Conservation Commission

The Harrisville Conservation Commission is dedicated to identifying and preserving areas of vital natural and cultural resources in our community. If you are interested in local conservation and prevention, consider joining the Conservation Commission – we’re currently looking for new members. Meetings are the first Wednesday of each month.

You’ll find information about current and past projects on this page. Here are a few of our recent efforts:


Harry Wolhandler, Chairman
Don Scott, Vice Chairman
Les LaMois, Secretary
Andrea Polizos
Kathy Scott, Select Board Representative
Earl Horn
Diana Shonk

Protecting Harrisville’s Important Aquifers

The Harrisville Conservation Commission has been working with a subcommittee of the Harrisville Planning Board to explore ways to protect the town’s three aquifers:

  1. The first is a major stratified drift aquifer located under the east part of town from Eastview to the Peterborough town line.
  2. The second is an overburden aquifer that feeds the Town Spring on the south shore of Lake Skatutekee. It begins at the top of Beech Hill and flows downhill to the north through a deep bed of gravel. This aquifer covers nearly all the south shore of the lake, with the exception of the western-most portion of the shore.
  3. The third is a small stratified drift aquifer near Chesham.

Proposed Harrisville Aquifer Protection Ordinance 12-22-2014

As the 2013 Harrisville Natural Resource Inventory discovered, Harrisville residents place a high value on clean water in all its forms. This ordinance is recommended to ensure that you, your children and their children will continue to enjoy the wonderful, clean water we have today.

Protecting Harrisville’s Historic Spring

Harrisville_Town_Spring_colThe Harrisville Spring is a local treasure. Many local folks rely on the spring as a source of fresh drinking water. It produces nearly 200 gallons-per-minute of clear, fresh water, and apparently has done so for the past 150 years. The current spring output on Skatutakee Road is located at the same site as the water tanks that supplied the railroad steam engines in the 1800’s and early part of this century.

The Conservation Commission is exploring ways to protect the Spring. We commissioned an engineering firm (Nobis Engineering) to provide a detailed map that outlines the aquifer and the vital areas within it that most directly feed the spring’s waters. Click this link to view the map and additional notes about the Spring Aquifer.

We encourage all town residents to protect your valuable groundwater resources from contamination and pollution through proper disposal of all hazardous substances and proper septic system performance.

New Report: Harrisville’s Natural Resource Inventory 2013

  • NRI-Cover-ImageDuring much of 2012 and 2013 the HCC completed the Town’s first natural resource inventory (NRI) which is available at the Town Hall.
  • Major NRI recommendations have been incorporated into revisions to the Town’s Master Plan and continue to guide efforts to preserve our natural and cultural heritage.
  • Click these links to view the NRI and appendices in PDF formats (or right click and “save target as” to download to your computer):
    Harrisville NRI Report (Final 8.3MB) 10-1-2013
    Harrisville NRI Report (Appendices 3.4MB) 9-30-2013

Other recent work of the Harrisville Conservation Commission:

  • Attention to the issue of invasive vegetation has resulted in illustrated printed materials and articles in Common Threads describing actions to be taken.For Information about Japanese Knotweed and how it can be managed, click here:  Information for homeowners about stormwater management can be found here:
  • During Old Home Days, the HCC has a table with maps and materials to inform residents of the many natural features of the Town and some of the challenges to those features.
  • The Planning Board in cooperation with the HCC undertook revisions of Article IX the Lakeside Residential District and XV on the Shoreland Overlay Ordinance. These were adopted at the Town Meeting in 2014.
  • Roadside Clean-up has been an annual activity of the HCC with the full cooperation of many Town residents.
  • VLAP testing was facilitated by the offer of the HCC to pay for the testing for those lakes with no lake association.

View the Harrisville Conservation Commission’s monthly minutes for more detail on recent and past activities.

The Harrisville Conservation Commission is based on NH statutes…..

36-A:2 Conservation Commission. – A city or town which accepts the provisions of this chapter may establish a conservation commission, hereinafter called the commission, for the proper utilization and protection of the natural resources and for the protection of watershed resources of said city or town. Such commission shall conduct researches into its local land and water areas and shall seek to coordinate the activities of unofficial bodies organized for similar purposes, and may advertise, prepare, print and distribute books, maps, charts, plans and pamphlets which in its judgment it deems necessary for its work. It shall keep an index of all open space and natural, aesthetic or ecological areas within the city or town, as the case may be, with the plan of obtaining information pertinent to proper utilization of such areas, including lands owned by the state or lands owned by a town or city. It shall keep an index of all marshlands, swamps and all other wet lands in a like manner, and may recommend to the city council or selectmen or to the department of resources and economic development a program for the protection, development or better utilization of all such areas. It shall keep accurate records of its meetings and actions and shall file an annual report which shall be printed in the annual town or municipal report. The commission may appoint such clerks and other employees or subcommittees as it may from time to time require.