Shoreland Water Quality Protection Act

  • What is the Shoreland Water Quality Protection Act (SWQPA)?
    The SWQPA (RSA 483-B), originally named the Comprehensive Shoreland Protection Act (CSPA) was enacted by the 1991 session of the Legislature. The act established minimum standards for the subdivision, use and development of the shorelands along the state’s larger waterbodies. In April and July of 2008, the act was amended and several changes took effect including limitations on impervious surfaces, revised vegetation maintenance requirements and the establishment of a permit requirement for many, but not all, construction, excavation and filling activities within the protected shoreland. During the 2011 legislative session, the CSPA was renamed the Shoreland Water Quality Protection Act and changes were made to the vegetation requirements within the natural woodland and waterfront buffers, the impervious surface limitations and a new shoreland permit by notification process was established.
  • Which bodies of water are protected under the SWQPA?
    All lakes, ponds and impoundments greater than 10 acres, all 4th order and greater streams and rivers, all designated rivers and river segments under RSA 483 (The Rivers Management & Protection Act) and all waters subject to the ebb and flow of the tide (including tidal marshes, rivers and estuaries). Waterbodies protected under the SWQPA are located on the Consolidated List of Water Bodies subject to the Shoreland Water Quality Protection Act.
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