    Mussels, crayfish, freshwater clams, hairy wheel snails, and other snails are part of the ecosystem. Mussels have been studied extensively as a pollution sensitive species and indicate that the quality of habitat in the Lamprey is average. Sedimentation, polluted runoff from impervious surfaces, and increases in water temperature threaten the quality habitat for all aquatic species.

    Watershed Towns


    137 Ramsdell Lane
    Barrington, NH 03825
    Phone: 603-664-9007
    Fax: 603-664-5179


    Town of Candia
    74 High Street
    Candia, NH
    Phone: 603-483-8101
    Fax: 603-483-0252


    Town Office
    8 Raymond Rd.
    Deerfield, NH
    Phone: 603-463-8811
    Fax: 603-463-2820


    Town Hall
    15 Newmarket Road
    Durham, NH
    Phone: 603-868-5571


    Town Hall
    157 Main Street
    Epping, NH 03042
    Town Clerk phone:
    Planning/Zoning phone:


    PO Box 120
    Fremont NH 03044-0120
    (603) 895-2226
    Fax: 603-895-3149


    Town Hall
    7 Mast Road
    Lee, NH 03824
    Phone: 603-659-5414


    Town Hall
    182 Main Street
    Newmarket, NH
    Phone: 603-659-3073


    The Town of Northwood
    818 First New Hampshire Turnpike
    Northwood, N.H. 03261
    Phone: 603-942-5586
    Fax: 603-942-9107


    Town of Nottingham
    PO Box 114
    Nottingham, NH 03290
    Phone: 603-679-5022
    Fax: 603-679-1013


    Town of Raymond
    4 Epping Street
    Raymond, NH 03077
    Phone: 603-895-4735
    Fax: 603-895-0903