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News Release

Baker River Dam Rehabilitation Plan Available for Review

Jeremy J. Fowler, Public Affairs Specialist

Public Comments Requested by January 27, 2020

DOVER, New Hampshire, December 19, 2019– USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) invites Grafton County and Town residents of Dorchester, Groton, Rumney and Wentworth, and other Baker River Dam Reahb. Concept Drawinginterested individuals to review the draft rehabilitation plan for the Baker River Dam No. 8. Built in 1968, the structure has provided over 50 years of flood protection for residents and infrastructure but now needs upgrades to meet current design and safety criteria.

Interested individuals can view a hard copy of the Draft Plan-Environmental Assessment at the Pease Public Library in Plymouth, the Groton Town Hall, or the Dorchester Town Hall. An electronic version is also available on the NRCS website at (click on the Baker River Dam No. 8 link) from December 20, 2019 through the end of the public comment period on January 27, 2020.

NRCS built the existing dam in cooperation with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, the Grafton County Conservation District, the Town of Plymouth, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, and the New Hampshire Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (referred to as Sponsors). The agency then worked with these entities to develop the draft rehabilitation plan, which includes armoring the auxiliary spillway with roller-compacted concrete with a stilling basin, in its current location; lowering the crest of the auxiliary spillway 3.9 feet from the maximum reservoir level resulting from a 1000-year, 24-hour storm to that of the 500-year, 24-hour storm, widening the auxiliary spillway by 30 feet to 430 feet; installing a stability berm on the upstream and downstream toe of the dam; installing a new graded filter and toe drain; and utilizing grout shear walls in the upstream stability berm. The lake will be drained during construction.

NRCS Small Watershed Rehabilitation funds will cover $10,326,300 of the estimated $15,445,400 in total project installation costs. The remaining $5,119,100 will come from non-federal funds. The preferred alternative will structurally rehabilitate the existing dam to meet high hazard design and safety standards and provide a level of flood protection downstream up to the 500-year flood event. The rehabilitated structure will have a new life expectancy of 75 years from the construction completion date.

Public comments should be sent to Rick Ellsmore, State Conservationist, Natural Resources Conservation Service, 273 Locust Street, Suite 2D, Dover, New Hampshire 03820. Specific inquiries about this rehabilitation plan can be referred to Matt Brown, NRCS State Conservation Engineer, by phone at (603) 868-9931 or email at

**Editor's note: the above article was edited to reflect an extension of the public commenting period. Public comments are now open through January 27, 2020, the previously reported date of January 20, 2020 was extended.