The Lamprey is a Wild and Scenic River as designated by the US Congress. Enacted in 1968, the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (P.L. 90-542, as amended) was created to balance long-standing federal policies promoting the construction of dams, levees, and other river development projects with one that would permanently preserve selected rivers, or river segments, in their free-flowing condition.
Section 1(b) of the act states:
"It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States that certain selected rivers of the Nation which, with their immediate environments, possess outstandingly remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural or other similar values, shall be preserved in free-flowing condition, and that they and their immediate environments shall be protected for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Congress declares that the established national policy of dams and other construction at appropriate sections of the rivers of the United States needs to be complemented by a policy that would preserve other selected rivers or sections thereof in their free-flowing condition to protect the water quality of such rivers and to fulfill other vital national conservation purposes." (Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, October 2, 1968)
The original act designated eight rivers into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, and specified processes by which other rivers could be added to the system. According to the National Park Service, “As of 2008, the 40th anniversary of the Act, the National System protects more than 11,000 miles of 166 rivers in 38 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; this is a little more than one-quarter of one percent (0.25%) of the nation's rivers. By comparison, more than 75,000 large dams across the country have modified at least 600,000 miles, or about 17%, of American rivers.” Of the designated river segments, only seven are located in New England: the Farmington in Connecticut; the Allagash in Maine; the Sudbury, Assabet, Concord (SuAsCo) rivers system, Taunton, and Westfield in Massachussetts; the Wildcat and the Lamprey in New Hampshire.