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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...

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...

It doesn’t take much motivation to get me outside in any season, but there are certain times of year when nature provides a little extra incentive.

In early spring, there’s a short window of time that’s easy to miss; after all the snow has melted, saturating rich forest soils, the trees still without leaves, allowing the full warmth of the sun to hit the ground. The subtle browns of last fall’s leaves give way to green as the forest floor comes back to life. It may still seem a dull time of year, but there is a lot to see in the forest before the leaves.

Starflower (Lysimachia borealis). Photo by Emma Tutein.This is the time to get out in the woods to observe some of our shortest-lived wildflowers: spring ephemerals. As their name alludes,...

As part of the revision of the Wildlife Acton Plan, two sets of maps have been updated and released for use by conservation planners, landowners, land trusts, biologists and others. The two existing habitat-based maps have been redone with the latest available information, and a new third map was created for surface water habitat types (lakes, ponds, rivers and streams). For those of you new to the Plan, the first two maps have been around since 2006 and were updated in 2010. One is a habitat map, showing where the different types of wildlife habitat are located throughout the state. The other map shows where habitat exists in the best ecological condition – based on biodiversity, arrangement of habitat types on the landscape, and lack of human impacts. 

The revised habitat map includes more habitat types. Locations of swamps (...

The 2015 update of the NH Wildlife Action Plan included an extensive amount of public participation. 166 individuals representing 79 communities participated in public engagement sessions held throughout the state. 1,142 people responded to an online survey to express their concerns and priorities for wildlife in New Hampshire. 123 people provided comments on a draft of the Plan prior to its submission. And what did we hear during this process? YOU want to take action! Public input from interested citizens like you helped craft a Plan that provides more than 100 specific actions that can be taken by communities, conservation groups, landowners, state agencies, natural resources professionals and others to protect and manage wildlife and habitats in New Hampshire. Based on your feedback, we have worked to make the actions you can take much more accessible and easy to find. Below, you'll find some...

The strangely unique horseshoe crab is one of five marine species that are considered Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) in New Hampshire. Particularly if you are a birder or a fisherman, you may already know the important ecological role that the horseshoe crab serves. Each year, these animals lay masses of eggs on coastal beaches, many of which become a source of energy-rich nutrition for migrating shorebirds. Seasoned fishermen know that horseshoe crab eggs are great attractant for American eel, lobster, and conch.  

Horseshoe crab populations in the northeast may be in some trouble. In addition to some environmental stressors, approximately 500,000 horseshoe crabs are collected each year by the biomedical industry for Limulus amebocyte lysate -- a component of their unique blue blood that can detect foreign bacteria on medical instruments and in drugs. Once a portion of their blood has been collected for this purpose, the horseshoe crabs are returned back to...

Where else can you learn about New Hampshire’s 27 unique habitat types, research threats to wildlife, and find lists of actions you and your community can take to protect wildlife? The revised New Hampshire Wildlife Action Plan has it all! The long-awaited release of the updated Plan includes new planning tools and updated wildlife habitat maps just waiting for you to get your hands on.

The NH Wildlife Action Plan has been updated for the first time since 2005 and it couldn’t have been done without the help of many NH citizens who participated in the process! 166 people representing 79 communities and an array of non-profit, municipal, state and federal agencies, and private landowners participated in public engagement sessions. 1,142 people responded to an online survey and 123...

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