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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

5/28/15 Conservation Easement Monitoring with CCs: Boundaries and Beyond

Easement monitoring - Deb Goard from SELTIf you find yourself bushwhacking through invasives or wading through tick-infested grasses swatting mosquitoes, there’s a good chance you're monitoring a conservation easement. But thanks to The Stewardship Network: New England (TSN:NE) and the Farmington Conservation Commission, I got a taste of the many enjoyable aspects to easement monitoring last week. I attended the “Easement Monitoring for Volunteers” workshop in Lee with the TSN:NE, Southeast Land Trust and Bear Paw along with over 20 conservation commissioners and other volunteers. Only a few days later I also took a real-life easement monitoring stroll through the woods with Dave Connolly, chair of the Farmington CC, and Steve Walker, the Stewardship Specialist for the Office of Energy and Planning

While I learned a lot about easement monitoring when I was an easement steward intern with the Society for the Protection of NH Forests last summer, it was a great experience to go out in the field with conservation commissioners to see and hear about stewardship from a different perspective. At the workshop I heard from commissioners who are responsible for monitoring easements that their town holds on private property. In other cases like Farmington, the town was the landowner and Dave and I came along on the state’s monitoring visit just to see the property and talk about its management. Farmington is working on the property’s trail system and also it was good for Dave to see if there was any dumping issues or misuse of the property and to see how the forest management was coming along.

Forest Management - Woodcock habitat - Farmington

First and foremost, easement monitoring is really about good stewardship and building and maintaining positive relationships with landowners in your community. Whether your town has been monitoring easements for years and has a whole system set up or if you know you’re behind on monitoring and need to get caught up, the monitoring process is a great opportunity to talk about stewardship and what conservation values are most important. All sorts of topics come up when talking about conservation easements. Does the landowner manage the land for forestry or agriculture? What about habitat management? Do members of the public hunt, fish, hike, snowmobile, or do other types of recreation on the property? Do you know where the boundaries are or does the landowner have good relationships with their neighbors on abutting lands?

Easement Monitoring WorkshopThe really fun part of easement monitoring may actually be all the fringe benefits that come with hiking in the woods on some unique and beautiful pieces of conservation land! On my hike with Dave and Steve in Farmington, we identified some animal tracks by the brook (raccoon), some scat on a rock (fox), and a frog hiding under a rock, along with many plants (indian cucumber, starflower, blueberries in blossom). Some times there are trails that you can hike on that will make your journey easy. Some times you are off-trail, but that’s where you can find a unique plant or animal sighting or maybe even something like vernal pools you didn’t know existed (be sure to note their GPS location!). 

If you are in need of some good basics about easement monitoring, but missed last week’s workshop, you can still download the presentation here. TSN:NE also has some other resources available, including a Sample Easement Monitoring Manual and a couple Sample Easement Monitoring Forms (Simple & Detailed). 

Photos: All photos by Emily Lord/NHACC. Deb Goard from SELT instructs the workshop group on some easement monitoring techniques; Forest management on the Farmington property for woodcock habitat; The easement monitoring workshop included some compass basics, which is very important if you are going in the woods. Sign-up for the Off Trail Workshop on June 6th, if you'd like to learn more about map and compass navigation! 

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NH Method: 2-day Wetland Evaluation Workshop for COMMUNITY VOLUNTEERS

This two-day wetland evaluation training session is designed for the needs of community volunteers (especially conservation commissioners) and others interested in learning how to use the NH Method. On the first day of training, we will cover introductory information about wetland evaluation using the NH Method. Participants will also learn how to use the NH Wetlands Mapper to create the required maps for wetland evaluation through hands-on training on computers. The second day of training will be a field session, focused on field identification of wetland types and observation of wetland characteristics that affect their functions. We’ll use the field data together with information derived from the mapping to evaluate the wetland’s functions using the NH Method data sheets.

2-Day Workshop:  Wetland Evaluation using the NH Method for Community Volunteers

Friday May 29 and Friday June 5, 2015  | 8:00am - 4:00pm

Day 1 - May 29, 2015 - Indoor and computer lab session at NHTI, Concord 

Day 2 - June 5, 2015 - Field Evaluation at Bear Brook State Park

Visit the NH Method Workshops web page for details and to register for this workshop. Cost: $40. Registration Deadline:  4:00pm Tuesday May 26. Space at this workshop is limited, so register soon!

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NHDES’ 2015 Drinking Water Source Protection Conference

NHDES’ 2015 annual conference will be held on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord, NH from 8:30 am – 4:00 pm.  This conference has become the largest drinking water source protection event in New England and is the only statewide event focused solely on how to protect local sources of drinking water.

This event is held in partnership with the American Ground Water Trust.  You can view the full agenda and register for the conference by visiting the American Ground Water Trust’s website, http://www.agwt.org/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=195.  The registration page includes exhibitor and sponsorship information if you would like to have an exhibit table or be a sponsor of this event.

If you have any questions, contact Pierce Rigrod (Pierce.Rigrod@des.nh.gov603-271-0688) at NHDES or Win Saltmarsh (wsaltmarsh@agwt.org603-228-5444) at the American Ground Water Trust.  This event will offer New Hampshire Water Works Operators 5.0 Technical Credit Hours (TCHs).  The conference fee is $55.00 and includes lunch and refreshments for all registered attendees.

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The NH Wildlife Action Plan is being updated and your input is needed!

Are you wild about New Hampshire? Natural lands are an important part of what makes New Hampshire a place where people want to live, work and play. The State's Wildlife Action Plan is a blueprint that guides state agencies, conservation organizations, towns and others in their efforts to protect land and manage wildlife.

NH Fish and Game, in collaboration with other agencies and organizations, is updating the NH Wildlife Action Plan. Biologists, land use experts, state agency staff, conservation commissioners, local planning board members, foresters, educators - all who impact habitat and wildlife as professionals or volunteers - are invited to weigh in on the plan that will guide state and local action for the next decade.

Five input sessions are being held around the state in April and May to gather ideas for actions from people who are closely connected with, and concerned about, protecting wildlife and habitats. We invite you to share your concerns about wildlife and help make the revised NH Wildlife Action Plan an even more useful and informative guide for 2015-2025!

April 23, 2015     4:00 - 6:30pm   Plymouth Regional High School
April 28, 2015     6:00 - 8:30pm   Exeter High School  
May 5, 2015        1:00 - 3:30pm   Keene Parks & Recreation Center 
May 6, 2015        2:00 - 4:30pm   NH Fish and Game, Concord
May 12, 2015      2:00 - 4:30pm   AMC Highland Center, Crawford Notch 
Pre-registration for these sessions is required
Select the date and time that works best for you

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Aquatic Resources Mitigation 2015 Grant Announcement

The NHDES Aquatic Resources Mitigation (ARM) Fund is now accepting pre-proposals for the 2015 Grant Round. The ARM Fund Program provides wetlands permit applicants with the option to contribute payments to this fund in lieu of implementation of several other possible and more traditional compensatory mitigation alternatives. These other wetlands mitigation options might include restoration of existing impaired wetlands, land acquisition and preservation, or construction of new wetlands. In many circumstances, these other options may be more costly, time consuming or complex to implement for the wetlands permit holder as compared with an ARM Fund contribution.

The ARM Fund program has been very successful for permit applicants and has resulted in the funding of many significant wetland preservation and restoration projects across the state. Projects that have been awarded funds include those that provide significant wetlands restoration or land conservation and are focused on areas of important and/or vulnerable wetlands with regional significance. In the past six years the ARM Fund has funded 48 projects that include preservation and restoration opportunities as well as stream passage improvement projects. These projects have results in approximately 11,000 acres of land conservation, 15 acres of wetland restoration and enhancement, and over one mile of stream restoration.

DES accounts for ARM Fund payments on a major watershed basis. When sufficient funds are accrued for a watershed, DES issues a request for proposals, evaluates the proposals received, and awards grants for the projects determined to have the highest long-term environmental benefits in the specific watershed. The ARM Fund is soliciting grant proposals for $2.3 million dollars which is available in the nine watersheds throughout the state. Please see the NH DES website for more information about the program. Pre-proposals are due April 30, 2015. The pre-applications will be reviewed in the month of May and feedback given to each applicant. Full applications are due August 31, 2015. Download the ARM Fund Grant Instructions, the 2015 Pre-Proposal Form, and the Application Form and Project Worksheet to get started! For more information, please contact DES Wetland Mitigation Coordinator at:

Lori Sommer
DES Wetland Mitigation Coordinator
Wetlands Bureau
(603) 271-4059

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Spring Workshop: Mitigating Wetland Losses

Join the NHACC and Certified Wetland Scientist Rick Van de Poll in learning the basics of wetland mitigation and how to be effective advocates as municipal officials who are facing wetland loss.

Dr. Van de Poll will review functions and values of wetlands, describe how upland buffers are essential to the proper functioning of a wetland, and outline how the state and federal government mandate compensation for certain wetland impacts. Since the state's Chapter 800 rules are in the process of changing and the Army Corps is poised to release their new mitigation rule this month, this workshop will provide a preliminary look at how DES and the Army Corps will be moving forward with wetland and stream impacts that require mitigation. A special subset of this talk will discuss probable impacts from the proposed gas pipeline in southern New Hampshire and how municipalities can be vigilant and proactive in addressing aquatic resource loss.

Mitigating Wetland Losses: What We Need to Know will be held on April 23rd, 2015, from 6-8:30 pm in Nashua, NH. The registration fee is $25.00 per commission member. Register Now!

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


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