Lamprey River

New Hampshire

From the Bunker Pond Dam to the confluence with the Piscassic River, the Lamprey River's shoreline, natural floodplain, and wetlands provide a range of wildlife habitats. Currently, the Lamprey has the largest quantity of anadromous fish in the Great Bay watershed, and it hosts substantial numbers of freshwater mussel species. The river's resources include archaeological sites of prehistoric and nineteenth century culture, which are representative of the early settlement of New Hampshire's seacoast region. It is managed through a local-state-federal partnership, the Lamprey River Advisory Committee.

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Designated Reach

November 12, 1996, and May 2, 2000. The segment from the Bunker Pond Dam in the town of Epping to the confluence with the Piscassic River in the vicinity of the Durham-Newmarket town line.

Outstandingly Remarkable Values


There are two well-studied and highly significant archaeological sites along the Lamprey River at Wadleigh Falls in Lee and Wiswall Falls in Durham. The Wadleigh Falls site is among the ten most significant sites in New Hampshire. It is cited as "rich in prehistoric cultural remains found in an undisturbed context." The site was first occupied 8,630 (± 150) years ago, placing it among the earliest dated sites in the state. The Wiswall Falls Mill site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It contains the remains of nine separate structures and represents the town's most important example of nineteenth century manufacturing. The archaeological potential of the whole corridor is extremely high, based on the quality of the known sites, the concentration of pre-Colonial activity along this river, and the undeveloped shoreline.


The Lamprey River is the most important tributary to the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Its undeveloped and natural floodplain, shoreline, and wetlands provide an outstanding diversity of wildlife habitats. In addition, the study segment supports regionally significant populations of freshwater mussel species, including the endangered brook Rooter.


The Lamprey River is recognized as the state's most important anadromous fishery because of its species diversity and habitat quality. The anadromous fish species in the Lamprey River are Atlantic salmon, alewife, American shad, blueback herring, and sea lamprey.


The entire Lamprey River corridor from West Epping to Great Bay is both remarkably undeveloped and remarkably undisturbed, offering a variety of outstanding wildlife habitats. Of particular importance are the river's intact riparian vegetation, natural floodplains, and associated wetlands. The river is home to a viable population of the brook floater mussel, which is a state listed endangered species and a candidate for federal listing.


Recreational — 23.5 miles; Total — 23.5 miles.
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