Nashua River Watershed Association Nashua River Watershed  Association & The Massachusetts Watershed Initiative
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Subbasins - Flints Brook
Geographic & Ecosystem Characteristics | Land Ownership & Land Use Patterns
Major Water Resource Issues | Recreation & Priority Habitat Areas
Resource Protection Goals & Recommended Actions

Primary Municipality: Hollis, NH

Most threatened waterbodies: Flints Pond
Location within the Nashua River Watershed Water Resources Habitat Analysis
Open Space Water Resources Natural Heritage

Geographic Overview and Ecosystem Characteristics: This subbasin1 completely lies in the community of Hollis, New Hampshire. Located in the Southern New England Coastal Plains and Hills ecoregion of southcentral New Hampshire, Flints Brook flows into the Nashua River downstream of Runnels Bridge by Route 111. Streamflow, as in most of New England, has significant seasonal changes. Pine Hill is the high elevation in the subbasin. Route 130 passes through this subbasin. Open rolling scenery with orchards and farms characterizes the subbasin.

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Land Ownership and Land Use4 Patterns: Tremendous development pressure in southcentral New Hampshire. According to a recent report, New Hampshire's Changing Landscape by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (2001), growth projections in Hollis are astronomical: an approximate 76% increase.

The land-use pattern is largely forest (68%) or wetland. Low-density residential settlement as well as concentrated settlements and strip development located near town centers and along major roads account for rapidly increasing residential use. A relatively high percentage of total land area is agriculture and/or open space. Yet increasing amounts of total impervious surfaces — namely, paved areas such as streets, driveways, and parking lots — for this subbasin indicates that issues of compromised stormwater and other non-point sources of contaminants (for example: pesticides, fertilizers, oils, asphalt, pet wastes, salt, sediment, litter and other debris) are a growing concern.

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Major Water Resource Issues: Flints Brook, whose origin is in Flints Pond, is classified as a cold-water stream supporting native brook trout. Flints Pond is fed by Parker Pond and Muddy Brooks and is bordered by extensive wetlands both upstream and downstream of the pond. There are milfoil problems in Flints Pond, which had been considered for dredging by the US Army Corps of Engineers project. Polluted runoff and sedimentation is an increasingly serious issue in rapidly developing communities.

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Recreation and Priority Habitat Areas: Spalding Park Town Forest, Brookdale Fruit Farm, and Flints Brook greenway are the largest blocks of protected open space in this subbasin.

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Resource Protection Goals and Recommended Actions

GOAL: Protect wildlife habitat and migration corridors in the subbasin.

  • Encourage protection of Parker Pond bog area in Hollis, NH.
  • Sponsor local events to raise public understanding about native wildlife and the impacts of development patterns on ecosystem and habitat integrity.
  • Work with local conservation commissions to gain their backing of natural resource and habitat inventories.

GOAL: Protect high-priority open space, vistas, and community character in the subbasin.

  • Work toward ideal of at least 25-50% protected open space in each municipality.
  • Work with municipal officials to develop subdivision standards that require proponents to devote at least 50% of land (not including already undevelopable wet or steep land) for open space conservation and encourage mixed-use development and cluster zoning by-right bylaws.
  • In New Hampshire, 5% stumpage tax from forestry activities and fines for removal of a property from current use for development should be directed into a municipalities' dedicated conservation fund rather than the general fund.

GOAL: Increase recreational opportunities throughout the subbasin.

  • Survey invasive plant infestation and conduct spot treatment to control spread of noxious plants at Flints Pond.
  • Educate the public and municipal departments (especially DPWs) on efforts relating to invasive species identification and removal.

GOAL: Improve water quality in the subbasin.

  • Help develop and disseminate Best Management Practices (BMPs) for small-scale, hobby type agricultural operations.
  • Identify underground storage tanks (USTs) and work to have them removed.

GOAL: Reduce potential negative effects of some development in this subbasin.

  • Monitor development along the banks of Flints Brook to ensure building practices are sensitive to riparian habitat and water quality considerations.
  • Help local volunteer board members responsible for development and land-use rulemaking and enforcement get technical assistance and information regarding techniques to control/guide land use and development balanced with adequate resource protection.
  • Increase or establish staff hours for municipal conservation agents to more effectively monitor construction sites runoff and assist with the preparation of bylaws such as erosion-sedimentation controls.

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* See glossary.

1 For this Plan, subbasins were delineated and analyzed using USGS defined boundaries which sometimes are truncated at the gaging station and may not appear to be consistent with topographically determined drainage areas.

2 The Coastal Plains and Hills ecoregion is an area with generally similar soils, vegetation, shape of the land, and especially, cool climate and bedrock geology (glacial tills and outwash deposits). The Commonwealth of Massachusetts considers this physiographic region the "Central Upland" region.

3 Corresponding to seasonal stream flow changes are notable spikes in bacteria levels during summer and fall. Seasonal cycles of high bacteria concentrations may be attributed to decreased dilution during summer months, when tributary flows are lowest. (Wachusett Reservoir Watershed Protection Plan Update 1998, pp. 2-29)

4 "Land Use" description at

5 According to the Center for Watershed Protection's Rapid Watershed Assessment Handbook protocol, an area with less than 10% (8 - 12%) impervious surfaces is considered "partially threatened"; less than 8% is considered "sensitive" or what one would say is a relatively pristine environment;" 12 - 20% is considered "threatened"; and more than 20% is considered "non-supporting" or urbanized. The figures cited in the narrative are based on NRW Estimated Impervious Cover by Sub-basin based on '85/'92 Land Use: MDC '98 Methods Estimate by Bruce Bayne and Jo Anne Carr of the EOEA Nashua River Watershed Team.

6 Primary pollutants of concern in stormwater are suspended solids, nutrients, metals, oil and grease, temperature and bacteria. The sources of bacteria in urban settings are typically human litter and animal waste left on driveways, lawns, commercial and residential streets, parking lots and rooftops.


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