The New Hampshire Estuaries project awarded a grant of $24,700 to the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests in May of 2002 for municipal conservation outreach and technical assistance in the area of municipal funds for permanent land conservation. SPNHF, working in close partnership with the Center for Land Conservation Assistance, conducted research into available mechanisms and funding sources for municipal conservation efforts. A publication summarizing the available options and providing information and case studies from a variety of New Hampshire towns was produced. Saving Special Places – Community Funding for Land Conservation, was distributed in December of 2002, just in time to assist towns seeking new municipal funding sources at the 2003 town meeting season. SPNHF/CLCA also provided a series of educational workshops on the topic of municipal fund raising for permanent land conservation. Eight workshops were held in the New Hampshire estuaries area, and seven were presented to at statewide events. Over 400 people attended the workshops. SPNHF/CLCA also provided technical assistance to twenty-four of the communities in the estuaries area over the period of the grant. Elements of the project were publicized in a wide range of print media in both statewide and estuary-area outlets.The education and outreach effort was quite successful. The number of towns applying land use change land monies to their conservation funds increased, as did the percent of the fund applied. The towns in the estuaries area that had the advantage of the new publication just as they were going into town meeting season with bond proposals in 2003 passed their bonds at a rate of 76% for a total of $18,660,000 of new money available for conservation projects in those towns. Past the term of the grant, additional towns will be voting on increasing the amount of money from the Land Use Change Tax going to their conservation funds in 2004. Eight more towns in the estuaries area are considering open space bond proposals for the 2004 town meeting season, for a possible total of $19,600,000 in new funds for permanent land conservation. The coming challenge for the New Hampshire land conservation community will be to encourage the towns with these new sources of money to invest it wisely. Properties need to be selected according to guidelines that reflect a mix of natural resource values and local interests. Projects need to be conducted in a professional manner to insure long-term viability and excellent stewardship.
New Hampshire Estuaries Project
Taylor, Dorothy Tripp, "Municipal Conservation Outreach and Technical Assistance, Taylor, J" (2004). PREP Publications. 223.