NH Shoreland Protection (Overview)

Shoreland Protection
What you need to know about the protection of the lakes and surface waters of New Hampshire


When visitors and residents think of the lakes of New Hampshire, they envision clear blue waters surrounded by dense, green forests. These two qualities are inextricably tied in our minds but many do not realize their interdependent relationship. There are many threats facing New Hampshire’s surface waters. Its lakes, rivers and wetlands face pressures from increased development which can lead to accelerated eutrophication, erosion and loss of vital habitat for wildlife and people alike.

What is Eutrophication?
Eutrophication is the natural aging process of lakes. Sediment and nutrients (which act as fertilizers) slowly fill a lake by increasing the growth of algae and weeds. When this vegetation dies, its decomposition creates more nutrients. Accelerated eutrophication is the result of cultural influences, such as development, that prematurely age a lake.

What is Erosion?
Erosion is the loss of soils due to wind, ice and wave action, as well as runoff from rain and spring snow melt. Removal of vegetation and its root systems causes soil and pollutants to be washed into a lake or river and reduces water clarity. Erosion not only fills waterbodies with soils and sediment (which harms fish and other aquatic life), it also carries nutrients which act as fertilizers, speeding the growth of algae and weeds in lakes and rivers. (For more information see our brochure, What is a Watershed?.)

What About Loss of Habitat?
Natural, healthy shorelands are green places that meet clean, blue waters. Birds and other wildlife depend on the cover provided by natural vegetation. Fish and other aquatic life need the shade and cover at the shore’s edge. When natural shading is eliminated, water temperatures rise and algae and weed growth increases. Shaded areas retard excessive weeds in shoreland areas by blocking out the light that aquatic plants use to grow.

What is NH Doing to Protect Our Shorelands?
The Comprehensive Shoreland Protection Act (CSPA) was created in 1994 to protect against erosion and pollution by setting minimum standards and requirements for the development, use, and subdivision of land within 250 feet of the water’s edge.

Read more at.. http://www.nhlakes.org/ed_shore_pro.htm


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