The three Strafford committees formed through the work with the Natural Resources Outreach Coalition in 2004 and supported by the grant award from the New Hampshire Estuaries Project have succeeded in furthering land protection, water quality protection, and managing growth here in Strafford. The original NROC meetings brought many new volunteer citizens into the process, but even their enthusiasm and willingness to work could not have earned these results without the financial support of the NHEP grant award. Hours of letter writing and personal contact with landowners by the volunteers of the Land Protection Group have raised awareness of the need for land protection and the ways it can be accomplished. The previous experience of the Strafford Conservation Commission in working with a landowner who was donating an easement showed us that the legal and logistical work involved is daunting. The NHEP grant allowed the land Protection Group to contract the professional services of Dan Kern of Bear-Paw Regional Greenways. His work streamlined the process for the landowners, and the Land Protection Group was able to celebrate the closing of two donated easements in 2006. Several other landowners have begun the process to protect their lands, and the Land Protection Group will continue its volunteer work. The Water Quality Group was pleased to have more than a dozen volunteers willing to focus on the need for tributary monitoring as a way to gauge and protect Bow Lake’s water quality. Testing supplies from the grant funds were essential. The sample gathering carried out at two-week intervals took place at a critical time for Bow Lake studies. Both Strafford and Northwood were in a period of legal moratorium on new development, and tributary monitoring at this time provides unique baseline data. It was not only useful in the establishment of Strafford’s Wetlands Overlay District ordinance, but will be used in future Bow Lake studies. After the Managed Growth Committee spent its time discovering gaps between the goals of the 2002 Strafford Master Plan and the present Strafford ordinances, Strafford Regional Planning Commission members helped with research for ordinances that had worked in other towns. The grant funds allowed the Committee to keep the public involved in the process and aware of the slate of proposed new ordinances that were coming up on the 2006 ballot. The blanket mailing to every Strafford address and the public meeting that followed are largely responsible for the successful passage of three new growth control ordinances. The Committee continued its work and has new measures to present to the town in 2007. The impetus and organization from NROC, and the financial support from NHEP have been a great gift to the Town of Strafford. Our thanks will be evident in the continued work and progress we make in protecting our land and water and the very nature of our town.
Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership
New Hampshire Estuaries Project
Page, Carolyn; Pratt, Al; Schloss, Jeff; and Anderson, Harmony, "Town of Strafford NROC Projects" (2006). PREP Reports & Publications. 175.