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A Partnership of UNH Cooperative Extension and NH Fish and Game

Incorporating Wildlife Into Town Documents

Communities can incorporate wildlife habitat protection considerations into some of their municipal documents and regulations:

Non Regulatory Documents:

Natural Resources Inventory
Discussion and description of wildlife species and habitats can be covered in the Widlife Chapter of a municipal Natural Resources Inventory. Be sure to include the Wildlife Action Plan Habitats Land Cover and Highest Ranked Habitats maps. 

Wildlife Conservation Plan or Open Space Plan
Protecting areas that are priorities for local wildlife habitats can be the focus of a conservation plan (e.g. a wildlife conservation plan) or it can be part of a conservation or open space plan that identifies multiple resources for protection. The conservation/open space plan helps to identify areas that could be good candidates for voluntary land conservation.

Managing habitats on town-owned properties
Wildlife considerations can be incorporated into existing or new management plans for town-owned lands.

Regulatory Documents:

Master Plan
To enact ordinances and regulations designed to protect wildlife habitat, a municipality must address this topic in their Master Plan by including goal or objective statements relating to wildlife habitat protection, for example the Land Use and Natural Resources chapters  provide opportunities to discuss the importance of wildlife habitat to the community.

Zoning Ordinances
To enact regulations relating to wildlife habitat, a municipality should include language in the zoning ordinance that authorizes the adoption of such regulations.

Subdivision and Site Plan Review Regulations
The “Wildlife Habitat Management” chapter of Innovative Land Use Planning Techniques: A Handbook for Sustainable Development provides model language for subdivision and site plan review regulations pertaining to wildlife habitat and a comprehensive application checklist.

Public Outreach

Public outreach and education are valuable ways to engage the public, inform them of your activies, create awareness of wildlife and wildlife habitats in town, build support for your projects, and more. Incorporate public outreach into your efforts to protect wildlife habitats in your community.