Choose Your Future, A Series to Save Newfound Lake
Part 5: The Importance of Land Conservation
by Boyd Smith, Newfound Lake Region Association Executive Director
This is your land and water – to protect what you love you have to take an active part. This fifth installment of the Newfound Lake Region Association’s (NLRA’s) Choose Your Future series discusses one of the critical tools to maintain environmental quality and economic health: land conservation.
Most (83%) of the Newfound watershed contains some of new Hampshire’s finest natural habitat. From robust trout populations, to resident raptors and apex predators, our extensive forests are home to varied and healthy wildlife. By helping rain and snowmelt soak in to the ground and providing shade for streams, healthy forests ensure a clean and controlled supply of surface and ground water and excellent wildlife habitat. The watershed’s productive forest soils provide economic benefit from tree harvesting, a generations-long tradition that helps maintain plant and animal diversity. Land conservation permanently protects land and water, maintaining them in their natural state for generations to come.
Conserved land in the watershed ranges from none in Bridgewater to 29% in Hebron, with a total of 21% watershed-wide. While large swaths are protected, even larger areas are not, leaving them open to radical changes in use that could degrade habitat, clean water, and visual appeal. In many areas that are highly vulnerable to development, there are multiple natural resources (wildlife habitat, water supply, productive soil).
With member support, NLRA has completed Conservation Focus Area (CFA) analysis and mapping, performed by Dan Sundquist of Greenfire GIS. Using a consensus-based approach to valuing 18 of Newfound’s most important natural resources, Dan’s CFA work provides comprehensive and innovative information to help prioritize land conservation. The NLRA is providing printed copies of the CFA report to each watershed Town. You can download a copy here, and use this amazing information to support land conservation in your Town.