Many of New Hampshire’s dams are reaching the end of their lifespan and require expensive maintenance or removal in order to meet safety standards. While engineers and public officials struggle with the scale of the challenge surrounding various dam management alternatives, including removal, what does the New Hampshire public think? In this brief, authors Natallia Leuchanka, Catherine Ashcraft, Kevin Gardner, and Lawrence Hamilton present results from statewide surveys in New Hampshire that explore public views about dam removal. They report that a majority of respondents in three Granite State Polls prefer to remove dams when the alternative is to keep them for maintenance of waterfront property values, preservation of industrial history, or maintenance of lake- and pond-based recreation. A majority of survey respondents prefer to keep dams when dams are for hydropower generation. Respondents’ age, gender, and party affiliation often predict their preference for dam removal. Levels of formal education do not make much difference. Younger respondents, women, and Democrats are more likely to support dam removal, although this varies somewhat depending on the tradeoffs.
Carsey School of Public Policy
Regional Issue Brief No. 56
Leuchanka Diessner, Natallia; Ashcraft, Catherine M.; Gardner, Kevin H.; and Hamilton, Lawrence C., "What to Do With Dams: An Assessment of Public Opinion to Inform the Debate in New Hampshire" (2019). The Carsey School of Public Policy at the Scholars' Repository. 374.
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