The town of Brentwood Conservation Commission has been working towards managing some town-owned properties for wildlife habitat. That may sound like an easy task, but there is a lot to consider when making management decisions, especially on town-owned lands. The Commission must balance multiple uses and important natural resources in their decisions: protecting drinking water, keeping forests healthy, maintaining important wildlife habitat, providing a place for people to enjoy the outdoors.
Sometimes these uses and needs can be at odds; managing for one may be to the detriment of the others. You can see how quickly management decisions can become difficult and overwhelming, but there is a lot of help available to towns interested in managing their lands for wildlife.
Here we share some of the first steps Brentwood has taken towards action. We hope that by sharing stories of towns who are taking action for wildlife, you’ll be inspired to take action in your own town.
1. Learn more - Rob Wofchuck, chair of the Brentwood Conservation Commission attended the NH Coverts Project training last year. The NH Coverts Project trains volunteers to promote wildlife habitat conservation and forest stewardship. The training inspired Rob to investigate what lands the town owns and whether there was an opportunity to manage any town lands for wildlife habitat.
At the NH Coverts Project workshop in spring 2016, Rob Wofchuk and others received training in wildlife habitat, forest management, land conservation, and effective outreach.
2. Hire a professional - The Brentwood Conservation Rob hired Jeff Littleton of Moosewood Ecological to write Stewardship Plans for 3 town-owned properties. This work helped the Conservation Commission prioritize which properties were best to manage for wildlife habitat and which were best to manage for recreation.
3. Research existing resources - Rob was able to find an existing Forest Management Plan, written by a licensed forester, for one of the town properties the Commission had prioritized for wildlife habitat. The Forest Management Plan along with the more recent Stewardship Plan provide a strong foundation on which to make management decisions.
4. Walk the property - UNH Cooperative Extension staff visited the property to take a closer look at and discuss next steps for forest and wildlife management on one of the town properties.
5. Management - Stay tuned as we follow Brentwood’s progress on managing town lands for wildlife. You can visit the Taking Action for Wildlife website for more stories about NH towns managing wildlife habitat!
By Emma Tutein, UNH Cooperative Extension
Winter 2017 Taking Action for Wildlife Newsletter
A forest stand on Brentwood’s South Road Property.
Rockingham County Forester, Fred Borman, discusses forest management options.