Shrubland habitats are used by over 100 species of wildlife in NH and are critically important to many. Despite their importance to wildlife, these habitats have become increasingly rare in NH and as a result, many of the species that use and/or rely on this habitat have shown declining population numbers in recent years.
As the frequency of extreme rain events rises due to the changing climate, maintaining adequate culverts and stream crossings will be increasingly important for protecting wildlife corridors and connectivity, in addition to reducing flood impacts. Culverts can be designed with climate projections in mind. This will help not only to maintain fish passage and habitat connectivity, but also to extend their longevity (and save money!) by reducing their vulnerability to larger storm events.
Ultimately, the best way to protect wildlife and habitats in the face of climate change is to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that are contributing to the problem. The first step is to understand our individual and organizational/community contributions to climate change, also known as our "carbon footprint" - i.e. how much greenhouse gas emissions do our activities and behaviors contribute to the atmosphere. Check out this Carbon Footprint Calculator from The Nature Conservancy. From there, we can identify opportunities to reduce these emissions by making changes to our behaviors.
There are many opportunities for municipalities to include climate impacts and wildlife protection in plans, policies, and regulations. It's important for local residents, interested citizens, and municipal board members advocate for the incorporation of these topics into relevant documents, so that the municipal staff and boards responsible for these documents know there is local support.
Farmland provides biological diversity in the landscape, benefiting a number of wildlife species. Farmers can adapt agricultural practices to increase ecosystem stability in the face of environmental change, benefiting both wildlife and agricultural yield. Grassland habitats (such as hayfields) benefit a variety of wildlife species. especially grassland-nesting birds that require large tracts of grassland, typically 25 acres or larger, for food, cover and breeding.
Many New Hampshire towns and cities own land. A study conducted by UNH Cooperative Extension and partners found that 4% of New Hampshire’s forest is in town ownership, scattered in about 1,700 parcels and encompassing 180,439 acres. Much of that land has the potential to be managed to benefit wildlife.
Sustainably managing town-owned land for wildlife habitat provides an opportunity to be good example of sound stewardship practices for the community. When management is driven by research-based methods and and professional assistance, town lands can showcase habitat management techniques and Best Management Practices (BMPs).
Preventing the introduction of aquatic invasive species is the best way to protect NH’s lakes and rivers from out-of-control growth and damage to infrastructure. Aquatic invasive species are a huge problem for lakes in NH with variable milfoil being the primary species. To help keep aquatic invasive species out of your local waterways it is important to work with partners in a coordinated management effort including year-round monitoring.
People who are aware of the problems associated with invasive plants can end up getting discouraged, once they realize that yes, they are all over the place. But don’t get discouraged! The good news is that they are not everywhere in New Hampshire, and there are options for towns, conservation groups, private landowners, and public agencies to actively work to control invasive plants.
If you would like to increase the percentage of the land use change tax that goes into your Conservation Fund, you should be prepared to explain the land use change tax (LUCT) is the tax paid to towns when land it taken out of current use. You should also be able to describe the projects recently funded with LUCT and what your Conservation Fund has been used for in the past. Focus on successful projects that were supported by the public. It is important to outline the tax savings if the proposed LUCT goes into the general fund.