The Lakes Region is home to many valuable natural resources, the most visible being water. The Lakes Region is comprised of lakes, rivers, ponds, wetlands, and other subwatersheds. A watershed is an area of land that contains streams and rivers that each drain into a larger body of water, such as a river, lake or ocean. Our local water sources are faced with increased pressures due to development and growth. In order to sustain and enhance our waters, we must understand past and present conditions, and the interrelationships between natural resources, their environment, and humans. LRPC is creating plans and regulations designed to protect environmentally sensitive and prime agricultural areas, promoting regional efforts to enhance environmental quality though watershed, river corridor, and conservation partnerships and plans, while advocating best management practices and conducting natural resource inventories and analyzing ecological and habitat information to highlight existing conditions and allow for better informed decision-making.

Lake Winnipesaukee

Winnipesaukee Gateway (website)

Long-Term Variable Milfoil Management Plan (2013)

Lake Winnipesaukee MPS Bay Draft Watershed

Winnipesaukee River Basin Program Brochure (2017)

Mirror Lake Watershed (2012)

Waukewan Watershed Management Plan (2005)

Rust Pond Wolfeboro Subwatershed Management (2012)

Rust Pond Diagnostic Study (2007)

Lake Winnipesaukee Watershed Management Plan - Final Report (2012)

Lake Winnisquam

Winnisquam Watershed Network (website)

Lake Winnisquam Long-Term Variable Milfoil (2010)

Lake Winnisquam North End Long-Term (2008)

Lake Winnisquam Watershed - Phase 1

Black Brook Watershed Management (2012)


Pemigewasset River

Pemigewasset River Local Advisory Committee (PRLAC)

Beginning in the summer of 2002, the Pemigewasset River Local Advisory Committee began monitoring the quality of the water at six sites along the river.

The Pemigewasset River was included in the Rivers Management & Protection Program (RMPP) under RSA 483 in 1991. Subsequently, PRLAC was created as part of RMPP as a state chartered advisory committee responsible for developing a Management Plan for the entire river corridor. The Plan was completed in 2001 and many of its recommendations have now been implemented, including annual water quality monitoring in the river.

Pemigewasset River Local Advisory Committee (PRLAC) Water Monitoring Program

Pemi River Corridor Management Plan (2001)

Pemi River Corridor Management Plan (2013)

Merrimack River

Merrimack River Watershed Wetland (2009)

Squam Lakes

Squam Lakes Watershed Plan 2019 (amended February 2020)

Squam Lakes Watershed Plan 1991

Newfound Lake

Newfound Lake Region Association - "Through education, programs and collaboration, the Association promotes conservation and preservation of the region's natural, social and economic resources. We strive to be an integral and useful part of our watershed community." 

Ossipee Lake

Ossipee Lake Watershed Management Plan
Phase I Document (2015)
Phase I Appendices (2015)
Freedom & Ossipee Build-Out Analysis (2015)
Phase II Document (2018)
Phase II Appendices (2018)
Ossipee Lake Water Quality Analysis (1976 - 2016)

Lake Wentworth & Crescent Lake

Lake Wentworth & Crescent Lake Watershed (2012)

Webster-Highland Lakes

Webster-Highland Lakes Watershed Partnership (2006)

NH Department of Environmental Services

ANNOUNCEMENT: The NH Department of Environmental Services held a webinar on January 31, 2024 to provide an overview of the newly released “Cyanobacteria Plan: A Statewide Strategy”. If you were unable to attend, the recording is posted at https://www.youtube.com/Cyanobacteria Plan.

NH DES Interactive Watershed Map (reports embedded)

NH DES Watershed Report Cards

NH DES Variable Milfoil Fact Sheet

DES Water Quality Report 2017

NH DES Watershed Map of NH

NH DES Weed Watcher Volunteer Program

Past Projects

Protecting Shared Drinking Water Resources: Tri-Town Aquifer
A Collaborative Project of Belmont, Northfield, and Tilton

The towns of Belmont, Northfield, and Tilton have been working with the Lakes Region Planning Commission since 2001 to carry out a thorough assessment of potential threats to the stratified drift aquifer that underlies their communities, hereafter called the Tri-Town Aquifer. The collaboration developed recommendations to address potential threats and developed a report in 2003 titled Protecting Shared Drinking Water Resources: A Collaborative Initiative of Belmont, Northfield, and Tilton.This project continued through 2006 with the creation and local adoption of one of the priority recommendations - the Tri-Town Aquifer Protection Best Management Practices Guidebook.

The collaborative continued in 2008 with the development of groundwater protection zoning overlays and ordinances for each town. This was the recommendation that received the highest priority in Protecting Shared Drinking Water Resources. The ordinances were based on the NHDES model groundwater ordinance and then specifically designed to address potential threats to the shared aquifer that currently serves as a source of drinking water, and which has the potential to continue to be a source of drinking water in the future. The hope is that this project will continue to foster collaboration among the three towns to protect the long-term viability of their common drinking water resources.

Protecting Shared Drinking Water Resources: Ossipee Aquifer
A Collaborative Project of Green Mountain Conservation Group, Ossipee Watershed Coalition, Effingham, Freedom, Ossipee, Madison, Sandwich, and Tamworth

This project is designed to address present and potential threats to water quality in the Ossipee Aquifer watershed in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, and assist the towns of Sandwich, Tamworth, Ossipee, Effingham, Freedom, and Madison in long-term planning efforts to protect their drinking water resources. The Ossipee Source Water Protection Project was developed due to concern for the long-term quality of the drinking water supplies in the face of noticeably increasing growth projected by NH’s Office of Energy and Planning. The Green Mountain Conservation Group (GMCG), Ossipee Watershed Coalition (OWC), municipal planning boards and conservation commissions, and Lakes Region Planning Commission (LRPC) are partners in ensuring the aquifer resources are protected for current and future generations. 

Commercial and industrial zones are situated over a substantial portion of the aquifer along the major transportation routes. According to NH DES maps prepared in 2001, over 78 potential contamination sources (PCSs) are within well head protection areas. Upon completion of the PCS inventory by GMCG in December (2008 Source Water Protection Report), we anticipate an increase in the number of PCSs. Thoughtful planning which works to balance growth with water resource needs will assist these communities maintain the integrity of their water resources into the future. Water resources do not typically follow municipal boundaries, and for this reason the project is based on a collaborative, regional approach. 

The Initiative will build on the Natural Resources Planning Guide for the Ossipee Watershed published in 2007 (See www.gmcg.org) and the comprehensive inventory of PCSs completed by the GMCG in December of 2008. The inventory and outreach campaign has generated greater understanding of source water protection, GIS maps of potential risk sites and a willingness to address contamination threats at the local level. 

Watershed Maps

Link to watershed maps 


Darmouth-led Article 
Article - Dartmouth-led Team Receives NASA Grant to Study Lake Water Quality in the Northeast

Septic Assessment Information
Septic Assessment Toolbox