New Rules for Stream Crossings
All five of Governor John Lynch’s vetoes were sustained yesterday in the N.H. Legislature, although pushing through the bill to repeal certain gun laws (House Bill 1161) was a narrow miss. The House voted by an overwhelming majority to override Lynch’s veto, and the Senate was shy only one vote. In the end, the veto stands and current gun laws will remain.
The definition of who is subject to right-to-know laws will also not be changed; nor will public access to collective bargaining agreements, as the vetoes on House Bills 53 and 379 were also sustained. Members of the executive branch Ethics Committee will still not be allowed to do any political campaigning (Senate Bill 440).
And without House Bill 1490, no citizens’ task force to study the state budget will be formed and no changes will be made—yet—to the Banking Department’s authority to regulate financial institutions. Multiple investigations into the Financial Resources Mortgage debacle are underway, and Lynch said he didn’t want to institute changes proposed in HB 1490 because they would conflict with the Attorney General’s recommendations for reform.
New Rules for Road-Stream Crossings
The heavy rains predicted for much of the state tonight—and the backdrop of major flooding in recent memory—underscore the importance of carefully managing waterways. This brings us to new rules about stream crossings for roadways, logging and farming activities, and residential or commercial development.
New Hampshire roads cross streams at an estimated 17,000 locations statewide. Every crossing is also a potential obstacle to the water’s flow.
After “significant public comment,” the Department of Environmental Services has developed new rules for managing these stream crossings. The rules, which went into effect in May of this year, have the major goals of:
- Improving safety by establishing standards that lessen flood risk and reduce wash-outs of culverts and bridges, which can jeopardize property and human lives both upstream and downstream.
- Preserving the habitat of existing streams, restoring degraded streams, and allowing for passage of sediment and aquatic life during high or low water conditions.
In addition to the rules, DES developed a presentation to explain them. It’s taking this show on the road to review what is now required for different types of stream crossings. The presentation also covers which requirements apply to existing crossings, which apply to new crossings, and which requirements have not changed.
There are four more presentations scheduled around the state. Each is a double-header, with the option of attending from 2 to 4 p.m. or 6 to 8 p.m.
- Oct. 19 in Manchester
- Oct. 20 in Belmont
- Oct. 25 in Greenland
- Nov. 3 in Littleton
>> You can also learn more about the new stream crossing rules here.
This Daily Update was written by Michael McCord with contributions from Hilary Niles.