A natural resources inventory (NRI) was completed in September 2003. Copies of the report are available for viewing at the Grange Hall and in the Town Library. Geographic information systems (GIS) analysis allowed our consultant (the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests) with our assistance to map natural resources and develop recommendations for conservation options.
Project goals were to
- Map and describe significant natural resources
- Identify areas of high ecological value
- Examine the land-use/natural resource relationship
- Develop strategic options for natural resource protection
These goals were achieved through the creation of seven maps, including
- Base Map
- Historic and Cultural Features
- Unfragmented Lands
- Wildlife Habitat
- Water Resources
- Scenic Resources
- Co-Occurrence Model
The NRI’s recommendations include
- Conservation Planning: Carry out through a combination of prioritized focus areas and through the use of parcel-based co-occurrence ranks.
- Suncook Valley: highest priority area, resource area of regional significance, recommend working with regional land trusts, Town of Epsom, Central New Hampshire Regional Planning Commission
- Perry Brook: wildlife oriented conservation potential in and around Perry Marsh, recommend working with New Hampshire Fish & Game; agricultural conservation in and around Pleasant Street; recommend working with Natural Resources Conservation Service and American Farmland Trust
- Lynxfield Pond: recommend wildlife habitat oriented conservation, similar to Perry Marsh.
- Plausawa Highlands: recommend pursuing protected status for town-owned open space lands; create linkages through upland habitat protection.
- Secure conservation status for unprotected town-owned lots.
- Further research/prioritization on historic preservation.
- Protect scenic resources through conservation of high value scenic areas as well as viewpoint areas. Further development of scenic road designations.
- Plan for protection of water resources, specifically the wellhead protection areas and potentially favorable gravel well areas.
- Pursue wildlife habitat and water resources related conservation with the Town of Epsom. For landscape scale planning (inter-municipal projects), collaboration with the Central New Hampshire Regional Planning Commission will be critical.
- Consider more detailed field work in "priority areas” to gain information on high-value resource areas.
- Further Study:
- Prime wetlands study
- Updated soils data (for zoning update and important soils mapping)
- Forest resources study
Specific conservation tactics can be found in the publications of the Center For Land Conservation Assistance, Trust for Public Land, and Land and Community Heritage Investment Programs.