Perennial Streams and Water Bodies in Milford

Rivers, brooks, lakes, and ponds are important areas of groundwater discharge and recharge. Along with their banks and surrounding areas, they serve as habitat for many species of plants, fish, and waterfowl. Where accessible to the public, these areas provide opportunities for fishing, boating, canoeing, hiking, skating, and picnicking. Finally, they provide scenic views and open space, which contribute to Milford's aesthetic appeal and rural character.

Prehistoric and early historic archaeological sites may be found in direct association with rivers, brooks, and ponds. Prehistoric sites are particularly likely near rivers and brooks where significant numbers of salmon or other fish have run. Along these rivers and brooks, prehistoric sites are especially likely near falls or in locations where a fish weir could have been constructed. These falls may have been exploited for power, and traces of early dams and mills may be encountered. Ponds, natural and artificially constructed, are likely to have archaeological and historical resources on their banks. The shorelines of artificially created ponds are likely to correspond with prehistoric living areas.

Rivers and Brooks
Milford contains an approximately eight mile stretch of the Souhegan River, a tributary of the Merrimack River. In addition, Tucker, Great, Birch, Hartshorn, Purgatory, Spaulding, Mitchell, and Compressor Brooks are located partly or entirely within the Town limits.

Milford has three major ponds. Characteristics of these ponds are summarized below.

Major Ponds in Milford

NameAve. SizeAve. LengthAve. Depth
1. Osgood 20 acres0.4 mi.-----
2. Hartshorn 6 acres0.2 mi.3 ft.
3. Railroad 5 acres0.3 mi.-----

Source: Biological Survey of the Lakes and Ponds in Cheshire, Hillsborough and Rockingham Counties, NH Fish and Game Department, 1970 and Milford Conservation Commission.

1. Osgood Pond

2. Hartshorn Pond
The second largest of the three ponds, Hartshorn is lies in north Milford. An artificially constructed pond, it has scant emergent and submerged vegetation. Its shoreline is partially wooded. The water is transparent to the bottom.

3. Railroad Pond
Railroad Pond in central Milford is about five acres in size. The pond was artificially constructed, with the bottom designed to support various species of wildlife. The shoreline is privately owned, except for two railroad easements and the portions of shoreline forming boundaries of Bicentennial Park and WW II Memorial Park. The shoreline is partially wooded and partially developed.

Rivers, brooks, lakes, and ponds are susceptible to pollution from septic disposal systems or underground fuel storage tanks that malfunction or are located too close to the water bodies. Surface water run-off containing pollutants from lawns, agricultural fields, feedlots, chemical spills, and solid waste disposal sites is another source of contamination. Because rivers and ponds serve as areas for aquifer recharge, pollutants are often directly transmitted to groundwater. Another threat caused by development is the elimination of public access to shore areas.

Conservation methods for surface water bodies include:

  1. prohibiting construction of underground septic disposal systems and chemical storage tanks in close proximity to water bodies,
  2. maintaining and inventory septic systems and USTs near water bodies and requiring regular testing for leaks and malfunctions,
  3. limiting or prohibiting use of pesticides and other toxic chemicals in important watersheds,
  4. limiting or prohibiting use of road salt in important watersheds,
  5. prohibiting development on steep slopes or development which would cause excessive erosion and sedimentation,
  6. discouraging removal of natural vegetation along shores,
  7. acquiring full or less-than-full rights to property adjacent to water bodies,
  8. creating and maintaining trails, campgrounds, and picnic areas along shores,
  9. providing access roads, rights-of-way, and adequate parking to ensure public access.