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 


Designation Bill introduced in the Senate: On December 1, Senator King and Senator Collins introduced Senate Bill S.4938 to designate York River into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Read more here: Press Release – King, Collins Introduce Legislation to Designate York River as Wild and Scenic  
House Bill status: York River designation bill HR1248, introduced by Congresswoman Pingree and Congressman Golden in February 2019, was favorably reported to the House of Representatives by the House Natural Resources Committee on November 27, 2020. 

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.

Poster on York River outstanding resources

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.

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.nps.gov/YorkRiverStudy.  See NPS Press Release.

Upcoming events: 

  • 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:


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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