I have always lived in the Merrimack River watershed. I was born in Manchester, less than a mile from the river and the huge mills that line its banks. Within a couple of years, we moved to a house near Lake Massabesic. As an adult, I moved to Penacook, a few hundred yards from the confluence of the Contoocook and Merrimack Rivers. Now I live in Boscawen where my house overlooks the woods that line the shore shared with Canterbury.
Growing up, I didnt really have a sense of a watershed, although my father worked for the Manchester Water Works and traveled daily in the city and surrounding towns. When I asked him where he worked that day, he would simply reply, In the watershed. In my mind, I pictured a little wooden building by the side of the lake—a water shed.
The Merrimack River and its watershed are a significant part of all of our lives. From those who look at it as they cross a bridge while stopped in traffic, to parents and grandparents who settled in the area to work in the mills, to anglers from near and far who recognize it as a superior fishing area, to canoeists who appreciate the quiet waters flowing along beautiful farm and forest land. We all connect to the river in our different ways.
In 1990, I was asked to serve as a charter representative to the Upper Merrimack River Local Advisory Committee (UMRLAC). Although I was a committed member of my towns conservation commission, I had no idea how important the UMRLAC and its work would become to me. The river to which I had been so close all my life had now become a conscious and defined part of my life. Each month, I look forward to UMRLAC meetings and seeing its other committed representatives.
During these past seventeen years there has been much fruit from the Management Plan. Nearly 500 volunteers have participated in the river corridor planning process; study and recommendation of scenic and recreational designation; legislative leadership and activism; and significant efforts in water quality monitoring, education, and outreach with the Upper Merrimack Monitoring Program (UMMP). Many partners including nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and Adopt-a-River Site Sponsors have provided financial and in-kind support.
With this Plans focus broadened to include watershed resources, the potential for more success and the involvement of more partners increases. The watershed focus is key to best conserving—for this and future generations—the unique and rich resources of the upper Merrimack River. The success of this Plan will be measured by achieving the desired goals and meeting the objectives for each of the resources. This Plan outlines the steps required to meet the objectives and achieve the goals. This work will rest on the efforts of the many volunteers who graciously serve on the local boards and committees. The challenge will be to continue to foster the cooperative relationship and interests with the six cities and towns and promote a unified effort to protect our valuable resources and the heritage of this unique region that we call home.
Of course, none of the work accomplished to date by UMRLAC and UMMP would be possible without the participation, collaboration, cooperation, and assistance of these committed partners, supporters, and volunteers. Their interests have enhanced this work—and returned the advantages both to them and the entire watershed community. I am proud to work with the UMRLAC and all of its partners. Thank you to everyone who participated—your continued support is essential as we work together to implement this Plan.
Michele L. Tremblay
Chair, UMRLAC and Program Director, UMMP
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