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Pemigewasset River Local Advisory Committee (PRLAC)

The Pemigewasset River has its headwaters in Franconia and flows through the towns of Lincoln, Woodstock, Thornton, Campton, Plymouth, Holderness, Ashland, Bridgewater, New Hampton, Bristol, Hill, and Sanbornton before joining with the Winnipesaukee River in the city of Franklin to form the Merrimack River. The Pemigewasset River was included in the Rivers Management & Protection Program (RMPP) under RSA 483 in 1991. Subsequently, the Pemigewasset River Local Advisory Committee (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 Corridor Management Plan addresses recreational and non-recreational uses of the river and adjacent lands, protection of floodplains, habitat management, and other issues. The Plan was completed in 2001 and many of its recommendations have now been implemented, including annual water quality monitoring in the river.

Each of the communities along the river may nominate representatives to PRLAC; the committee represents a broad range of local interests. PRLAC members review and comment on state and local permits for activities impacting the the river corridor (1,320’ on either side of the river) and communicate with municipalities and citizens regarding corridor management. Steps towards implementing the 2001 Management Plan recommendations include establishing the water quality monitoring program, working with communities to enhance local land use regulations, and educating landowners regarding Best Management Practices relative to runoff and shoreland protection.

On April 25,2008 representatives from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NH DES) and several of the state’s fourteen Local Advisory Committees were honored at Faneuil Hall in Boston by US Environmental Protection administration (US EPA) Administrator Stephen L. Johnson with a Presidential Volunteer Service Award, recognizing the many hours of service that these individuals have contributed to their communities in their efforts to protect and monitor the quality of New Hampshire’s riverine environment.

The committee is always looking for creative ways to communicate these issues to corridor communities, and encourages community participation in all these important endeavors. PRLAC meets on the last Tuesday of each month, often hosting guest speakers on watershed issues. The public is encouraged to attend these meetings and take an active role in maintaining this important community resource. PRLAC is currently seeking additional volunteers as representatives and water quality monitors.

PRLAC receives administrative and technical support from the Lakes Region Planning Commission (LRPC). The administrative support is funded through donations from corridor communities. Support for water quality planning efforts in the Pemi Corridor and efforts to implement recommendations from the Corridor Management Plan come from NH DES through the Clean Water Act.. For more information contact LRPC at 279-8171 or lrpc@lakesrpc.org.