Spruce Creek Watershed

"A significant estuarine resource"

Spruce Creek is 5.25 miles long, beginning in Eliot, and drops 60 feet from its headwaters to the sea. As it moves through Kittery it becomes tidal. In addition to its namesake, the watershed consists of Hutchins Creek, Wilson Creek, Cutts Pond, Deering Pond, and numerous small streams, ponds, and wetlands.


Drainage: 9.6 square miles
Drinking water source for: None
Receives wastewater from: None
Significant water features: Cutts Pond, Deering Pond

Watershed Description

Spruce Creek meets restrictions at the Maine Turnpike and Route 1, where it becomes tidal and brackish. Here, the creek becomes shallow and broad with approximately 2.5 square miles of clam flats exposed at low tide. This portion of the watershed is important habitat for waterfowl and wading birds. The state owned site of Fort McClary sits at the mouth of Spruce Creek where it joins the Piscataqua River. 

Land cover within the watershed includes several small blocks of forest and agricultural land, some of which provide significant habitat for the New England cottontail. However, there is significant development within the watershed surrounding Route 1 and the Maine Turnpike, as well as the tidal portion of Spruce Creek. Due to the high percentage of impervious surface in this area, potentially contaminated stormwater runoff flows into the creek, which is a local conservation worry.

The increased runoff and pollution into the watershed has caused it to be listed by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection as a Non-point Priority Watershed for bacteria, toxic contamination, low dissolved oxygen, ability to support commercial marine resources (clams), and ecological value. As of 2012, it was listed as impaired under Maine's Integrated Water Quality and Assessment Report and is one of seven coastal watersheds most at risk from development within the state.

Local Information

Conservation Organization

Towns in Watershed

  • Eliot
  • Kittery

Spruce Creek Association

The Spruce Creek Association provides a framework to coordinate the assessment of the watershed’s conditions and to implement and monitor proven management practices that support environmental and economic stability for the community.

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