WHAT DOES

NHACC Do?

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

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WHAT DO

Conservation Commissions do?

Conservation commissions are local conservation volunteers who work to study and protect natural resources.

Conservation commissions are very active in New Hampshire!

Click here to read more!

HOW

You Can Help.

Volunteer.
Invest In Your Local Community.
Consider Land Conservation.
And Above All - VOTE!

Click here to read about the many ways that you can help conservation in New Hampshire.

Conservation News and Events

5/7/18 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

Soil Survey and Aquatic Mapper Training

May 21, 9:30 am to 1:30 pm. Web Soil Survey uses Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) soil survey maps to provide planners, conservation organizations, state agencies, educators, and landowners internet access to relevant soils information needed to make land use and management decisions. This workshop will explore the three easy steps to access a soil map for your “area of interest”, create interpretive maps, review a variety of soils data and generate a customized report. More information and to register, click here.

5/17/18 DES Drinking Water Conference

DES 2018 Drinking Water Source Protection Conference

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) will hold its 2018 Drinking Water Source Protection Conference on Thursday, May 17, at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord, NH. This is the largest drinking water source protection event in New England!  This year’s conference will feature a total of 18 presentations on:

  • PFAS and other emerging contaminants
  • Update on NH’s Drinking Water and Groundwater Trust Fund
  • Legislative updates involving drinking water
  • Research from Dartmouth concerning health impacts associated with arsenic exposure
  • Projects related to source water planning, land conservation, and community engagement

The conference fee is $65 and includes lunch and refreshments.  Qualifies for 5.0 Technical Credit Hours toward the NH Water Works Operator Certification Program. 

REGISTER at the American Ground Water Trust website: https://agwt.org/civicrm/event/info%3Fid%3D268%26reset%3D1


5/7/18 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 in the Amendment to HB1104

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.

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.

HB1616:  An ACT requiring legislative approval for regional planning commissions to accept money from governmental sources other than the state of New Hampshire or its political subdivisions. NHACC opposes this bill which could impact the support regional planning commissions provide to conservation commissions. The House voted this bill as Inexpedient to Legislate. 

We are also tracking HB1233: An ACT preempting local regulation of seeds and fertilizer. This bill is a request of the NH Department of Agriculture, Markets, and Foods as a more efficient way to control use of fertilizers. This bill has been worked on by NH Department of Environmental Services, The Nature Conservancy and the NH Municipal Association. This bill passed the full House with an Amendment.

We know that many commissions have concerns over the protection of beavers and plan to support HB 1343 this session. 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. 

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.

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