Welcome to the website of the York River Wild and Scenic Study Committee, which includes appointees from Eliot, Kittery, South Berwick, and York. The committee is tasked with evaluating York River for designation into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. For more information, contact York River Study Coordinator Jennifer Hunter.  

In November 2017, the York River Study Committee unanimously endorsed pursuingPartnership Wild and Scenic River designation for the York River and its major tributaries – see Designation Recommendation Overview. The York River Watershed Stewardship Plan is the culmination of over 30 months of work by the York River 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. Now we need Congress to pass the bill to designate York River as “Wild and Scenic.” 

Read more about what makes York River special: Poster on York River’s outstanding resources


Designation updates (December 2021): The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources passed Senate Bill S. 491 on November 18, 2021. The Senate Committee reported the bill favorably, without amendment, to the full Senate in December. 
The House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands held a hearing on H.R. 1469 on November 9, 2021. Congresswoman Pingree and York River Study coordinator Jennifer Hunter submitted testimony in support of the bill.
The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks convened a hearing on S. 491 on June 23, 2021. Bill co-sponsor and Subcommittee Chairman Senator King introduced the bill at the hearing, and York River Study coordinator Jennifer Hunter testified. READ MORE: Press release from Senator King following the hearing.
York River designation bills were reintroduced this session (117th Congress) in the House and Senate. House Bill H.R. 1469 and Senate Bill S. 491 were reintroduced March 1, 2021 with support from the full Maine Congressional delegation. READ MORE: Press release from Maine delegation.

In addition, Congresswoman Pingree introduced an amendment to the Wilderness Protection Act (H.R. 803) that included designation of the York River into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. H.R. 803 passed the House on February 26, 2021 and now is being taken up by the Senate. READ MORE: Press release from Congresswoman Pingree.

Focus on York River and Climate Change:  The committee developed materials for several public events in 2020 hosted by York Ready for 100%–visit their site to learn more and sign up for the York EcoHOMES initiative!

Upcoming events: 

  • The York River Study Committee currently convenes its meetings on Zoom. 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. Please contact Jennifer Hunter for meeting information. The Committee last met on November 23, 2021, on Zoom. 

York River Wild and Scenic 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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