Conservation commissions are local conservation volunteers who work to study and protect natural resources.
Conservation commissions are very active in New Hampshire!
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New Hampshire Audubon’s Board of Trustees seeks nominations for the following awards to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the membership. Deadline for nominations is April 1, 2014.
The Tudor Richards Award is presented annually to the person who best exemplifies Tudor’s love and knowledge of the outdoors and who has worked tirelessly and effectively on behalf of conservation in New Hampshire. Past recipients include Francie Von Mertens (2013), Art Mudge (2012), and Geoff Jones (2011).
The Goodhue-Elkins Award is presented annually to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the study of New Hampshire birds. The award is named for Charles Goodhue, one of the state's great pioneer birders, and Kimball Elkins, the model of critical observation and insightful record-keeping. Past recipients include Susan Fogleman (2013), Roger Lawrence (2012), and Stephen R. Mirick (2011).
Both awards are merit-based and affiliation with New Hampshire Audubon is not a requirement. A list of past recipients and nomination forms are available from the N.H. Audubon website, www.nhaudubon.org/about/annual-awards or from Rebecca Suomala (224-9909 x309), firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your mailing address.
Working together with the Southeast Land Trust, the Plaistow Conservation Commission was awarded a $100,000 Aquatic Resource Mitigation (ARM) Grant from the NH Department of Environmental Services (DES) to support the permanent protection and enlargement of the Plaistow Town Forest. The grant is being used to help place a conservation easement on the Plaistow Town Forest, acquire adjacent undeveloped land, and restore damaged trails on the property.
Plaistow Conservation Commission member Tim Moore talks with SELT's Phil Auger about the project in this video on community television. NHACC flagged this video as a great example of how conservation commissions and land trusts can work together and how conservation commissions can tell the story of conservation to taxpayers.
Additional information on the project can be found on the SELT website.
Registration is now open for the Saving Spaces Conference to be held April 5, 2014, at Laconia Middle School. This year's event features 30 workshops and more than 40 presenters.
Register by March 28 to take advantage of the lower $60 fee. After March 28, the fee is $75. Visit the conference website for all details.
The application window for the 2014 round of Quabbin-to-Cardigan Trail Grants is now open. The program makes grants of up to $10,000 to support the development, improvement, maintenance and permanent protection of hiking trails in the Q2C region.
Grants are awarded through a competitive process, and are available for projects in both the New Hampshire and Massachusetts portions of the Q2C region. Funded projects must be completed by the end of 2014, and there is a 25% minimum cash match requirement. The written permission of relevant landowner(s) is required at the time of application.
Completed applications for the 2014 grant round must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday March 14th, 2014. Successful grant applicants will be notified in early April.
The RFP and application materials can be found here: http://q2cpartnership.org/grants.aspx
NHACC is monitoring this year's legislative session at the State House. There are currently two bills that would impact conservation commissions and land trusts that we are concerned about. We will be paying particularly close attention to HB1271 and HB1100 and we plan to bring forward our concerns at the upcoming committee hearings.
HB1271 (bill status / bill text) would establish a committee to study the powers and duties of conservation commissions. Sponsors include: Rep. Shawn Jasper of Hudson and Rep. Franklin Bishop of Raymond.
HB1100 (bill status / bill text) would establish a committee to study the ownership by public entities of land for conservation purposes. Sponsors include: Rep. Franklin Bishop of Raymond, Rep. Shawn Jasper of Hudson, Rep. Gene Chandler of Bartlett, Rep. Kathleen Hoelzel of Raymond, Rep. James Coffey of New Ipswich, and Sen. John Reagan of Deerfield (and whose district includes Raymond).
Details on the purpose and goals of the bills are limited, so we encourage you to call the sponsors if you have concerns or questions about the bills. Clicking on the links to the legislators names above will provide you their contact information. Please keep in contact with Executive Director Nik Coates if you have questions or find out additional information.
Both bills have been assigned to the Resources, Recreation and Development Committee. The bills have not yet been scheduled for hearings. We understand that the hearings are likely to be the week of January 27. When we have additional information on the hearing dates, we will provide it here. In the upcoming NHACC e-newsletter, we will be providing an analysis of the bills and information of how you can get involved. in the NHACC e-newsletter next week and information of how you can get involved. If you are not yet signed up for the e-newsletter, contact us and we will add you to the distribution list.
We are also tracking several other bills that could impact conservation commissions and their work. We will continue to update you in this News section it as the action at the legislature heats up.
The Board of the New Hampshire Association of Conservation Commissions (NHACC) has named its fifth executive director in its 44-year history.
Nicholas "Nik" Coates comes to NHACC after six years as a planner with the Central New Hampshire Regional Planning Commission (CNHRPC). He moves into the position after Carol Andrews spent the past eight years as NHACC's executive director. Andews followed Marjorie Swope , the organization's longtime executive director. Read the full press release here.
NHACC is the only organization specifically serving the needs of conservation commissions in New Hampshire.