Conservation News and Events

9/5/19 NHACC Annual Meeting and Conference

Please Join Us for the NHACC

Annual Meeting and Conference

Saturday, November 2, 2019

from 8 am to 3:30 pm at Pembroke Academy

The NHACC Annual Meeting and Conference is the only State-wide conference dedicated to municipal conservation commission members.  We offer workshops on the fundamentals of conservation commissions as well as more advanced sessions. Choose ANY 3 SESSIONS from 24 workshops – such as: DES Wetlands Rules and CC's Role in Permit Process; Using GIS to Create Maps, Nature Economy:  Recognizing the Value of Natural Assets  & many, many more! Don’t miss this educational networking opportunity to learn from both peers and professionals.  Sign up before October 19th to get the early bird rate of $60 for members and $70 for non-members. 

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8/7/19 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 was vetoed by Governor Sununu.

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. This bill was vetoed by Governor Sununu. SB 74-FN-A - VERSION ADOPTED BY BOTH BODIES

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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 ( to register with your name, position, organization, and contact information (email and phone). Registration is free, with a suggested $5 donation.

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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.

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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


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LUCT and it’s benefit to the Merrimack Community

LUCT is a tax paid to the Town when undeveloped land under a lower tax rate (current use) becomes developed.

In Merrimack, NH, the Merrimack Conservation Commission (MCC) has received 50% of LUCT funds over the course of many years. These moneys have gone into a fund that the commission can access for small or large projects and for land acquisitions through purchase or donation.

 This has proved to be an outstanding tool for achieving our goal. By majority vote, the MCC has approved withdrawals from this account to fund such things as trail bridge projects, the expansion of the Horse Hill Nature Preserve parking lot, ecological surveys and the acquisition of many acres of land to add to our conservation areas (such as the recent expansion of Grater Woods).

The benefit of this arrangement with the Town, without a doubt has allowed the MCC to further its mission to the benefit of the citizens of Merrimack.

Of course, as Merrimack becomes increasingly developed over the years, the amount of land available and susceptible to LUCT has become greatly diminished. This means that the money well is drying up and the MCC will have to look for alternative funding for major future purchases and other maintenance projects on our conserved lands.

 I would encourage other conservation commissions to look into a similar arrangement with their towns. This would provide funds to allow for the continued preservation of land in your community, as the LUCT by its nature comes from land that is lost to development.

The sooner the better!

Mike Boisvert, Merrimack Conservation Committee

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