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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DATE: November 20, 2020
CONTACT: Lori Sommer, (603) 271-4059

NHDES Awards Wetlands Protection and Stream Restoration Grants

$2,942,022 Provided to Sixteen Projects

Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Aquatic Resource Mitigation (ARM) Fund Program has awarded eleven conservation and five stream restoration projects totaling $2,942,022.

The NHDES ARM Fund, established within Federal and State law, is a mitigation option for projects impacting wetlands and streams that cannot avoid or minimize impacts and are not able to provide other suitable 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.

Project Name
Applicant
Town

ARM Award Amount

Project Summary

ANDROSCOGGIN RIVER SERVICE AREA

Shelburne Riverland Acquisition
Mahoosuc Land Trust Inc.
Shelburne

$761,668

Funds will be used to permanently protect 853 acres of land that includes an array of mainland, islands, and frontage along the Androscoggin River. This project is a unique opportunity to protect a significant amount of Androscoggin River shoreline and floodplain wetlands, providing wildlife habitat protection and enhancing connectivity between significant conserved lands along this popular scenic section of the river. The project will protect 572 acres (67% of the project area) of ranked habitat identified in the NHFG Wildlife Action Plan (WAP). The parcels feature a series of outstanding wetlands related to the Androscoggin River, including floodplain forests, oxbow channels, scrub-shrub and emergent marsh, and a variety of river channel types.

 

               

SACO RIVER SERVICE AREA

Dundee Community Forest
Trust for Public Lands
Jackson

$71,631

ARM funds will be used to protect a 309-acre parcel, the “Tin Mountain Tracts” in Jackson, that contains several tributaries to the East Branch of the Saco River and associated wetlands. The project will conserve many valuable aquatic resources that include 1.9 miles of perennial and 1.2 miles of intermittent streams, 6.7 acres of riparian wetlands, and a basin swamp. The streams on the property are in exemplary condition and ranked as Tier 2 and Tier 3 habitat in the NHFG WAP.

PEMIGEWASSET-WINNIPESAUKEE RIVER SERVICE AREA                                                             

West Branch Brook Forest Parcel 9-1-1
Campton Conservation Commission
Campton

$75,563

This project will use ARM funds to permanently protect a 144‐acre forested property that drains into the West Branch Brook. The property has many high-value conservation features including 13.4 acres of wetlands, 7,000’ of undisturbed shoreline along West Branch Brook, 15 confirmed vernal pools with amphibian breeding, 2,500’ of intermittent streams, and a pristine conifer basin swamp. The riparian area is important habitat for fisher, ermine, mink, river otter, bobcat, red fox, coyote, porcupine, moose, and beaver.

Beebe River Aquatic
 Habitat Restoration
Grafton County Conservation District
Campton

$150,000

Funds will be used to restore aquatic connectivity at two deficient stream crossings in the Beebe River watershed. The current culverts are a barrier to brook trout and other wildlife, blocking access to critical spawning and thermal refuge habitats. The undersized culverts are causing sediment buildup and downstream scour and bank erosion, and are also at risk of failing during storm flows. This project will replace the Ryan Brook culvert with a 26’ span structure that will maintain full aquatic organism passage, and daylight a coldwater tributary by removing a second crossing. Building upon recent landscape-level conservation efforts in the watershed, this project moves toward the goal of removing all unnatural barriers within the cold water portion of the Beebee watershed; with future plans to target removal of the two remaining barriers in future restoration phases.

SALMON FALLS-PISCATAQUA RIVER SERVICE AREA

Leighton Forest
Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire
Barrington & Strafford

$400,000

The Leighton Forest project will permanently conserve 407.5 acres in the Nippo Brook/Isinglass River watershed. High-quality wildlife habitat covers 98% of the property (NHFG WAP Tiers 1, 2 and 3), including 51.8 acres of wetlands, and 355 acres of upland buffer. Protection of this parcel will protect important turtle habitat and 13 confirmed vernal pools. The Leighton Forest builds upon landscape connectivity efforts by conserving lands that lie within a 2,350-acre unfragmented Forest Block and are a core focus area within the 2006 Land Conservation Plan for New Hampshire’s Coastal Watersheds.

Teneriffe Mountain
Moose Mountain Regional Greenways
Milton

$275,000

ARM funds will be used to protect 242 acres consisting of three abutting parcels in Milton. The Teneriffe Mountain property is within the Hart Brook and Mount Teneriffe unfragmented Forest Block, designated a core focus area in the 2006 Land Conservation Plan for New Hampshire’s Coastal Watershed and MMRG’s Conservation Action Plan for conservation priority. There is 3,500’ of stream that runs through the property, located in the headwaters of the Lyman/Great Brook subwatershed, and eventually flows into the Salmon Falls River. Two deficient culverts will be upgraded to open-bottom bridges to enhance aquatic connectivity through Lyman Brook.

Clay Brook Forest
Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests
Hampton Falls

$40,000

Funds will be used to place a conservation easement on 30 acres on Clay Brook in Hampton Falls. The project will conserve 1,000’ of riparian buffer on Clay Brook and 500’ on the Taylor River. There are 6.7 acres of wetlands on the property, including one vernal pool, that are part of a larger complex extending into the Taylor River Watershed. This parcel lies in a highly developable part of the watershed and is bordered to the south by a half dozen homes, so protection of this parcel is critical to ensure the long-term viability of the upland buffer.

Barnes Conservation Easement
Bear-Paw Regional Greenways
Strafford

$74,000

This project will conserve a 67-acre property that contains 19 acres of wetlands and its forested upland buffer. The Barnes property lies within one of the largest unfragmented forest blocks in the Bear-Paw region and its importance is recognized in conservation plans, including the 2006 Land Conservation Plan for New Hampshire’s Coastal Watersheds, The Nature Conservancy’s Resilient Land Project, and Bear-Paw’s Regional Conservation Plan. The primary wetland on the property is a peatland/fen system that drains directly into Bow Lake, which contains several fish species of greatest conservation need and is the headwaters of the Isinglass River, a NH Designated waterway. This project will preserve NHFG WAP Tier 1 wildlife habitat and build upon an existing 1,862 acres of permanently conserved land.

MERRIMACK RIVER SERVICE AREA

Burnes Conservation Easement
Piscataquog Land Conservancy
Goffstown

$73,000

ARM funds will be used to put a conservation easement on a 37-acre parcel that buffers the Gorham Brook Tributary Prime Wetland in Goffstown. The property is a mix of Appalachian-oak-pine, Hemlock-hardwood-pine, grasslands, and wet meadow. The project will protect high quality wildlife habitat that includes 0.5 acres of Tier 1, 35 acres Tier 2, and 1 acre of Tier 3 ranked by NHFG WAP, plus suitable habitat for threatened and endangered aquatic species in the area.

Stillhouse Forest Addition
Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests
Northfield

$125,000

A 76-acre parcel that contains 1,200’ of undeveloped shoreline of the Merrimack River, will be protected using ARM funds. The property contains over 2 miles of intermittent streams and 8 acres of wetlands that are integral to the aquatic resources found on the Stillhouse Forest funded by ARM in 2018. The contribution of water, nutrient, and biological resources from this parcel is essential to the vitality of the Stillhouse Forest wetlands. The project has drinking water benefits by protecting portions of Source Water and Wellhead Protection Areas of the Penacook-Boscawen Water Precinct’s drinking water wells. The property supports important wildlife habitat and includes Tier 1 (13%), Tier 2 (15%), and Tier3 (55%) NHFG WAP and two vernal pools.

Steel Addition to Binney Hill Wilderness Preserve
Northeast Wilderness Trust
New Ipswich

$30,000

The Northeast Wilderness Trust will use ARM funds to purchase the 15-acre ‘Steel-Addition’ to the Binney Hill Wilderness Preserve. The 1.25-acre wetland on the property drains into the headwaters of a perennial stream that feeds into Pratt Pond Brook. This project builds upon local efforts by the Northeast Wilderness Trust which already holds 1,588 acres of land under forever-wild easements. The entire parcel is ranked Supporting Landscape by NHFG WAP and is a critical buffer to the Binney Hill Wilderness Preserve, which contains large blocks of WAP Tier 1 and Tier 2 wildlife habitat. A significant portion of the property (80%) is mapped as a ‘resilient area with confirmed diversity’ by The Nature Conservancy’s ‘Resilient and Connected Lands.

Harmony Lane Culvert Replacement at Rocky Pond
Merrimack County Conservation District
Canterbury & Loudon

$164,660

ARM funds have been awarded to replace a degraded stream crossing at the outlet of Rocky Pond; an 83-acre water body at the headwaters of the Soucook River. The road currently passes over four, 30-inch pipes that are structurally compromised and undersized, and overtopping has occurred in recent years during storms. The landowners that access property via Harmony Lane recognize that replacing the existing culverts is necessary to avoid a compete culvert failure and washout of road material into the pond. The culverts will be replaced with a 25-foot span bridge to restore aquatic connectivity for organism passage and increase hydraulic capacity. The stream is ranked as Highest Ranked Habitat in the State by NHFG WAP and is habitat for state-threatened bridle shiner and American eel, and is listed as a potential migratory path for the river herring.

LOWER CONNECTICUT RIVER SERVICE AREA                                                 

Houghton Brook Connectivity Restoration
Town of Walpole
Walpole

$250,000

The Town of Walpole will use ARM funds to replace a perched culvert on Houghton Brook that is a complete barrier to all aquatic animals. The 13’ metal pipe is greatly undersized, which has caused a 4’ perch at the outlet with a large scour pool downstream. The current crossing is a flood hazard and hydrologic models show that it cannot convey the 100-year flood. The new crossing will be a 24’ wide span structure that will provide full passage for aquatic animals, sediment transport, and will accommodate 100-year storm flows. Replacement of the deteriorated structure, and stabilization of the severely eroded stream banks, will significantly increase hydraulic capacity and restore functions and values of fish and wildlife habitat. The project will benefit brook trout by regaining access to upstream spawning and foraging habitat. Houghton Brook is within the Highest Ranked Habitat on the NHFG WAP and connects the CT river to upstream Tier 1 and Tier 2 areas.

CONTOOCOOK RIVER SERVICE AREA

Warner River Headwaters
Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust
Newbury

$175,000

An 86-acre parcel of forested land in Newbury will be permanently protected using ARM funds. The property is part of a larger area of conserved land that includes Mount Sunapee and Pillsbury State Parks. The primary aquatic resource that will be protected is extensive frontage along a perennial brook that is part of the headwaters of the Warner River, a NH Designated river, and has a substantial brook trout population identified by NHFG. This parcel is in an area of the Contoocook River watershed as increased risk for development and could potentially be subdivided into several house lots, so conserving this land is critical to the protection of the water quality of this brook. The property consists of northern hardwood and coniferous forest in the higher elevations, and hemlock-hardwood-pine forest lower in the drainage, and is ranked Highest Ranked Habitat in the Biological Region and Supporting Landscape by the NHFG WAP.

Ballard Brook Connectivity Restoration
Town of Warner
Warner

$165,000

ARM funds will be awarded to restore aquatic connectivity within Ballard Brook by initiating the first phase of a series of culvert upgrades. This first stage will replace the downstream and most problematic culvert and develop final designs for the two remaining upstream culverts. The target culvert for replacement in this first phase is a 6’ pipe arch that impedes aquatic animal passage and prohibits sediment transport by the stream. A 16’-wide box culvert, embedded with 2’ of stream simulation, will improve fish and wildlife passage, accommodate the 100-year storm, allow for natural sediment transport, and reduce scour at the outlet. The riparian corridor along Ballard Brook is Highest Ranked Habitat in New Hampshire and Highest Ranked Habitat in the Biological Region by the NHFG WAP. Ballard Brook supports populations of brook trout and burbot (both species of greatest conservation need), as well as the more common blacknose dace, brown bullhead, chain pickerel, common sunfish, fallfish and white sucker.

MIDDLE CONNECTICUT RIVER SERVICE AREA

Trout Unlimited National
Child’s Brook Stream Crossing Restoration
Bath

$111,500

The Child’s Brook Stream Crossing Restoration will use ARM funds to replace a severely degraded culvert in Bath. The current 6’ metal pipe is completely rusted through on the bottom and perched, preventing fish and wildlife passage, and causing erosion to the streambed and river banks. The undersized culvert is vulnerable to failure during storms and is not only a public safety issue, but would result in a significant impact to the Childs Brook’s aquatic ecosystem if the culvert fails. Increased velocities leaving the culvert have created a 6’ scour pool that is 50’ (three times wider than the natural channel width at this site). The proposed replacement is a bridge with a 24’ open span that will enable brook trout access to critical upstream spawning habitat, forage, and coldwater refugia. This proposal will reconnect 3.1 miles of that highest ranked habitat upstream in the mainstem of Childs Brook to the 1.6 miles downstream before flowing directly into the Ammonoosuc River, a NH Designated River. The project also includes riparian enhancement work and bank stabilization measures to restore the stream to more natural conditions.

For more information on the NHDES Aquatic Resource Mitigation Program, visit the new ARM Fund website or contact NHDES Mitigation Coordinator, Lori Sommer, at lori.sommer@des.nh.gov or (603) 271-4059.




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