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Fred Ernst owns 670 acres of forestland in Acworth, NH. His interest in managing land for wildlife began during his career in a forest-based industry. As Fred describes it, “We practiced sustainability of forests and encouraging wildlife was a natural part of the process. When I bought the land in Acworth in 2001, the land had been “high graded” [most commercial quality trees removed], which had a lot to do with my ideas for improvement”.

“The NH Coverts Project convinced me to actively manage the land for wildlife.” [Note: NH Coverts Project, administered by UNH Cooperative Extension, trains volunteers to promote wildlife habitat conservation and forest stewardship.]

Fred says he thought carefully about his goals and what to do to realize them and he took time to learn more about forests, forestry and habitats.

“...

This past fall, a brontosaurus made its way through the forests of Epping and Kingston, New Hampshire. But don’t be alarmed! While this beast ate whole trees and shrubs, leaving large forest openings in its path, it was no dinosaur. This “brontosaurus” is actually a large flailing-head mower attached to an excavator, used to grind up shrubs and young trees. The machine, more commonly seen clearing power line corridors, does an excellent job creating shrubland and young forest habitats. These large mowers are especially useful for creating forest openings in areas where the trees aren’t large enough for a commercially viable timber harvest.

Click here to view a video showing a brontosaurus at work!

The Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire (SELTNH), based in Exeter and serving...

featured landowners managing for wildlifeWebster, NH - Mark and Juliana Phillips’ home in Webster is part of 700 acres that has been in Mark’s family for generations. It’s where Mark was “surrounded by nature” as a boy. The land has seen changes since then - pastures grew in and habitats changed. “It was a classic, New England abandoned farm,” Mark says. The result was “less wildlife” than when the land was a mix of farm and forest cover. Juliana’s experience in nature early in life led to her attitudes about land today. “I grew up in a very rural part of New Jersey, where we spent most of the time outdoors. Now the area is one of the most densely developed areas in the northeast. I’ve seen so much natural land disappear.

When they decided to settle in Webster, Juliana and Mark sought learning opportunities. Juliana took...

The Town of Hooksett is restoring conditions to ensure natural water flow in a wetland system on land it recently purchased and conserved. The wetland’s outlet is at a woods road crossing that had a culvert too small to allow unrestricted water flow, and that restricted wildlife movement in the outlet stream. The undersized culvert also threatened to back water up behind it and cause erosion of the road during flood conditions. Restoration will consist of replacing the culvert with a much wider opening - a bridge constructed with relatively inexpensive large modular interlocking concrete blocks that allows free flow of water and improved wildlife passage.

With assistance from the Taking Action for Wildlife Technical Assistance Team, Keene incorporated NH Wildlife Action Plan information into their management plans for city-owned properties. They:

Betsy Hardwick is Chair of the Francestown Conservation Commission and a member of the Select Board. For the past eleven years, in addition to managing her family’s 30 acre property, she has worked to increase conservation land in her town and involve town residents in those lands through education, events and frequent communication. Much of this work has included enhancing and protecting valuable wildlife habitats. Betsy has lived in Francestown all her life, as have generations of family before her. It’s not surprising, then, to hear her say, “I have a very strong connection to the place. I love nature. I’d as soon be in the woods as anywhere.”

GETTING INVOLVED
Betsy initially got involved in conservation work somewhat by chance, but took the opportunity to do something about a need she’d identified. “In 1998, I...

Landowners in Coos County share exciting results from recent wildlife habitat management work on their property:

woodcock "Exciting news from our property! On April 29th I was [releasing yet another apple tree] at the edge of the opening we created two years ago when I was lucky enough to spot a Woodcock which appeared to be sitting on a nest. I was so happy I spotted her as I could have very easily stepped on her she was so well camouflaged. 

Needless to say I abandoned the plan to release the apple tree or work anywhere in that area for that matter. I quickly went back to get my camera and was able to get a few really great photos.

My neighbor has a larger open brushy field where perhaps the aerial display and mating takes place, then perhaps the Woodcock found my nearby edge a good safe nesting spot....

In the Purpose and Authority statements in Belmont’s Zoning Ordinance (March, 2008), the town adopted language to guide the creation of ordinances and regulations to protect wildlife.

New Durham incorporated a Conservation Overlay District into its Zoning ordinance.  It identifies lands having exceptional significance for protection of natural resources and water quality based on the recommended Conservation Focus Areas identified in the Land Conservation Plan for New Hampshire’s Coastal Watershed (2006). The stated purpose of New Durham’s 2008 Conservation Focus Area District is:

  • Maintain diverse wildlife habitat, abundant wetlands, high water quality, productive forests, and outstanding recreational opportunities;
  • Conserve the best remaining lands of exceptional significance containing the critical ecological, biological, and water resources of the Town’s Watershed; and
  • Guide the location, density, and design of development within the Conservation Focus Areas to minimize harmful impacts while...

NH Audubon conducted an evaluation of the current level of protection for wildlife habitat and natural resources provided by the Town of Deerfield’s land use regulations, and identified additional opportunities for regulatory protection. The review included :

  • Master Plan (2009);
  • Zoning Ordinance (2008);
  • Site Plan Review Regulations (1990);
  • Subdivision Regulatio
  • ns (1990);
  • Hazard Mitigation Plan (2007);
  • Open Space Plan (2007 draft);
  • Source Water Protection Plan (2008); and
  • CTAP Community Planning Road Map (2009).

Take a look at the Review of Land Use Planning Documents for Deerfield, New Hampshire With Respect to Wildlife Habitat and Natural Resource...

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