Moose Mountains Regional Greenways Gets a Big Win for Land Protection

Another effective method for preventing pollution into headwater streams is to conserve and protect the land surrounding the waterways. In Wakefield, NH there’s a new 122-acre Wildlife Management Area. It was through the collaborative work of NH Fish & GameMoose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG), the Town of Wakefield Conservation Commission and the Society for the Protection of NH Forests that this land protection project was brought to fruition. NH Fish & Game acquired the property to protect its outstanding wildlife and water resources and to provide the public with recreational opportunities like hunting, fishing, hiking and more. The property brings protection to more than a mile of shoreline on the Branch River and Union Meadows.

A carpet of bluets on the trail into Union Meadows

A carpet of bluets on the trail into Union Meadows

“The Branch River is home to the bridle shiner, a state threatened species, and the lower stretch of the river along the property is great waterfowl habitat, as is all of Union Meadows,” said Rich Cook, a N.H. Fish and Game land agent. “This property has been identified in the state’s Wildlife Action Plan as the highest ranked habitat in the State by ecological condition.”

Funds for the purchase came from a variety of sources.  MMRG helped write grants to raise funds for purchase of the property and also contributed more than $18,000 from its own conservation fund to cover expenses for surveys, appraisals, and legal work.  Other funders were N.H. Fish and Game, which allocated $100,000 of federal Wildlife Restoration funds to the purchase; the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP), which awarded a $50,000 grant for the project; and the PREP Land Conservation Transaction Grant Program, which provided $4,000.

 Want to visit this little spot of paradise? The trail entrance is off Marsh Road in Wakefield, NH right next to the bridge over the Branch River. Limited parking on the street. Marsh Road is a dirt road off of Whippoorwill Rd which is off Rte 153 between the villages of Union and Sanbornville. 

 

 

PREP is part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program, a joint program between local, state and federal agencies established under the Clean Water Act with the goal of protecting and enhancing nationally significant estuarine resources. PREP is supported in part by an EPA matching grant and is housed within the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering at the University of New Hampshire.

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