A New Hampshire lake during summer

New Hampshire 2022 Legislative Session

Nearly 1,000 bills were introduced during the 2022 New Hampshire Legislative Session. Below is a list of just some of the many bills NH LAKES tracked. To learn more, go to gencourt.state.nh.us.

Our lakes need YOUR support at the State House. If you would like follow up information on any of the topics discussed, or are willing to take action for our lakes, email or call Michelle Davis Farnham, NH LAKES Policy and Advocacy Program Manager at mdavis@nhlakes.org or (603) 226-0299.

Shoreland and Wetland Protection

HB 1227 relative to the definition of prime wetland, was voted Inexpedient to Legislate. It would have increased the area of a wetland eligible for a prime wetland designation. Wetlands help protect and improve water quality, provide wildlife habitat, and reduce the impacts of floods.

HB 1418, relative to permit by notification for certain homeowner shoreland projects, was voted Inexpedient to Legislate. It would have simplified and streamlined the wetlands permit-by-notification application process. This work is already being undertaken by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, rendering this bill unnecessary.

Polluted Runoff Water

HB 1042, requiring certain health advisory notices to be provided to renters of vacation or recreational rental units, was voted Inexpedient to Legislate. This bill would have required information in rental agreements to include information about where to find toxic cyanobacteria bloom or E. coli alerts in an attempt to reduce visitors’ exposure to toxic cyanobacteria or fecal bacteria in New Hampshire waterbodies.

HB 1066, requiring the commissioner of the department of environmental services (DES) to prepare a plan relative to cyanobacterial blooms in New Hampshire, is waiting to be signed by the Governor.  In addition to the plan, the bill creates an advisory committee to DES made up of expert stakeholders from state agencies, nonprofits, the medical, veterinary and scientific communities, and members of local lake and watershed associations.

HB 1454-FN, relative to permits for the siting of new landfills, sought to establish a method for determining the distance a new landfill can be located from rivers, lakes, or coastal waters. The setback would be determined to prevent any landfill spill from reaching surface or groundwater sources for a minimum of five years, allowing for remediation and planning. The current setback distance for landfills from surface waters is 200 feet. The bill was vetoed by the Governor and it is unclear yet whether there is enough support from the legislature to override the veto.

Responsible Use of Public Waters

HB 1071, which would have required a 250-foot setback for the activity of wake surfing, was voted Inexpedient to Legislate. Wake surfing is a water sport in which a rider on a surf board rides the boat’s wake without the assistance of a tow rope. Wake surfing requires large, enhanced wakes—much larger than wakes required for other tow sports like waterskiing and tubing.

When produced in certain areas, enhanced waves can erode shorelines, disturb lake bottom sediments and critical fish and bird nesting habitat. A wave action study released by the University of Minnesota concluded at least 500 feet are needed for enhanced waves used for wake surfing to diminish to similar wake wave characteristics as the non-wakesurf boat reference.

HB 1424, which would have would have removed the 45 miles per hour daytime speed limit on Lake Winnipesaukee, was voted Inexpedient to Legislate.

HB 1528, establishes a voluntary donation program for paddlers and other non-motorized users to support public access at New Hampshire Fish and Game Department boat ramps was signed by the Governor. Fish and Game is in the process of developing the program. Of the 135 Fish and Game boat ramps, 66 are car-top access only.