Conservation Planning: Foundation for Decision Making

The Partnership’s conservation work begins with conservation planning which provides the foundation for selecting land conservation priorities and advising management decisions. This science-based process provides critical information about the ecosystem, wildlife habitats, and water quality resources. Collaboration among local, regional, state and federal Partners builds a consensus process for decision-making on land conservation projects and stewardship programs.

The Partnership completed its first regional landscaping scale conservation plan in 1997, the Habitat Protection Plan of the Great Bay NH Focus Area, Atlantic Coast Joint Venture of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. The plan provided information about the important habitat resources and priority conservation lands within twenty-four town, 272,000 acre Great Bay Focus Area, and served as a blueprint for conservation decision-making.

To further guide conservation decision-making, the Partnership has completed habitat studies for Conservation Areas including Crommet and Lubberland Creeks (1997, 2000, 2005), Piscassic River and Lower Lamprey River Watersheds (2002), and Follet’s Brook and the Cochecho River Watersheds (2004). The studies assisted in identifying the highest value conservation lands, informing the appropriate funding sources for protection and management efforts; providing habitat information for management considerations; and providing natural resource information to municipalities for conservation planning purposes. In addition, the Partnership’s conservation priorities are informed by other studies such as the New Hampshire Wildlife Action Plan (2015), and Land Conservation Plan for New Hampshire’s Coastal Watersheds (2006).

Partner organizations also collaborate on research projects that further our understanding of the factors affecting the health of land and water resources. Research projects have included studying climate change impacts, invasive species early detection and control, protecting in-stream habitat conditions for aquatic species, identifying migratory fish passage opportunities and addressing control of excessive nutrients.

Conservation Planning Report and Tools

aerial view of Great Bay area