Welcome to the website of the York River Wild and Scenic Study Committee, which was formed in 2015 and includes appointees from Eliot, Kittery, South Berwick, and York. The committee was tasked with evaluating York River for designation into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. 

⇒⇒⇒ On December 23, 2022, York River was designated by Congress into the national system as a Partnership Wild and Scenic River. President Biden signed the bill into law on December 29, 2022 (Public Law No. 117-328).

What’s next?… now that the river is designated, read about next steps and plans to form the York River Wild and Scenic Stewardship Committee: Stewardship Committee-background and next steps & Stewardship Committee-description and responsibilities. Towns are in the process of appointing members. 

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. 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.

Contact the York River Study Committee: Email Judy Spiller (Chair) or Paul Dest (Vice Chair)


Stewardship Committee – member application: The Town of York will appoint members to serve on the York River Watershed Stewardship Committee. Interested York residents can apply through the town’s Stewardship Committee Membership Application 2023. (Residents of Kittery, Eliot, and South Berwick should contact their town office for information on its committee member application and appointment process.)
Designation accomplished! (December 2022): Congress authorized designation of York River into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System on December 23, 2022. The designation authorization was included in the omnibus government spending bill that was passed by Congress and signed by President Biden on December 29, 2022. READ THE PRESS RELEASE

Upcoming events: 

  • The York River Study Committee will meet on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 at 5:30 p.m. at the York Land Trust office (1 Long Neck Marsh Road, York). Contact Judy Spiller for more information.  

York River Wild and Scenic Study in the news:

Information about York River and designation:

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

See the Study Committee’s Designation Recommendation Overview

View climate resiliency and adaptation measures: York River and Climate Change Poster


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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