First protected property links high-priority habitat with preserved land.
HOLLIS, NH — April 22, 2010 — The Open Space Institute has kicked off the second round of grants for its multi-million dollar Saving New England’s Wildlife initiative with a $75,000 award that will conserve nearly 80 acres of high-priority wildlife habitat that is contiguous to 1,850 acres of already-protected land.
OSI’s grant, made to the Beaver Brook Association (BBA) in Hollis, New Hampshire helped the BBA acquire the land, known locally as the Whaleback property. Along with adjacent lands, BBA will manage the property as protected wildlife habitat with public access for recreation such as hiking, nature observation and snowshoeing.
“This long sought-after 80 acres fills a critical gap in Beaver Brook’s efforts to protect the ecologically diverse and relatively undisturbed watershed of Rocky Pond Brook,” said Pete Smith, BBA’s natural resource manager. “OSI’s response and the response of the greater conservation community to our funding appeal has been gratifying and helps us meet our mission of encouraging the conservation of our natural resources through education and stewardship.”
The Whaleback parcel was a prime candidate for a grant from the Saving New England’s Wildlife program, as its wetlands and vernal pools are important habitat for Blanding’s and Spotted Turtles and its proximity to nearby Nashua, NH makes it a significant threat to be developed. The property and adjoining habitat areas also provide breeding and migratory areas for Whippoorwills and Nighthawks, and build upon nearly 4,000 acres of contiguous wildlife habitat extending north from Pepperell, Massachusetts to Hollis.
“The Open Space Institute was attracted to this project because the local community was invested in it,” said Peter Howell, OSI’s executive vice president. “Local people stepped up, with their effort and with their dollars, and showed that they care about the preservation of this natural resource.”
In addition to OSI’s grant, the town of Hollis contributed $200,000 toward the acquisition, and more than 230 individual donors helped make the purchase happen.
The grant is the first of 13 that OSI will award over the next 18 months during the second round of its Saving New England’s Wildlife program, which began in September 2009.
Capitalized with a $6 million grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, OSI launched Savings New England’s Wildlife as a two-year initiative to fund the protection of areas identified as high-priority wildlife habitat by State Wildlife Action Plans in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Utilizing a combination of outright acquisition and conservation easements, OSI is collaborating with land trusts in the three states to protect the most endangered wildlife habitat in the region.
To date, the program has distributed $1,053,600 in grants to eight different organizations, helping to protect 5,578 acres across the three states.
The state wildlife action plans were first conceived in 2000, when Congress mandated that each state develop a comprehensive strategy for conserving its wildlife habitat. The states submitted their plans to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the fall of 2005, and all of the plans were approved by February of 2007.
In order to establish a common conservation agenda that could achieve broad acceptance, the state wildlife agencies developed these plans in collaboration with scientists, sportsmen, conservation organizations and other interested members of the public. The plans consider a broad range of wildlife, looking at game and non-game species, and aim to help keep currently common species from becoming endangered.
For more information on Saving New England’s Wildlife, click here.