Section 482-A:15 of the New Hampshire Revised Statutes enables individual municipalities to elect to designate wetlands as “prime-wetlands” if, after thorough analysis, it is determined that high-quality wetlands are present. Typically, a wetland receives this designation because of its large size, unspoiled character, and ability to sustain populations of rare or threatened plant and animal species. Field and “desk top” data are used for the evaluation process.

In 1979, Barry H. Keith, then of the UNH Cooperative Extension Service, inventoried and evaluated 71 wetlands in Tamworth totaling 1,997 acres. Each wetland was evaluated for plant community diversity, size, cover, site type, connectivity, wildlife habitat, and adjacent land type/use. From this inventory, Keith identified 938 acres of significant wetlands and recommended that they be designated Prime Wetlands as authorized by state statute. In 1980, the Town of Tamworth Town Meeting voted to designate ten areas totaling 573 acres as Prime Wetlands. These areas have been recorded at NHDES and are protected by state authorized provisions going beyond town ordinances and standard state wetlands regulations.

The table below shows the wetlands and acreages as determined from state records.