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by Evy Nathan, Chair of the Kingston Conservation Commission and NH Coverts Project volunteer

How to get kids and their families off smart phones and media devices and out of doors? That is the question.

Encouraging youth to become involved with conservation has been my take-away as a Coverts [volunteer], and as the chairperson of our local Conservation Commission. We've completed several terrific programs with the schools and the Scouts, but have yet to succeed in actually getting kids out on hiking trails. When I learned a couple of years ago about Exeter's Trail Passport System, I decided it was an idea our town could adapt.

A quote from the...

The foundation of the Somersworth Natural Resources Assessment (NRA) is a map-based Geographic Information Systems (GIS) inventory of the City’s existing natural resources. Six primary natural resource maps were developed to display and analyze topography, agricultural resources, water resources, conservation and unfragmented lands, habitats identified in the NH Wildlife Action Plan (WAP), and the highest ranked habitat areas identified in the WAP. A build-out analysis was conducted to map and identify areas of the City where potential future development may occur. The final step of this NRA was the creation of a co-occurrence map that identifies the presence of multiple key natural resources. A brief analysis of each of these maps is...

During the several public input sessions we hosted for the revision of the Wildlife Action Plan, one message came out loud and clear. You wanted to know, more clearly, the actions you could take to help New Hampshire's wildlife. And you wanted to have information about Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) and their habitats at your fingertips. We’ve been working on making these things happen on the Taking Action for Wildlife and the NH Fish and Game (NHFG) websites. Here are some ways you can start to get to know New Hampshire's Wildlife Action Plan - the species in need of attention, important habitats, and actions you can take to benefit wildlife in our state: ...

In comic books and in Hollywood movies, arch-villains are often highly mechanized and possess awesome super powers. We watch battles unfold pitting good versus evil as they unleash their devious plans against each other for control of the earth.

Landowners and communities are often forced to close trails, roads, and bridges due to beaver activity that prevents use.Here in New Hampshire, many face an equally colorful and tenacious foe in the form of a large, robust rodent – the beaver. This worthy adversary is able to decimate well-tended orchards and landscape trees, stop streams, and flood out roads, fields and basements in a single night.  

They seem to possess a...

Can you help us figure out how to incorporate wildlife information into our Master Plan Update? What steps should we take to include wildlife in our Natural Resources Inventory? How can we educate our residents about the value of wildlife and habitats? The Taking Action for Wildlife team has been hard at work helping communities answer these questions and use data and maps from the updated 2015 Wildlife Action Plan. Since January, we have assisted 10 communities across New Hampshire. Below, find out what they have been up to and get inspiration for your own projects.

Winchester was looking for a way to engage the public with wildlife and they had a very short time frame to work in.  The Wildlife Sightings Map Activity was a perfect fit – it simply requires a laminated copy of the Wildlife Habitats Map, some sticky dots...

Most of us Granite Staters are enamored, maybe even infatuated, with the forests of New Hampshire. It’s hard not to be. They cover about 84% of the state after all, and include a variety of 86 native tree species that blanket the landscape in a patchwork of leaves and needles, bark and branches. But every once in a while there’s a break in the canopy. These gaps provide diversity to the forested landscape – many include shrublands, wetlands, rocky areas, or water bodies. And some of these holes in the forest contain a habitat type that is both very important for wildlife and increasingly rare - New Hampshire’s large grasslands.

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When Campton decided to update their Natural Resources Inventory in 2014 - their previous NRI dated back to 2005 - they decided to work on it as a volunteer project, sharing the tasks among conservation commission members. They also had the assistance of a local volunteer with GIS skills to create the natural resources maps. View the Campton Natural Resources Inventory

Big things can happen for wildlife when dedicated volunteers team up with biologists around the state. This is what happened in the town of Newmarket with a critical call-to-action for motorists to be aware of rare turtles attempting to cross roads. In late May and June each year, female turtles of every species must make their way to open, sandy areas to lay their eggs. This journey can be perilous – especially when generations of turtles have made the same trek year after year, even before there were roads, houses, and other dangerous obstacles between themselves and their preferred nesting area.

The recently updated Wildlife Action Plan identifies road mortality as the leading threat to Blanding’s turtles (state-endangered), spotted turtles (state-threatened), wood turtles (species of Special Concern), eastern box turtles (species of greatest conservation need), and the remaining three common turtle species that exist here in New Hampshire – snapping, painted, and musk. A...

New Hampshire's Wildlife Action Plan identifies 27 unique habitat types across the state. Many of these are easily recognized and definable, like grasslands or rocky ridges. Others require a bit more thought and consideration of how they should be defined, mapped, and managed. Aquatic habitats fall into this category – and five classifications were developed to help conservation commissions, landowners, land trusts and planners better identify these important habitats, and better use the information available in the updated Wildlife Action Plan for conservation and management guidance.

New Hampshire has hundreds of lakes and ponds that provide different elements of wildlife habitat. Aquatic wildlife is often oxygen or temperature dependent, which are two closely linked variables. Because cold water holds more oxygen than warm water, this variable often determines which species can live in that environment. This was a major factor in determining how to...

Vernal pools are home to many wildlife species, including those that breed exclusively in this habitat type – fairy shrimp, wood frogs, and spotted salamanders. “These temporary wetlands are often small and dry in late summer, and therefore are easily overlooked during land-use planning,” explains NH Fish and Game wetlands biologist Michael Marchand. This is a big concern for several Species of Greatest Conservation Need that are associated with vernal pools, such as Blue-spotted, Jefferson, and marbled salamanders (a state-endangered species).

This is a spotted salamander, a species that requires vernal pools to complete its life cycle. Photo by Victor Young.Some towns have initiated...

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