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FOR IMMED8ATE RELEASE:
DATE: December 20, 2016
CONTACT: Lori Sommer, 603 271-4059

NHDES Awards Wetlands Protection Grants
$2,403,740 Provided to Twenty Projects

CONCORD, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) Aquatic Resource Mitigation (ARM) Program has awarded funding from the Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund for twenty projects totaling $2,403,740.

The NHDES ARM Fund, established by law, is a mitigation option for certain projects impacting wetlands and not able to provide other forms of mitigation. An ARM Fund Site Selection Committee is charged with identifying proposals to be funded by selecting high priority projects that most effectively compensate for the loss of functions and values from the projects that paid into the Fund. According to the law, the projects determined to be appropriate for receipt of ARM Fund monies are subject to approval by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the NH Wetlands Council.

UpperProjects receiving funds include:

UpperPemigewasset-Winnipesaukee River Service Area:

$107,500 to permanently protect approximately 206 acres of land on Meredith Neck with direct frontage on Page Pond. The Town of Meredith, acting through its Conservation Commission, will be the long-term landowner and land manager. The proposed acquisition includes areas of prime wetlands, 330 linear feet of Page Brook and 2,875 linear feet of an unnamed brook that flows directly into Lake Winnipesaukee. This project builds connectivity across Meredith Neck to create a large block of conserved land.

UpperSalmon Falls to Piscataqua River Service Area:

$40,000 to protect approximately 117 acres of land in Candia including 8 large vernal pools, nearly 900 feet of river/stream shoreline in the regionally significant Upper North Branch River Core Focus Area (as identified by the Land Conservation Plan for NH’s Coastal Watersheds). The property will be protected by an easement held by Southeast Land Trust and is within a Blanding’s turtle priority conservation area identified by NHFG known as the Bear Brook site. This site ranks second out of the top 10 focus areas in NH and connects the property’s habitat to an existing 388-acre block of conservation land. 

$85,000 for the acquisition of approximately 343 acres in Fremont including 4,107 linear feet of Brown Brook which is a tributary to the Piscassic River. The property also includes several streams that flow into Brown Brook and 3,135 linear feet of an unnamed tributary to the Exeter River. The subject Property includes nearly 71.5-acres of high value wetlands, including portions of 5 Prime Wetlands, and 29 probable vernal pools. The Property is almost entirely ranked as “Highest Ranking Habitat in the State” in the WAP. In addition, the Property is within a “High Priority” site for Blanding’s turtles identified in the “Conservation Plan for Blanding’s Turtle and Associated Species of Conservation Need in the Northeastern United States”.

$61,545 for a conservation easement on 53 acres of land in Barrington located along the Isinglass River and which abuts approximately 327-acre of contiguous conservation land. The property includes nearly six-acres of important high value wetlands, one confirmed vernal pool and two probable vernal pools. Conserving this parcel will create a contiguous block of 380-acres of conservation land, all of which is located just down river from the 300-acre Calef Forest. In addition, the conservation easement will ensure that the approximately 3 mile long “Barrington Trail,” which extends along the property’s Isinglass River frontage, remains open to public access. 

$149,805 for the Sawyer Mill Dam Removal Project located on the Bellamy River in Dover. The goals of the Sawyer Mill Dam Removal Project are to restore fish passage; improve fish and wildlife habitat; improve water quality; and reduce flood hazards. Removal of the two Sawyer Mill Dams will significantly improve access for American eels and restore passage for alewife, blueback herring and sea lamprey, which are identified as species of “special concern” and “species of greatest conservation need” by NHFG. The project will reconnect 11.2 miles of main-stem riverine habitat to Great Bay. 

$50,000 for the Upper Oyster River Passage Project that will replace the highest priority road/stream crossing culvert in the Oyster River watershed to restore natural stream channel dynamics and function on an impacted reach of the Oyster River. The project proposes to restore full fish passage to approximately four miles of upstream riverine habitat in the headwaters of the Oyster River and its tributary streams for the benefit of American Brook Lamprey (state endangered species), Eastern Brook Trout, American Eel, and other important aquatic species. The project includes the permanent protection, through a deed restriction, of approximately 12 acres of undeveloped land adjacent to the Oyster River and the 1,528-acre Samuel A. Tamposi Water Supply Reserve land. 

$38,240 for the permanent protection of 87 acres of land which are the headwaters for the Rollins Brook, a tributary to the North River, Lamprey River, and the Great Bay Estuary in Nottingham. This property includes a 13-acre beaver impoundment and 3 confirmed vernal pools. The project proposes to restore and enhance critical wildlife habitat, with a particular focus on the state endangered Blanding’s turtle, which is known to occupy this parcel. This property connects to more than 2,000 acres of protected lands east of Pawtuckaway State Park, including the soon-to-be-protected Harvey Forest at Kennard Hill, one of SELT’s “crown jewels” with more than 1,100 acres of open space. 

UpperMerrimack River Service Area:

$100,000 for the Portsmouth Street Stream Restoration Project located in Concord. This project will restore Mill Brook and Merrimack River floodplain connectivity, and restore the stream channel so it is similar to natural conditions upstream. The project will replace an undersized culvert with a 16 x 3 foot three-sided culvert that will pass the 100-year storm. This increase in crossing size will restore Merrimack River floodwater access to approximately 4.7 acres of wetlands upstream of Portsmouth Street. The project also includes the

$400,000 for the conservation of 1,870 +/- acres of land including Tower Hill Pond in Hooksett and Candia. The project will permanently conserve 45 separate wetlands encompassing 280-acres, over 2 miles of undeveloped shoreline of Tower Hill Pond, 6.3 miles of perennial streams, 1.6 miles of intermittent streams, 74 vernal pools and 1,590 acres of upland and lowland forest. The land contains a portion of the 8,000 acres owned and managed by Manchester Water Works that provides clean drinking water to the over 160,000 residents of the City of Manchester and surrounding towns.

$400,000 to permanently conserve two parcels of land totaling 149+/- acres adjacent to the Musquash Conservation Area in Londonderry.  This project is a partnership between Southeast Land Trust which will hold the easement on the property and NHFG which will own the property. The property is located in a focus area identified for recovery of the New England cottontail (NEC), a state endangered species. Parcel #1 has the potential for the creation of high quality habitat for the species through manage ment in the upland forest present on the property. Nearly the entire property is identified as either Tier 1 or 2 in the WAP. Both parcels are located in an area of dense residential development and could easily be developed. Parcel #1 has over 500 feet of road frontage along the residential development to the south including direct access to Preserve Drive.

$150,000 to acquire a conservation easement on approximately 100 acres in Salem along the Hittytity Brook which abuts the 206-acre Salem Town Forest. Conserving this parcel will create a contiguous block of 345-acres of conservation land in Salem. After the acquisition is complete the Town plans to make improvements to several stream and wetland crossings on the Property that are currently impeding flow and potentially impeding aquatic passage. The property includes approximately 22.5 acres of a high transmissivity aquifer that is located in the area of Hittytity Brook. This aquifer has been considered as a potential water supply by the Town due to its productivity.  Conserving this property will help preserve this potential future public water supply.

$89,000 for the acquisition and bank restoration on a 22 acre parcel located in Brookline along the Nissitissit River. A conservation easement will be placed on the property to be held by the Piscataquog Land Conservancy. Protection of the frontage and upland buffer is a high priority in the region since this is one of the last large sections of the river that has not been protected and it contains an impressive eastern brook trout fishery. The WAP depicts the property as being a combination of Highest Ranked Habitat in NH and Highest Ranked Habitat in Biological Region.

$83,850 for the purchase of a 7.6-acre property along the South Branch of the Piscataquog River in Francestown, and protect 33-acres with conservation easements donated by abutting landowners in support of this project. The project will permanently protect 2,155 linear feet of the South Branch of the Piscataquog River, its associated riparian and upland forest as well as eight acres of wetlands at the confluence of Brennan Brook. The Brennan Brook-South Branch Confluence Project connects to and enhances the ecological function of over 4,500 acres of biologically diverse protected land.

$8,260 to permanently protect the Hitchiner Town Forest in Milford with a conservation easement to be held by the New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF).  The upland on the property is considered of “Highest Ranked Habitat in the Biological Region” in the WAP. A chestnut oak forest/woodland occupies approximately 30 acres on the upper slopes of Milford’s Hitchiner Town Forest property. This forest type reaches the northern extent of its range in New Hampshire, and is ranked S1/S2 (imperiled/critically imperiled) in the state. Much of the land surrounding the Town Forest is under residential development and placing an easement on the property will sustain the natural landscape.
Lower Connecticut River Service Area:

$105,000 for the acquisition of the 72-acre Chamberlain property located on the southern shore of Sip Pond in the Town of Fitzwilliam. The predominant feature of the property is the wetland, which is part of the 352-acre Sip Pond Peatland Complex. The parcel has 2,200 feet of frontage on Sip Pond and 2,100 feet of frontage along Sip Pond Brook. The property is within two wellhead protection areas and ninety-five percent (68.6 acres) of the property overlies a stratified drift aquifer. This wetland complex represents one of the highest quality wetlands in Fitzwilliam, if not the region.

$168,500 to purchase 110 acres of forested property in Lebanon and place a permanent conservation easement on it, and convey it to the City in a simultaneous transaction with the seller. This project will protect 18.7 acres of wetlands, 1,300 linear feet of perennial stream, 855 feet of Mascoma River frontage, as well as an additional 2,400 linear feet of intermittent stream.  The parcel lies north and adjacent to the 76+/- acre, permanently protected “Ticknor Woodland” property, owned by the City of Lebanon. The conservation easement will also ensure and provide for continued public access for low-impact activities consistent with overall aquatic resource protection. 

Contoocook River Service Area:

$24,000 for the installation of stormwater management structures to improve water quality and minimize stormwater erosion along the bank of the Contoocook River at Azalea Park in Henniker. Azalea Park is a historical landmark in downtown Henniker, located along the Contoocook River.  The focus of this phase of the project is to manage the upland stormwater runoff which has been directed into a wetland in the park, causing erosion of the park entrance path and adding sediments and salt into the wetland. Managing the upland stormwater runoff and controlling the water flow into the river after storm events will help decrease the sediment washing into the river.

UpperMiddle Connecticut River Service Area:

$252,240 for the purchase of a conservation easement on the Shumway Forest, a 313-acre parcel on Moose Mountain in Hanover.  The property includes the presence of headwater streams and a diversity of other valuable wetlands, presence of Tier 1 and 2 wildlife habitat and supporting landscape, the highest elevation unprotected wildlife habitat in the town, and a section of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.  The parcel provides conservation linkages within a large block of unfragmented forest on Moose Mountain in the Quabbin to Cardigan region.

Upper Connecticut River Service Area:

$79,800 to protect and restore 71.57 acres of high conservation-value riverine habitat, floodplain forest and farmland along 1.6 miles of the Connecticut River in Colebrook.  The Nature Conservancy will acquire the fee interest in the Brunault tract and subsequently transfer ownership to NHFG. The project will result in the permanent protection of 3.4 contiguous miles of Connecticut River shoreline on the New Hampshire side. The protection of the Brunault property will contribute to a 970-acre block of protected conservation land on both sides of the river. Restoration of the parcel’s floodplains will create a more resilient ecosystem, ensuring dynamic river processes, such as channel migration that creates oxbows and sandbars for pioneer species recruitment. It will also help ensure the protection of four state-listed endangered plants found on the property. The floodplain forest on the Brunault tract is also part of a rare natural community in the watershed.

$15,000 for aquatic restoration work in the Nash Stream watershed in Stratford and Odell. The project is a phased, multi‐year effort to restore channel processes and habitat quality/connectivity so that the watershed supports an intact aquatic ecosystem, including native coldwater fish. In this second phase of tributary wood replenishment, Trout Unlimited proposes to add wood to the channel and restore up to 3.2 miles of instream and riparian habitat that was impaired by historic logging activities in the East Branch and Long Mountain Brook which are direct tributaries to Nash Stream. The project ultimately will restore over nine miles of mainstem and ten miles of tributary habitat, and reconnect over six miles of tributaries.

For more information on the NHDES Aquatic Resource Mitigation Program, visit the NHDES website at www.des.nh.gov and use the A to Z list to find the program page or contact NHDES Mitigation Coordinator, Lori Sommer, at lori.sommer@des.nh.gov or (603) 271-4059.




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