NHACC is a nonprofit conservation organization that provides education and assistance to New Hampshire's local conservation commissions.



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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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Conservation News and Events

12/18/18 DES Draft Wetland Rules

DES Draft Wetland Rules CC Meeting Scheduled for January 10th

As you are aware, the NHACC has been heavily involved with the wetland rule change process.  We participated in numerous stakeholder groups throughout the summer.  DES has requested a meeting with conservation commission members to address some of the issues raised in our letter.  The brainstorming session will be held at DES on Thursday, January 10th from 1 to 3 pm

DES has stated that they do not have the staff or resources to continue the review process they currently have.  The intention was to allow more minimum impacts to be permitted quickly so that staff could focus on wetland functions and values impacted by standard permits. Our members have concerns about the cumulative impacts of speedy approval of minor projects. We wanted to take this opportunity to share our concerns in the event you wish to provide comments during the public hearing and/or through reaching out to your local representatives. Please review the talking points below and consider adding any of your experience with wetland permits to the concerns below. The comment period is scheduled to end on January 18, 2019.

The following are a list of our major areas of concern

You can find a copy of our letter to Commissioner Scott through this link.

6/7/18 Legislative Update

Bills to Watch in 2018
We work in the legislature and on state committees to ensure that your conservation commission is informed. We are keeping an eye on the legislature and tracking proposed bills that would affect conservation commissions or natural resources in NH. Check out our 2018 Legislative Session Spreadsheet for a list of bills we are tracking.

 HB1104-FN  This bill proposes reductions in regulatory permits, including Dredge and Fill application timelines and includes many other changes to administrative procedures.  The Executive Departments and Administration has recommended that the bill passes with an amendment. NHACC worked closely with the Governor’s legal council to ensure that conservation commissions have the ability to request an extension to the 40 day wetland permit review process. The House concurred with changes made by the Senate to HB1104 Senate Amendment.  The final version will likely be signed by the Governor.

SB 48: Establishing a commission to study efficiency and effectiveness of the Fish & Game Commission & Department has been signed by the Governor.  Final Version

Bills Referred to Interim study

HB1749 Relative to the state’s authority to prohibit or regulate firearms and relative to the selectmen’s authority to manage town property.  This is a concern to conservation commissions because town conservation land often prohibits firearms.  This bill examines the authority to prohibit firearms on town land.

HB1343 Relative to the protection of beaver.   This bill adds provisions for the protection of beavers and beaver dams and requires the executive director of the fish and game department to include advice on beaver control on its public website This bill has been Referred to Interim Study. 

HB486 Relative to the protection of wetlands.  This bill identifies and defines different types of wetlands protected under the Wetlands Protection Act. This bill proposes a state wide buffer for high value wetlands, “ A natural vegetation buffer of 100 feet shall be maintained from the mapped edge of all high value wetlands, except wetlands within 50 feet of, and hydrologically connected to, a Tier 3 or larger stream, as defined in department rules, which shall have a buffer of 50 feet, measured from the ordinary high water mark of the stream, plus an additional 25 feet from the edge of the wetland.” 

The bills proposed to study current use have now been laid on the table.
 HB 1210: An ACT establishing a committee to study the effect of current use taxation on small and rural communities. NHACC opposes this bill and provided written testimony at public hearing. This bill would not introduce any legislation for 2018, but the study committee could have a big impact on current use. SB405 is another current use study bill that could impact the protection of open space. The Amendment to SB 405 changed the bill to study current use taxation on small and rural municipalities. Both of these bills have now been laid on the table which means the House or Senate may vote again on the bill someday, but for now the bill has been set aside. If the session ends and the bill has not been taken off the table, the bill dies.

HB 1585 would have inserted the words “or a Natural Resources Inventory” in RSA 36-A.  It was voted Inexpedient to Legislate by the full House in March. Since NHACC has always interpreted the word “index” in RSA 36-A:2 to also refer to a Natural Resources Inventory (NRI), this bill would not have changed the way we operate or support conservation commissions.

5/2/18 Regional Events

Regional Events for Conservation Commissions

NHACC is working with local conservation groups to provide more training and networking opportunities to conservation commissions.  Our goal is to facilitate communication and cooperation among commissions, to share ideas and develop best practices

Learn more about  Improving Flood Resiliency

September 13 at 3:30 pm

The Piscataqua Region Estuaries PartnershipGreat Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, and the NH Association of Conservation Commissions are proud to present the 8th workshop in the Board Empowerment Series – Floodplain Management 101: Improving Flood Resiliency in Your Community in partnership with the NH Office of Strategic Initiatives. The workshop is designed for members of conservation commissions and municipal boards.  

 Registration Email Steve Miller (steve.miller@wildlife.nh.gov) to register with your name, position, organization, and contact information (email and phone). Registration is free, with a suggested $5 donation.

NHACC Welcomes New Executive Director

The NHACC Board of Directors is pleased to announce the selection of Barbara Richter as its new Executive Director.  Barbara will lead the organization, and provide assistance and direct support to NHACC members. Prior to NHACC, Barbara worked at W.S. Badger Company where she was responsible for regulatory compliance.

"The support NHACC provides to NH conservation commissions is critical to successful natural resource protection in the state. The strength of the conservation movement in NH comes from the unity of its many amazing citizen groups, government agencies and non-profit organizations," said Barbara. "I look forward to providing valuable technical support to NH cities and towns and advising their conservation commissions."

Barbara's background uniquely qualifies her to assume the role as the NHACC Executive Director. Her extensive experience in land conservation includes working at the Forest Society’s Center for Land Conservation Assistance where she supported local and regional land trusts with their land protection initiatives. Barbara also worked at the Monadnock Conservancy in the role of both Stewardship Coordinator and Membership Coordinator. She has first-hand experience with conservation commissions as a previous chair of the Surry Conservation Commission and a member of the City of Keene Conservation Commission. She understands the required duties of conservation commissions and is familiar with the challenges faced by both small towns and cities.

Barbara received her master’s degree in environmental studies from Antioch New England University and her bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Syracuse University. She lives in Keene with her husband and two children.

Governor Hassan Vetoed SB 324!

We've just received word from Governor Hassan's office. She's vetoed SB 324, and we couldn't be happier!

062116 SB 324 Veto Message.doc


New Hampshire's 217th Conservation Commission

Monadnock from Roxbury. Photo by Amy BodwellAt the March 1965 Town Meetings, 18 towns established conservation commissions, including Bedford, Center Harbor, Durham, Epsom, Exeter, Francestown, Gilford, Hampton, Hampton Falls, Hollis, Hooksett, Littleton, Meredith, New London, Rindge, Rye, Salem and Sunapee. 50 years later we are still adding towns to the statewide list! Say hello to Roxbury, our state's newest conservation commission! With a population just a little over 200 residents, Roxbury is one of NH's smallest communities, but is certainly not without a passion for conservation! I asked Amy Bodwell, one of the organizing members, a few questions about how they got started:

How did the idea to form a conservation commission come about?
I served on a Conservation Commission in Brookfield, IL for 10 years and loved it. I was disappointed Roxbury did not have one after moving here. But I ended up as head of the Planning Board and didn’t think about it again until Tom Duston [NHACC Board Member & Chesterfield Conservation Commission] approached me to see if we were interested. We are starting to collect wildlife information as Roxbury is under reported at the state level so we were already engaged in that activity.

Dam and old mill site. Photo by Amy BodwellWhat do you think you might do first?
We have not met officially but the group of us talked about building a working relationship with the Keene Conservation Commission. Keene owns about 2700 acres of land in the middle of Roxbury for their watershed. We also talked about marking the town boundaries. We would like to do a natural resource inventory and that also means a good relationship with Keene. We hope to get better acquainted with easements as all the land in Roxbury is privately held other than the Keene land and we want to encourage people to consider those or be available if someone needs information. The town does not own any land except around town hall.

Why is conservation important for Roxbury?
The town is tiny and everyone wants to keep the rural characteristic here. Many of the folks I know here are into conservation. Whether a conservation commission is critical like it is in many towns, I’m not sure, but it feels good to be starting one. 

Photo credit: Amy Bodwell

Every dollar invested in conservation yields $11 of economic benefit in NH

The Trust for Public Land released their much-anticipated report on NH's Return on Investment in Land Conservation. This study provides a fantastic resource for conservation commissions looking to promote and support land conservation efforts in their towns.

Your Assistance is Needed to Determine Which Conservation Commission Came First

50 years go the NH Legislature passed the enabling legislation for conservation commissions. Towns began forming commissions the following year.

We need your help: When did your community vote to form a conservation commission? Were you the first? Is your commission the newest in the state? To celebrate this important milestone, we'll display copies of your warrant articles at the NHACC Annual Meeting. 

Please contact the NHACC office if you don't know what year to start; we have an idea of when most commissions started. You'll need to research the town reports from the year of formation and the following year. Send us a photocopy or scan of the warrant language (year of passage) and any related discussion (minutes of the previous year's meeting). 

You can send us the documents in two ways: Email us scans of the relevant pages or snail mail copies to NHACC, 54 Porstmouth Street, Concord, NH 03301.

Have fun and thanks for your help!

NHACC Membership

NHACC is the only organization specifically serving the needs of conservation commissions in New Hampshire.


Member Photos

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