The present-day operation of Lakeport Dam to manage the water level of Lake Winnipesaukee is far more complex than it was when the dam was constructed in 1851.

Then, the dam was operated to provide water to power the mills along the Winnipesaukee and Merrimack Rivers, without regard for the water levels in the lake. Today, while the need of downstream hydropower plants remains a factor in the operation of Lakeport Dam, it is only one of many factors, as the lake has transitioned over the years from the source of water to power the nation’s industrial revolution to what is now one of the most important recreational resources in the State of New Hampshire. Those factors include recreation, flood reduction, and fish and wildlife enhancement, which often conflict and require a balancing of competing interests.