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A Partnership of UNH Cooperative Extension and NH Fish and Game

Land Trusts Looking Ahead

Nearly 40 people gathered in the Greater Wakefield Resources center on a wintry January evening. This was the first in a series of three events held from January – April 2017 involving stakeholders in the Moose Mountain Regional Greenways’ (MMRG) seven-town service area (Wolfeboro, Wakefield, Brookfield, Middleton, New Durham, Farmington, Milton) as part of a group helping MMRG develop their strategic conservation plan, titled - Our Home, Our Land, Our Tomorrow.A map of uncommon wildlife habitats used by Moose Mountain Regional Greenwaysduring their strategic conservation planning process.

During early 2017, the Taking Action for Wildlife Team started meeting with land trusts across the state to find out how they are using wildlife information in their conservation and land management plans and to provide assistance with accessing and using additional more detailed wildlife datasets (such as fisheries and aquatic species) available to them from NH Fish and Game. We discovered that land trusts are doing some really interesting work as they develop regional priorities through their conservation planning. Digging deeper into the Wildlife Action Plan data will add considerably to their good work.

MMRG’s conservation planning began in September 2016 and has focused on engaging a number of groups, including local residents, municipal boards, state agencies, non-profits and other stakeholders in the development of the plan. The Taking Action for Wildlife Team was part of this group, providing Wildlife Action Plan maps and information for the work sessions. The Wildlife Action Plan has played an important role in Moose Mountains’ conservation planning, providing key information about wildlife habitats through the Wildlife Action Plan maps and underlying data. Lead consultant Dan Sundquist incorporated wildlife information, along with a variety of other natural resources data into a “Delphi process” to develop co-occurrence maps of natural resources and priority areas based on input from the group. You can learn more about the Moose Mountain Regional Greenways Strategic Conservation Planning process  on their website.

NH land trusts are starting to include climate change data in their conservation plans. Monadnock Conservancy is leading the way as they work on incorporating climate resiliency data into the conservation plan they are currently working on. The Taking Action for Wildlife team met with Conservancy staff to discuss opportunities for including the more detailed wildlife habitat datasets in their conservation plan and in specific parcel management plans. Wildlife habitat maps and data continue to be an integral part of the Conservancy’s conservation planning and prioritizing, along with other natural resources. They are actively using Wildlife Action Plan data for looking at land management strategies, especially as landowners express interest in managing their land for specific species. Monadnock Conservancy is also using wildlife data in their property checklist during the property evaluation process.

When we met with the Green Mountain Conservation Group (GMCG) back in January, they were excited about planning a conservation round table focused on wildlife habitats with the seven communities in their service area. The Taking Action for Wildlife Team worked with GMCG to plan an event for later in 2017 where conservation commissioners and others from the GMCG towns will work together to review conservation priorities for wildlife and water resources and discuss natural resource-based planning. This will target conservation effort on the most important areas to conserve as communities focus on where to locate their future development. We are co-hosting this event with our TAFW Team partner, the NH Association of Conservation Commissions (NHACC). 

Interested in hosting a conservation round table event focused on wildlife in your region? Contact amanda.stone@unh.edu with your request!

By Amanda Stone, UNH Cooperative Extension, and Emily Preston, NH Fish & Game Department
Spring 2017 Taking Action for Wildlife Newsletter