About the Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative
The Salmon Falls River forms part of the border between
Maine and New Hampshire, so the 330-square mile watershed is shared by 21 towns
in the two states. Municipal water systems in both states use the river as a
water supply source. The Salmon Falls River is also the largest tributary
to the Piscataqua-Great Bay Estuary system. The Great Bay Estuary is a
natural gem, but its water quality is considered impaired.
What's at Stake
More than 47,000 people (not including private well
users) depend on the watershed for drinking water.
The Salmon Falls River and Great Bay are significant recreation resources - used
for boating, fishing, wildlife watching, and hiking. While the watershed
is a critical drinking water source area for many people, it is threatened by
polluted runoff resulting from population growth and the associated conversion
of forested land to developed areas.
A recently published report by the U.S. Forest Service,
"Private Forests, Public Benefits," identified the Piscataqua-Salmon Falls
watershed as the most threatened in the Northeast and Midwest United States with
regard to a potential decline in water quality due to conversion of private
forested lands to housing.
Who we are
The Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative brings together
a number of groups and individuals who are doing great work in the watershed. We
all have common interests in protecting land and water. There is a core group
active in planning and coordinating the Collaborative's activities, a larger
circle of about 30 active participants, and about 140 subscribers to our
Who we serve
Municipalities, land trusts, watershed groups, water suppliers, etc.
How we work together
We follow a
collaborative learning model as organizing principle: we are values-driven
and use a data-driven approach
inspiration from and build on each other’s achievements.
Collaborative provides linkages between groups; we support each other’s work
with information, coordinated planning, technical assistance, and funding.
We work to
identify projects with related goals and develop synergies, rather than
competition for resources.
We seek to
continue to provide opportunities for existing and new members to work
together in areas that contribute to our common goal, a clean, safe and
sustainable water resource in the Salmon Falls Watershed.
Action Plan Guides Us - Funding Fuels Us
The Collaborative developed an Action Plan to help guide
our work and address priority actions. As part of the Action Plan, we
identified areas where existing work has left gaps, and are bringing resources,
like the USDA-NRCS CAP plans, to help fill those gaps.
The work of the Collaborative has built upon ongoing
319, stormwater, MS4, land trust, municipal conservation, lake association,
Rural Water and other allied efforts. Without this strong foundation, there
would be no Salmon Falls Collaborative. The Collaborative itself was
initially funded with seed money from the national Source Water Collaborative
(EPA funds), the NH DES,and the Maine CDC Drinking Water Program. EPA Region I
has provided significant staff support and connections with federal agencies
such as USDA-NRCS.
Accomplishments of collaborative include
the 2012 United States Water Prize, a national award
boat field trips - LID, land conservation, watershed restoration, etc.
- inventory of threats & SWP template
Maine - shoreline survey and GPS inventory of threats
stormwater policies in several towns
USDA NRCS -
conservation activity plan - to develop and implement
plans for privately owned forest and agricultural lands
EPA & State Env. Agencies
(ongoing) - analysis of water quality