New Hampshire

(information last updated January 2019)

Ongoing Projects:

State Project(s):

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (“NHDES”) administers multiple citizen science programs.  For example:


  • The Volunteer Lake Assessment Program (“VLAP”), initiated in 1985, is a “volunteer-driven lake sampling program to assist NHDES in evaluating lake water quality, and provides volunteer monitors and lake residents with reports on lake health.” Volunteer Lake Assessment Program, N.H. Dep’t of Envtl. Serv., (last visited Feb. 7, 2019).


  • The Volunteer River Assessment Program (“VRAP”), established in 1998, helps “volunteers conduct water quality monitoring on an ongoing basis [to] increase the amount of river water quality information available to local, state and federal governments.” Volunteer River Assessment Program, N.H. Dep’t of Envtl. Serv., (last visited Feb. 7, 2019).

Collection of Information:

Scientific Collecting Permits:

A special use permit is necessary to conduct scientific wildlife studies on lands under the control of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. See N.H. Code Admin. R. Fis 902.03(b)(2)(e).

Drone Law:

See infra “Drone Laws.”

Trespass Laws:

Criminal Liability for Trespass Despite Lack of Notice:

No. For entry upon property to constitute criminal trespass, the intruder must “know[] that he is not licensed or privileged to do so[.]”  N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 635:2(I).

Drone Laws:

Surveillance Law:

“No person shall use a drone or UAV with the intent to conduct video surveillance of private citizens who are lawfully hunting, fishing, or trapping without obtaining the written consent of the persons being surveilled prior to conducting the surveillance.”  N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 207:57(I).


“Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a violation.” Id. § 207:57(IV).

Harassment of Wildlife: 

No person may use a drone to “[d]rive or harass any wildlife.” N.H. Code Admin. R. Fis 312.02(b)(3).

Stalking Laws:

Criminal Law:

“A person commits the offense of stalking if such person… [p]urposely, knowingly, or recklessly engages in a course of conduct targeted at a specific person which would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her personal safety or the safety of a member of that person’s immediate family, and the person is actually placed in such fear. . . .”  N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 633:3-a(I)(a). 

Use of Information:

Although our research is incomplete, this provision could be construed to allow the use of information collected by citizens.

Explicitly Allows:

“There is established within the department of environmental services the New Hampshire volunteer river assessment program to provide: I. Water quality and related environmental data to the state and federal governments to define water quality trends; II. Data for river protection, management, and restoration programs; III. Information to classify New Hampshire waters; and IV. Data for surface water assessment reports.”  N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 487:38. 


VLAP was similarly established through statute and explicitly allows NHDES to use volunteer data.  See id. § 487:31.

Evidentiary Standards:

Pleading a Claim:

Requires certification that “there is a good ground to support” the claim.  N.H. Super. Ct. Civ. R. 7(e).

Authentication or Chain of Custody:

“To satisfy the requirement of authenticating or identifying an item of evidence, the proponent must produce evidence sufficient to support a finding that the item is what the proponent claims it is.” N.H. R. Evid. 901(a); see also State v. Moscillo, 649 A.2d 57, 59 (N.H. 1994). 

Expert Testimony:

New Hampshire Rule of Evidence 702 and Daubert standard (partially codified in N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 516:29-a).  See Baxter v. Temple, 949 A.2d 167, 172-74 (N.H. 2008); Baker Valley Lumber, Inc. v. Ingersoll-Rand Co., 813 A.2d 409, 415 (N.H. 2002).


Please note that this discussion is not moderated by the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic.