PREP Publications

Abstract

The purpose of this project was to continue to provide educational efforts on wetlands functions and values, prime wetlands designation, aerial and on-the-ground inventory findings, wildlife habitat, and New Hampshire’s Prime Wetlands laws and rules for the communities of Hampton and Hampton Falls, which was the project focus area. The project incorporated the first phase (phase I) of this wetland inventory report, which focused on the Taylor River Watershed. That initial assessment included the Taylor River as it flows through both Hampton and Hampton Falls, a portion of Ash Brook and Old River as it flows through Hampton, and Grapevine Run as it flows through Hampton Falls. The map boundaries and functional assessment data from phase I have been integrated into this analysis to create a comprehensive report covering the entirety of the municipalities. This project assessed all of the wetland areas greater than 2 acres that occurred in each community, and included a comprehensive wetland resource assessment of the top 20 wetland complexes in both communities (Appendix A). A NH Certified Wetland Scientist was hired by the Town of Hampton Falls to incorporate the existing wetlands assessment, to complete an inventory of all wetlands in both communities (greater than 2 acres), and to identify individual wetland areas or complexes that were potentially suitable for prime wetlands designation. Once that assessment was completed, eight distinct areas were initially chosen as potential candidates for prime wetlands designation, and a functions and values assessment was conducted on each candidate. The Continued Wetlands Assessment, Inventory, and Prime Wetland Designation in Hampton and Hampton Falls Project offered substantial education and outreach to both conservation commissions, residents, and municipal officials, and was successful in helping individuals in each community to understand the importance of the functions and values, the significant natural and coastal resources that remain in each community, and the importance of promoting one or more prime wetland candidate(s) slated for March of 2007. Representatives from each of the conservation commissions have already set a meeting date to evaluate which candidates they hope to move forward with for warrant articles. In fact, the Hampton Conservation Commission has already begun a power point presentation to give to town officials in the fall of 2006 regarding passage of the article designating prime wetlands (Appendix D). Moreover, the two towns remain committed to working together on this process as many of the wetland candidates cross political boundaries. Due to the timing in finalizing this project, no warrant articles were prepared for town meeting for either community, and consequently there were no prime wetlands application submissions to the NH Department of Environmental Services (DES) completed during the length of this project. However, conservation commission members became thoroughly educated on prime wetlands designation, and both communities have agreed that the most appropriate step to have taken was to evaluate each community in its entirety. Moreover, both commissions understand that the educational initiatives are imperative, and that they must chose the prime wetland candidates that will be presented in March of 2007 very carefully. They have jointly agreed to voluntarily continue educating residents in the fall of 2006 regarding the proposed candidates for prime wetland designation. Another amazing outcome of this project is that in part due to this complete project (both phases) and as a follow up to a formerly funded project by the New Hampshire Estuaries Project (NHEP) on shoreland protection, there are landowners in both communities that are interested in participating in permanent protection efforts. The educational efforts on wetland functions and values, the importance of protecting prime habitat, and on NH RSA 482 and Chapter Wt 700 of the NH DES Administrative Rules regarding the law and rules has brought much interest on this topic in both communities. All of the outcomes from the Continued Wetlands Assessment, Inventory, and Prime Wetland Designation in Hampton and Hampton Falls Project have given both communities a renewed sense of the importance of stewardship, understanding, documenting, and protecting critical natural resources.

Publication Date

3-31-2006

Publisher

New Hampshire Estuaries Project

Document Type

Report

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