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The Future of Namaske Lake and the Piscataquog River Dams Meeting Report

The first official information meeting  hosted by the Goffstown Board of Selectman with DES in reference to Kellys Falls Dam future took place:

Date: August 22, 2023, 6:00 PM - 8:45 PM
Location: NH Institute of Politics
100 Saint Anselm Drive
Manchester, NH 03102

Thanks for those who attended last nights meeting at St. A's in reference to the Dam situation.  Following are notes from the meeting.

Standing room only, roughly 250 people attended.

State DES "status" message is: 

  • Hadley Falls will be removed, in process, but may take 5-10 years to complete. Undecided what this will entail, but being worked on.
  • Greggs Dam has up to 5 years left on their lease w/ Eagle Creek, no indication of problems with operator.
  • Kellys Falls will resort to State DES on April 1st (unless a deal with Eagle Creek, operator of Greggs Falls can be reached prior).
    • Not sure of costs of running dam as of April 1st, but they will find out.
    • Not sure how quickly the State will be able to respond to storm board repair, as they are understaffed as it is.  Audience member suggested the cost to replace the storm boards is $5,000.
    • They would like the town, and/or association to consider financial support for this.
    • If and when Kellys falls is adjusted to allow fish passage upstream, then Gregg Falls Dam will be required to add fish passage as well.
  • State is negotiating with Eagle Creek to take control of Kellys Falls Dam as well -
    • This may be the ONLY feasible option to get an operator at Kellys Falls Dam, as it may help Eagle Creek delay or eliminate the need for a fish ladder at Gregg Falls.

Kellys Falls Dam lease was generating $7,000 of income to the state, Gregg Falls Dam is generating $200,000 per year.  They have owned these dams (and leases) for over 30 years.  The operating costs of these dams have been covered 100% by the operators, so all of these funds ($207,000 per year) have gone to repairs and maintenance of other dams that the State owns.

It was suggested via an email to Corey Clark, Chief Engineer, NH DES, on 8/23/23, that since we are thinking about the 3 Dams as a “whole”, might it be prudent for the State to operate and maintain the Kelllys Falls Dam in non-hydro mode (and therefore no fish ladder requirement)  in order to protect the income stream from the Eagle Creek lease (by not passing the requirement to them upstream)?  And wouldn’t it make sense to use funds generated from that lease for this purpose?

Lastly, they made it clear that DES is obligated to follow the Federal Requirements and those of FERC, and that if federal funding is to be used on any Dam project, addressing the upstream fish passage is required.  Considerations of property owners, property valuations, property taxes, recreational lake users, town benefits and even current wildlife habitats, while they are sympathetic to,  can play no role in their decision process.

For more information, please contact:
Corey J. Clark, Chief Engineer
NH DES, Water Division, Dam Bureau Email: corey.clark@des.nh.gov
Phone: (603) 271-1961
Derek Horne, Town Administrator Town of Goffstown
Email: Derek. Horne@ GoffstownNH.Gov Phone: (603) 497-8990 ext. 101
Additional information about the Piscataquog River Dams can be found on the Goffstown website at: https://www.goffstown.com/togprd

 

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