CONCORD — Recent water quality testing in the south branch of the Baker River in the town of Wentworth indicates that river conditions are acceptable for swimming; however, given the lack of water clarity, the swimming public should be careful because objects under the water may not be visible.
Widespread turbidity (suspended silt and sediment) in the Baker River, starting at the South Branch Baker River Flood Control Reservoir to the mainstem Baker River through the towns of Orange, Dorchester, Groton, Wentworth, Rumney, and Plymouth, continues as a result of the heavy rainfall experienced in the region on July 11. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services anticipates higher-than-normal turbidity levels will continue for some time, especially after rainfall, until the river banks are able to stabilize.
Rainfall amounts of nearly 5 inches that fell in less than 5 hours contributed to heavy river bank erosion in the uppermost portions of the Baker River watershed, which sent sediment into the flood control reservoir along River Road in Dorchester. High flow volumes through the reservoir continue to send that material into the river. The fine particulate nature of the sediment causes turbidity to persist for great distances downstream.