In 1995, several people living in towns along and near the Exeter met to discuss working together to raise awareness about the river and advocate for its protection. Established in 1996, the Exeter-Squamscott River Local Advisory Committee acts as a steward of the Exeter and Squamscott Rivers, working with landowners, town government, developers, conservation organizations, and state and federal agencies to advise and advocate for the protection of the river’s water quality, water quantity, wildlife habitat, and scenic, recreational and historical resources.
The Exeter River and Squamscott River are two names used to describe one river, connecting a dozen communities. The Exeter River rises from spring-fed ponds in Chester and flows for thirty three miles through Sandown, Raymond, Fremont, Danville, Brentwood and Exeter. In downtown Exeter, the river becomes tidally influenced, and its name changes to the Squamscott River. The Squamscott River flows through Exeter, Newfields and Stratham before entering the Great Bay estuary. Several tributary streams flow into the river from the towns of Kingston, East Kingston and Kensington.
Exeter-Squamscott River Local Advisory Committee (ESRLAC) members are volunteers representing these communities. ESRLAC meets several times a year to review development proposals impacting the river, participate in local and regional water quality protection projects, and discuss issues of common concern to communities along the river. ESRLAC’s work is guided by goals and actions outlined in a Management Plan. ESRLAC operates under the auspices of the New Hampshire Rivers Management and Protection Program, established by NH RSA 482 to protect rivers for their outstanding natural and cultural resources. The Committee works with the Rockingham Planning Commission to conduct business.