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

7/18/19 Legislative Update

Bills to Watch in NH 2019 Legislative Session
Here at NHACC, we work to make sure your voice is heard in Concord. We testify in the legislature and on state committees to ensure conservation commissions are represented. We are tracking several proposed bills that would affect natural resources in NH. Some of the priority bills are listed below with links to the bill language.  

HB218: This bill permits the installation of "beaver deceiver" water flow control devices for the purpose of discouraging beaver damming and reducing the risk of flooding. This allows a landowner to install a “beaver deceiver” on their land to protect property. PASSED both House and Senate and signed by the Governor. HB281 - Final Version

SB 200: An act relative to wildlife corridors.  This bill requires the recognition and protection of wildlife corridors and habitat strongholds as public good. PASSED House both House and Senate and signed by the Governor. SB200 – Final Version.

HB 682-FN An ACT establishing a water resources fund in the department of environmental services and charging certain application and permit fees. This is a critical bill that provides DES with funding to review wetland permits. NHACC provided testimony in support of HB 682 at the public hearing at both the House and Senate committee hearings. It was tabled by the Senate but the good news is that Senate Finance committee approved a total of $650,000 for the 2nd year budget for DES to hire additional staff.  That level will allow DES to hire 2 more people in the wetlands bureau.  The bad news is the that Governor vetoed the budget so we will continue to watch this bill. 

HB 326  AN ACT relative to the definition of prime wetland.

This bill further defines prime wetland for local protection in fill and dredge permits to allow for narrow “wetland fingers” to be eligible for prime wetland designation. This bill passed the house and senate committee of conference with an amendment. Conference report was adopted but the bill has not been signed by the Governor yet.

HB 542 establishing a grant program to support municipalities in updating their wetlands regulations. This bill has been retained in committee but should be discussed next session. HB 542 Final Version

HB 543 AN ACT relating to the protection of wetlands. This bill identifies and defines different types of wetlands protected under the Wetlands Protection Act and established a 100 ft buffer for High Value Wetlands. An amendment was proposed to change the 100 ft buffer to 50 ft. This bill has been retained in committee and it is unlikely it will go anywhere this session.

SB 74 Relative to the register of deeds fees used to support the land and community heritage investment program (LCHIP), and establishing a committee to study the economic impact of land conservation and review the LCHIP surcharge. (2nd New Title) This increases the registry of deeds recording fees from $25 to $35 to be used to support LCHIP and establishes a committee to study the economic impact of land conservation. This bill was sent to committee of conference and they concurred on amendment. SB 74-FN-A - VERSION ADOPTED BY BOTH BODIES

2/21/19 NHACC Supports Funding for DES

The NH Association of Conservation Commissions supports  HB 682-FN  an Act establishing a water resources fund in the department of environmental services and charging certain application and permit fees.  This funding increase will provide the necessary staff and resources to DES so that they may respond efficiently and effectively to the dredge and fill permit review process. Last year the legislature decreased the review period for DES to respond to wetland dredge and fill permits by almost half.  In order to continue to protect wetlands and meet the shortened deadlines, DES needs sufficient resources to respond in a timely and thorough manner.  NHACC has written talking points to make the case to support the increase in funding. 

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.

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