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Salmon Falls River

Between New Hampshire and Maine

The Salmon Falls River runs for 37.5 miles from its headwaters at Great East Lake to its confluence with the Cocheco River. There are 15 dams on the river. The furthest downstream creates the head of tide at the Route 4 bridge in South Berwick.


Drainage: 238 square miles
Drinking water source for: Berwick, Somersworth
Receives wastewater from: Berwick, South Berwick, Milton, Somersworth, Rollinsford
Significant water features: Great East Lake, Lovell Lake, Lake Murdock, Little River, Branch River

Watershed Description

Upper Reach

The upper reach of the watershed includes large areas of forested and agricultural land. Development is concentrated mainly around the lakes and ponds. Parcels of state and privately managed conservation land are located in Milton, Brookfield, and Middleton, NH.

Middle Section

The middle section of the watershed is characterized by increased development around the town centers and major roads. Large blocks of forest, wetland, and agricultural land are scattered throughout the area and provide significant habitat for many species of wildlife and plants. Several parcels of municipal, public, and privately controlled conservation land are located in Lebanon, Berwick, and Rochester.

Lower Section

The lower section of the watershed is highly developed around the centers of Berwick, South Berwick, and Somersworth. High levels of impervious surface contribute to increased levels of stormwater runoff into the watershed. Several large blocks of forest and wetland provide significant habitat. Several parcels of state, municipal, and privately managed conservation land are located in the towns of South Berwick, Somersworth, and Rollinsford.

Local Information

Towns in Watershed

Maine: Acton, Berwick, Eliot, Lebanon, North Berwick, Sanford, Shapleigh, South Berwick

New Hampshire: Brookfield, Dover, Farmington, Middleton, Milton, Rochester, Rollinsford, Somersworth, Wakefield, Wolfeboro


Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative

This collaborative coordinates long-term source-water protection efforts among planning commissions, land trusts, watershed associations, water systems, and town, state, and federal agencies in New Hampshire and Maine. The collaborative's goal is to protect and sustain high quality drinking water in the Salmon Falls River watershed.

Learn More