Got Wildlife?

Volunteers in the town of Campton used maps and data from the Wildlife Action Plan to update existing town documents.

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, pens, note paper – and someone to staff the map. This activity has successfully engaged people across the state in thinking about wildlife and contributing information about local wildlife sightings as communities start to inventory wildlife in town. Started by the Town of Easton in 2011 as part of their “Got Wildlife?” program, more than 15 towns have used the Wildlife Sightings Activity to both engage the public and gather data about local wildlife.

Natural Resources Inventories top the list! Recognizing the need for a current Natural Resources Inventory (NRI) – a critical first step before starting to work on conservation planning and land conservation projects – many towns are working to create or update a NRI for their town. Alexandria, Andover and Wolfeboro are planning to add the updated 2015 Wildlife Action Plan information to their existing NRIs. Epping has hired the Rockingham Planning Commission to work on a new NRI, and Pembroke recently completed its first NRI with the help of a private consultant.

Bath completed their NRI in 2012, doing the work themselves with a group of volunteers. Recognizing that the NRI is a living document, they updated it in June 2015 with a Brook Trout study, and again in February 2016 to incorporate the updated 2015 Wildlife Action Plan data. Campton Conservation Commission also took on their NRI project as a group of volunteers, completing the project in 2016.  Review their stories and see what they did. The towns of Lisbon, Lyman and Landaff (not only are they alliterative, but we had a joint meeting with all three towns!) are planning to start working on first time NRIs (Lyman and Lisbon) and updating an existing NRI (Landaff).  Learn how you can incorporate wildlife into your natural resources inventory.    

As part of the town’s Master Plan update, Mont Vernon is drafting a Wildlife Chapter for their Master Plan. We are not aware of other municipal Master Plans that have both a Wildlife section and a Natural Resources section – but this is a great idea for other towns to consider! The Taking Action for Wildlife Team will soon be working with Salem to discuss incorporating wildlife and other natural resources information into their master plan update.

Would your community like assistance with figuring out how to use 2015 Wildlife Action Plan data and information? Take a look at our web page for application information or contact amanda.stone@unh.edu  Our assistance is free of charge and we are here to help you!

By Amanda Stone, UNH Cooperative Extension
Fall 2016 Taking Action for Wildlife Newsletter