Merrimack River Watershed Wetland Restoration Plan
Why Restore Wetlands?

Wetlands are widely known to be effective in protecting water quality, providing wildlife habitat, mitigating floods, and providing many other functions. Although New Hampshire has been relatively successful in protecting wetland resources, many have been degraded by past and current land uses. Restoration of these degraded areas holds great potential to help improve New Hampshire’s water quality, wildlife habitat and general quality of life.

What is the ARM Fund?

The recent development of the “Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund” (ARM Fund) has provided a promising new source of funds to help with the effort. These funds are available to NH cities and towns to implement programs to restore, protect or create aquatic habitats. The fund accepts payments made by applicants for wetland dredge and fill permits, who pay into the fund to help offset the impacts of their proposed projects. These funds are then pooled on a watershed basis and managed by NHDES and a Site Selection Committee made up of watershed stakeholders. The intent of the fund is to provide grants to environmental and community organizations to conduct worthwhile restoration projects.

How does the Merrimack River Watershed Wetland Restoration Strategy fit into the Picture?

Over the years, a great deal of information has been developed on ecologically important areas in NH with a focus on preservation. And, excellent progress has been made in NH’s coastal region on restoring salt marsh habitat. But relatively little is known about potential wetland restoration sites in the Merrimack River Watershed and other watersheds in the state. The NHDES, therefore, working with its partners at the NH Fish and Game Department, the US Environmental Protection Agency and others, commissioned a study of the Merrimack River Watershed. The study built a GIS model of the watershed to identify wetlands that may be impacted by past land uses and which may benefit from environmental restoration. The resulting map information can be used by concerned citizens and community organizations to identify promising wetland restoration projects This website contains the results of this study, and it is hoped that the results will be helpful to those concerned about wetlands in the watershed who want to help protect and restore wetlands.

How can I get more information?

  • Explore this website. It contains a useful report on the study, maps of each community in the watershed, with possible restoration sites shown, and an interactive GIS tool that can tell you more about the sites in your town.
  • You can talk with the Mitigation Coordinator at the NH Department of Environmental Services: Contact Lori Sommer at (603) 271-2147 or

Last updated: March 25, 2009 Website maintained by VHB | Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc.