Merrimack Conservation Partnership Announces Grant Awards

The Merrimack Conservation Partnership (MCP) announced the recipients of its first round of Land Conservation Grants for the fall of 2015, which help underwrite conservation projects that protect ecologically important Merrimack Valley Watershed region of New Hampshire and Massachusetts.  In the fall 2015 round, the MCP Partnership awarded grants totaling $112,500 to nine projects that will conserve a total of approximately 1,073 acres of land.  The total value of the land to be protected in the latest grant round is conservatively estimated at $3.5 million.

In 2010, the Merrimack was identified by the US Forest Service as the most threatened watershed in the nation in terms of private forest land lost over the next 20 years. The two-state region of the Merrimack Watershed spans a total of 2.1 million acres and 3,275 square miles of which 54% is in NH and 46% in Massachusetts. The Merrimack River starts in Franklin, NH and flows through eight of NH’s largest cities. The river continues into Massachusetts to its mouth in Newburyport.

Launched in 2012, the Merrimack Conservation Partnership is a collaborative effort of more than twenty private organizations and public agencies working on land conservation in the Merrimack Valley Watershed. The partners share a vision of conserving (on a strictly willing-seller/donor basis) the region’s most ecologically significant forests, and key connections between them for wildlife passage and human recreation.

For the first time, the Merrimack Conservation Partnership is launching its Land Conservation Grants program, which underwrites transaction costs – appraisals, surveys, title research, staff time, etc. — on conservation transactions that protect land identified in the Merrimack Valley Regional Conservation Plan. Below is a list of the grant recipients: Continue reading

Up the Merrimack River with Thoreau

thoreauOn this day, Aug. 31, 175 years ago, Henry David Thoreau and his elder brother John set out on an expedition from Concord, Massachusetts, in a homemade wooden boat. Over the course of two weeks they traveled first downstream on the Concord River, then upstream along the Merrimack River past Nashua, Manchester, and Concord, NH. That trip would become the backbone of Thoreau’s first book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, published ten years later in 1849.

Today, 175 years after Thoreau’s river expedition, the Merrimack still flows. But it is threatened. In 2010 the US Forest Service identified the Merrimack watershed as the most threatened in the nation, due to projections of population growth and our reliance on land intensive suburban development patterns. In response, 33 organizations in New Hampshire and Massachusetts recently completed a comprehensive land conservation plan for the Merrimack River watershed. The good news is that there is still forestland that, once conserved, can help maintain the health and vitality of the river.

– Excerpted from the Forest Journal, published August 31, 2014. Read More…