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).
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.
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?
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.
What do you get when you give 135 high school sophomores an armload of heavy pointed shovels, pick-axes, and hacksaws, and send them off into the woods?
Well, that’s not a joke, so don’t wait for a punchline.
Several groups of people huddled over the Wildlife Action Plan maps, a buzz of animated conversation filling the room. Taking Action for Wildlife had come to Alstead, and more than 30 community members were discussing and identifying important habitat areas in town.
The Town of Easton, in northern Grafton County, has a way with coming up with catchy names. Their “Pastry and Preservation” conservation events have drawn local residents to enjoy good food and learn about the town’s natural resources. So no big surprise that they came up with “Got Wildlife?”, a creative activity to engage residents in recording wildlife sightings in town.
In the early hours of a Saturday morning in spring, a group of Fremont citizens armed with binoculars and field guides were alert and quiet, listening intently to the chorus of birds and scribbling on their notepads. “Hermit thrush. Scarlet Tanager. Chickadee. Wait! Was that a pileated woodpecker?”. A short distance away another group huddled over a small flower, riffling through a field guide to identify it.