A New Hampshire lake during summer

New Hampshire 2020 Legislative Session

NH LAKES works with New Hampshire legislators, state agency staff, and our partners, to submit bills that will help ensure our lakes are clean and healthy, now and in the future! While NH LAKES takes strong positions of support or opposition on some bills, we also track a large number of bills as they move through the legislative process. Below, you’ll learn about bills we support directly and those we choose to track.

For more information, email or call Tom O’Brien, NH LAKES President, at tobrien@nhlakes.org or (603) 226-0299.

House Bill 137, strongly supported by NH LAKES, was passed in 2019, establishing a wake boat study commission, made up of an inclusive group of stakeholders, to identify the impacts of wake boats on New Hampshire. The commission studied impacts to shoreline erosion, private property, and the safety of swimmers and other boaters. It will also address the economic impact of wake boats and the possible spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) from these watercraft. NH LAKES served on this study commission which has completed its findings and report.

Wake (ballast) boat study commission report.

Senate Bill 491, relative to shoreland water quality. SB491 was ‘Laid on the Table’ by the Senate, which killed the bill. NH LAKES strongly supported the bill because it would have increased the natural woodland buffer standard (set in place by the Shoreland Water Quality Protection Act) from 25% to 50% on lots larger than one-half acre. This increase would safeguard our lakes and ensure they are better protected against polluted runoff water, while still allowing property owners to enjoy shorefront homes, views, and investments – and clean and healthy lakes. We will continue to work on improving the natural woodland buffer standards for developing shoreland.

Senate Bill 713-FN, regarding winter maintenance of paved roads and other areas and reducing road salt. SB713-FN was ‘Laid on the Table’ by the House, which killed the bill. NH LAKES strongly supported SB713-FN because it would have expanded the Green SnowPro program to municipalities. Currently, only commercial entities can participate in the full program. Through the Green SnowPro program, salt applicators are trained to use salt in ways that reduce its impact on lakes and other water resources. It also helps relieve some liability associated with using less salt on roads, sidewalks, and parking lots. This is an important opportunity for municipalities to improve water quality.

House Bill 1124, relative to the definition of a prime wetland. HB1124 was ‘Laid on the Table’ by the Senate, which killed the bill. NH LAKES supported HB1124, which would have increased the area of a wetland eligible for a prime wetland designation. The goal of this legislation is to include the “fingers and toes” of a wetland that meet certain exceptional function criteria. Wetlands help protect and improve water quality, provide wildlife habitat, and reduce the impacts of floods.

Senate Bill 627, establishing a dock registration procedure. SB627 was ‘Laid on the Table’ by the House, which killed the bill. It would have created a voluntary program for dock owners to register their dock with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. Agency staff hoped this program would reduce complaints and conflict, improve record keeping, and ensure routine permit requests are hassle-free and environmentally protective.

House Bill 1609, relative to seasonal platforms on public waters of the state. HB1609 was ‘Laid on the Table’ by the Senate, which killed the bill. Inflatable platforms, such as large swans and climbing walls, are growing in popularity and size on lakes and ponds in New Hampshire. HB1609 would have allowed the Department of Safety, Division of Marine Patrol, to regulate the placement and safety of these seasonal platforms. NH LAKES had concerns about some elements of this bill, but supports the concept of Marine Patrol having oversight over the placement and safety of these platforms