About This Reserve
This reserve is a complex embayment and New Hampshire’s largest estuarine system, encompassing all of Great Bay and Little Bay, as well as the tidal portions of five major river systems: Bellamy, Oyster, Lamprey, Squamscott, and Winnicut. The Great Bay Reserve includes diverse land and water areas, including upland forest, salt marsh, mudflats, tidal creeks, rocky intertidal, eelgrass beds, and upland field habitats. The Bay's cultural heritage is equally diverse, from paleo-Indian villages dating to 6,000 years ago to colonial transportation and industrial use, to a proposed oil refinery in 1973.
The Great Bay Reserve is one of 30 areas in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System that is protected for long-term research, water-quality monitoring, education, and coastal stewardship. The site is managed on a day-to-day basis by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Marine Fisheries Division. NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management provides funding, national guidance, and technical assistance.