last changed 10/1/2012
Welcome to the Lake Massabesic watershed, one of the most beautiful areas in southern New Hampshire. This land is special because it collects and stores water from rainfall or melting snow that provides drinking water for 159,000 people in the regional Manchester area. Deer, raccoon, fox, loons, hawks, and many other species of wildlife are part of this watershed. Game fish include large and small mouth bass, white and yellow perch,
and the lake is periodically stocked with trout by the N.H. Department of Fish and Game.
Watershed management also includes an active forestry program and, under the direction of a professional forester, the Manchester Water Works annually performs a selective harvest on about 300 acres of forest. The purpose of this program is to develop the best tree cover for the forest environment and promote controlled water retention and runoff.
Control of recreation is another component of sound watershed management. Our watershed officers, the men and women with green uniforms and gold badges, regulate watershed activities. They also provide the public with educational information about the watershed, as well as assistance should trouble or emergencies arise. You can help them in doing their jobs by complying with the Posted Rules.
The quality of water is directly related to the quality of the watershed. The Manchester Water Works and you are stewards of Lake Massabesic and its watershed land. Each of us should be responsible for protecting the water supply and preserving this valuable resource for future generations.
Lake Massabesic Watershed
Lake Massabesic, a name derived from the Indians, meaning "the place of much water," has a surface area of about 2,500 acres and a gross storage capacity of nearly 15 billion gallons.
Two large ponds joined at Deer Neck Bridge on Route #28 Bypass comprise the entire lake. The so-called front pond, located on the eastern side of the bridge is within the town of Auburn while the back pond located on the western side of the bridge is divided north and south by the Auburn-Manchester town lines. Together they encompass about 28 miles of shoreline and, when filled to the crest of the main outlet dam, the lake surface elevation is 250.43 feet above mean sea level.
Supplementing the lake supply is an upland man-made impoundment known as Tower Hill Pond, which is located in the towns of Auburn and Candia.
The land area or watershed which drains into Lake Massabesic is approximately 42 square miles in area and includes the 12.5 square miles which drains into Tower Hill Pond. In order to protect water quality, the Department owns and controls slightly more than 8,000 acres of land. As added protection, the Water Works also employs a staff of watershed patrol officers who monitor all activity on the watershed and enforce the regulations pertaining to Lake Massabesic.