Welcome to the website of the York River Study Committee, which includes appointees from Eliot, Kittery, South Berwick, and York. For more information, contact York River Study Coordinator Jennifer Hunter. View the Calendar for the latest information on meetings and events. Sign up for email announcements about the York River Study (on average, about one per month).
In November 2017, the York River Study Committee unanimously endorsed pursuing a Partnership Wild and Scenic River designation for the York River and its major tributaries – see Designation Recommendation Overview. The York River Watershed Stewardship Plan was approved by the York River Study Committee in July 2018. The Stewardship Plan is the culmination of over 30 months of work by the Study Committee to gather information about the York River and its watershed. The plan is available at town halls and libraries. An accompanying “Story Map” – or online tour – provides highlights, maps and data from the Stewardship Plan. Communities endorsed river designation and the Stewardship Plan in late 2018, through votes on warrant articles in Eliot and York and adoption of resolutions by town councils in Kittery and South Berwick.
On February 14, 2019, Congresswoman Pingree introduced H.R. 1248 to designate the York River into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, with bill co-sponsorship by Rep. Jared Golden. The House Natural Resources Committee held a subcommittee hearing on H.R. 1248 on May 22, 2019. The bill’s status can be viewed online: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1248
Maine House and Senate support river designation: The Maine legislature gave unanimous approval to a Joint Resolution supporting designation of the York River into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System on Thursday, February 27, 2020. The resolution was sponsored by Representatives Lydia Blume, Patty Hymanson, Michele Meyer, Tiffany Roberts, and Deane Rykerson and Senator Mark Lawrence. York River Study Committee members were guests at the House Session on February 25.
York River and Climate Change: The committee developed materials for public events on climate change to highlight potential impacts to resources and actions to address threats.
- Poster on resiliency and adaptation measures
- Climate change impacts to Gulf of Maine
- Recommendations from the York River Watershed Stewardship Plan
NPS York River Study Report – comment period ended April 10: On January 10, 2020, the National Park Service released its York River Wild and Scenic River Study Report. The report describes the approach and findings of the local York River Wild and Scenic Study, including suitability and eligibility for river designation. It includes outcomes of votes taken in the four watershed communities in support of designation in late 2018, and it includes 33 letters of support from local groups and community leaders. The report is posted on the National Park Service’s Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website for review through April 10, 2020, https://parkplanning.
- The York River Study Committee currently convenes its meetings using Zoom. Please contact Jennifer Hunter for meeting information. Video or call-in participation options are available. When held, meetings occur on the 4th Tuesday of the month, starting at 5:30 p.m.
York River Study in the news:
- Senators introduce long-awaited bill to designate York River ‘wild and scenic,’ Seacoast Online, December 1, 2020
- State Senate backs York River ‘wild and scenic’ designation, York Weekly / Seacoast Online, March 2, 2020
- Senators await public input on York River ‘wild and scenic’ designation, York Weekly / Seacoast Online, January 28, 2020
- Study concludes York River is eligible for Wild and Scenic river designation, Portland Press Herald, January 13, 2020
Towns that are part of the 33 square mile York River watershed
Dams (or remnants of past dams) in the watershed, including historic dams originally built to harness the river’s power for saw and grist mills
Species of fish found in tidal habitats during a 2001 study of the York River
Miles of streams and rivers in the York River watershed
Acres of salt marsh in the York River estuary that capture and store carbon and provide valuable habitat for many species
The year the first dam was built in the watershed
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