As a fisheries biologist with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department (NHFG), I often get asked questions about the fish species that live in the state. It might be a student working on a school project or someone from a conservation organization working on a watershed management plan. University researchers, environmental regulators, anglers, land trusts, and conservation commissions have all requested fish data for a variety of reasons since I started with the department in 2004.
This fall I’ve been slowing down a lot to allow squirrels and deer to cross the road. On rainy nights next spring I’ll stop to help frogs and salamanders cross and then come June I’ll help turtles. Animals move. For a variety of reasons. Depending on the species and time of year they may be looking for food, a mate, a place for their young, etc. The path they move along may not always be easy.
Nearly 40 people gathered in the Greater Wakefield Resources center on a wintry January evening.
When the request for proposals came from the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership (PREP) in 2015, the Somersworth Conservation Commission knew what they wanted to do. They saw an opportunity to get their Natural Resources Inventory done with the help of Strafford Regional Planning Commission (SRPC). The proposal they submitted together with SRPC was funded and they got to work.
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.
New Hampshire's Wildlife Action Plan identifies 27 unique habitat types across the state. Many of these are easily recognized and definable, like grasslands or rocky ridges. Others require a bit more thought and consideration of how they should be defined, mapped, and managed.
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?