DES Announces Merrimack River Watershed Grants
Forest Society Receives $300,000 to Help Conserve 294 Acres in Canterbury
The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) Wetlands Bureau has announced the Merrimack River Watershed Site Selection Committee’s recommendations for four projects to receive a total of $631,000 in grants through the DES Aquatic Resource Mitigation (ARM) Fund. The projects will restore wetlands, improve streams, and preserve land on 1,080 acres with high conservation value. The grants are pending Governor and Executive Council approval.
294 Acres in Canterbury
The Forest Society will receive $300,000 toward the purchase and conservation of a 294-acre parcel in Canterbury that includes 26 acres of wetlands and two miles of undeveloped Merrimack River shoreline. This property was previously proposed for the Concord Regional Solid Waste/Resource Recovery Center. The property is well known for its long scenic wooded shoreline along the Merrimack River and the hiking, fishing, and boating opportunities it provides.
Protecting this land is of critical conservation importance as it includes 26 acres of wetlands and two miles of undeveloped shoreline on the Merrimack River. The land overlies an aquifer, with substrate identified as glacial lake bottom deposits. Located near several other preserved parcels along the rivers, the land contains exemplary plant communities and habitat for several state-listed plant and animal species. The entire property is within Tier One, Highest Ranked Habitat in NH as identified in the NH Wildlife Action Plan. The Forest Society still needs to raise an additional $510,000 to complete the project.
Other Projects Awarded Funding
The Stewart Property in Francestown is a joint project coordinated by the Russell Foundation, Piscataquog Land Trust, and Saint Anselm College. This project will receive $45,500 in grants to put toward the purchase of 55 acres of land for protection. The project will restore approximately two acres of land back to a natural riparian buffer and will protect more than 5,000 feet of shoreline along the Piscataquog River.
Spearheaded by the Town of Hooksett and Bear-Paw Regional Greenways, the Clay Pond Headwaters Protection Plan will receive $265,315 in grants to aid in the conservation of approximately 733 acres of high value wildlife habitat in the Clay Pond Headwaters area in Hooksett, including more than 130 acres of wetlands. The project will restore or provide habitat improvements for three streams that were negatively impacted crossings during historic settlement of the area. The DES Wetlands Mitigation and Drinking Water Source Protection programs have also contributed to this project.
The Nesenkeag Brook Headwaters Project coordinated by the Town of Londonderry will receive up to $20,000 for the restoration of the Nesenkeag Headwaters site and to eliminate invasive species from the site. The restoration will address water quality issues and the restoration of hydrologic conditions at the site.
The DES Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund was established in 2006 to compensate for the loss of functions and values in the watershed. The ARM Fund Site Selection Committee reviews, evaluates, and selects projects for wetland restoration, upland preservation, wetland creation, and other aquatic resource improvement. For more information on the ARM program and the selected projects above, contact Lori Sommer at (603) 271-4059. Additional information about the Merrimack River Watershed
Site Selection Committee’s recommendations is available at http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wetlands/wmp