Why Have a Conservation Commission?

A municipal conservation commission may be established by a New Hampshire municipality "for the proper utilization and protection of the natural resources and for the protection of watershed resources of said city or town." (New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated Chapter RSA 36-A). A commission is the only local board specifically charged to protect the natural resources of the municipality. Without a conservation commission, planning for this protection must be done by other boards, all of which have other primary responsibilities. A conservation commission provides a focal point within municipal government for environmental concerns.

The commission may advise the planning board and other local bodies on conservation matters. It may act more directly to protect natural resources by acquiring, with the approval of the selectmen or city council, the fee (full title) or a lesser interest in land or water resources. The commission then may manage these conservation areas. If authorized by the municipal legislative body, it may manage duly designated town forests (RSA 31:110, RSA 31:111, RSA 31:112, RSA 31:113).


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