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The Ogunquit River

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  • Twenty-four square miles of land in Ogunquit, South Berwick, York, and Wells, Maine drain into the Ogunquit River.

  • This watershed includes:

    • the main stem of the Ogunquit River

    • Green, Bragdon, and Stevens Brooks

    • Leavitt and Roby's Streams

    • small ponds, wetlands, salt marshes, and the Ogunquit River estuary.

  • These fresh and tidal rivers and streams provide valuable habitat for threatened native plants and wildlife.

Locals know where the fish are biting - brook and brown trout above the falls, and striped bass from the bridges in the tidal region. The clamflats are a popular spot for harvesting shellfish from November to March. The Ogunquit River’s salt marsh estuary, located within the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge and Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, is rich in biodiversity and attracts many recreational users, including swimmers, paddlers, kayakers and bird watchers. Surfers enjoy the world-class break at the mouth of the river. 

The Josias River

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  • 7.4 square miles of land in Ogunquit and York drain into the Josias river.

    • This watershed  includes Clay Hill Brook and Muddy Brook, plus several small tributaries.

    • Ponds and vernal pools within the watershed provide valuable habitat for wildlife and plants.

  • The main stem of the river is 5.75 miles long and drops 220 feet before it terminates in Perkins Cove.

Our Challenge


The health of both rivers is compromised by pollutants entering the watershed at every point in the river network, from:

  • stormwater runoff

  • faulty septic and sewer systems

  • pet and wild animal waste

  • pesticides and fertilizers

  • automotive leaks and spills

  • soil erosion - which deposits silt -  caused by:

    • tree removal

    • tilling

    • land re-grading

Since Ogunquit relies on clean water for tourism, natural beauty and recreation, the entire region is put in jeopardy if these watersheds are not protected and restored. Currently, elevated fecal bacteria levels found throughout the Ogunquit River watershed have impaired our rivers and have led to an increased number of swimming and recreational advisories on our beaches.

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