Taking Action for Wildlife banner

A Partnership of UNH Cooperative Extension and NH Fish and Game

Stories

In comic books and in Hollywood movies, arch-villains are often highly mechanized and possess awesome super powers. We watch battles unfold pitting good versus evil as they unleash their devious plans against each other for control of the earth.

Landowners and communities are often forced to close trails, roads, and bridges due to beaver activity that prevents use.Here in New Hampshire, many face an equally colorful and tenacious foe in the form of a large, robust rodent – the beaver. This worthy adversary is able to decimate well-tended orchards and landscape trees, stop streams, and flood out roads, fields and basements in a single night.  

They seem to possess a...

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...

Most of us Granite Staters are enamored, maybe even infatuated, with the forests of New Hampshire. It’s hard not to be. They cover about 84% of the state after all, and include a variety of 86 native tree species that blanket the landscape in a patchwork of leaves and needles, bark and branches. But every once in a while there’s a break in the canopy. These gaps provide diversity to the forested landscape – many include shrublands, wetlands, rocky areas, or water bodies. And some of these holes in the forest contain a habitat type that is both very important for wildlife and increasingly rare - New Hampshire’s large grasslands.

...

When Campton decided to update their Natural Resources Inventory in 2014 - their previous NRI dated back to 2005 - they decided to work on it as a volunteer project, sharing the tasks among conservation commission members. They also had the assistance of a local volunteer with GIS skills to create the natural resources maps. View the Campton Natural Resources Inventory

Big things can happen for wildlife when dedicated volunteers team up with biologists around the state. This is what happened in the town of Newmarket with a critical call-to-action for motorists to be aware of rare turtles attempting to cross roads. In late May and June each year, female turtles of every species must make their way to open, sandy areas to lay their eggs. This journey can be perilous – especially when generations of turtles have made the same trek year after year, even before there were roads, houses, and other dangerous obstacles between themselves and their preferred nesting area.

The recently updated Wildlife Action Plan identifies road mortality as the leading threat to Blanding’s turtles (state-endangered), spotted turtles (state-threatened), wood turtles (species of Special Concern), eastern box turtles (species of greatest conservation need), and the remaining three common turtle species that exist here in New Hampshire – snapping, painted, and musk. A...

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. Aquatic habitats fall into this category – and five classifications were developed to help conservation commissions, landowners, land trusts and planners better identify these important habitats, and better use the information available in the updated Wildlife Action Plan for conservation and management guidance.

New Hampshire has hundreds of lakes and ponds that provide different elements of wildlife habitat. Aquatic wildlife is often oxygen or temperature dependent, which are two closely linked variables. Because cold water holds more oxygen than warm water, this variable often determines which species can live in that environment. This was a major factor in determining how to...

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).

This is a spotted salamander, a species that requires vernal pools to complete its life cycle. Photo by Victor Young.Some towns have initiated...

It doesn’t take much motivation to get me outside in any season, but there are certain times of year when nature provides a little extra incentive.

In early spring, there’s a short window of time that’s easy to miss; after all the snow has melted, saturating rich forest soils, the trees still without leaves, allowing the full warmth of the sun to hit the ground. The subtle browns of last fall’s leaves give way to green as the forest floor comes back to life. It may still seem a dull time of year, but there is a lot to see in the forest before the leaves.

Starflower (Lysimachia borealis). Photo by Emma Tutein.This is the time to get out in the woods to observe some of our shortest-lived wildflowers: spring ephemerals. As their name alludes,...

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. One is a habitat map, showing where the different types of wildlife habitat are located throughout the state. The other map shows where habitat exists in the best ecological condition – based on biodiversity, arrangement of habitat types on the landscape, and lack of human impacts. 

The revised habitat map includes more habitat types. Locations of swamps (...

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? YOU want to take action! Public input from interested citizens like you helped craft a Plan that provides more than 100 specific actions that can be taken by communities, conservation groups, landowners, state agencies, natural resources professionals and others to protect and manage wildlife and habitats in New Hampshire. Based on your feedback, we have worked to make the actions you can take much more accessible and easy to find. Below, you'll find some...

Pages

Subscribe to Stories