Good for Fish - Good for People
Eastern brook trout, our native fish, and are an iconic symbol of New England. Our region still has a population of wild brook trout. In surprisingly small streams these brilliant fish live and spawn just as they have for 10,000 since the last glaciers departed.
What’s good for brook trout is also good for people and for all sorts of wildlife. We all need clean water, and that means healthy streams. ACT is teaming up with three partner organizations in a creative new approach to conserving and restoring brook trout habitat. With biologists from NH Fish & Game, volunteers from the Ammonoosuc chapter of Trout Unlimited, and interns and staff from Plymouth State University, we are seeking landowners who want to explore with us how their land may become forever fish friendly.
Our focus area includes the Gale River and its tributaries in Easton and Franconia, the Salmon Hole Brook in Sugar Hill and Lisbon, Mill Brook in Landaff, and the Ammonoosuc River. With participating property owners along these streams, we have assessed the streams and adjacent land, looking at factors such as the vegetation, structure of the stream, erosion, other wildlife, whether there need for any sort of restoration, and whether permanent land protection may be an option.
Restoration may include work such as planting shrubs or trees along the shore to provide stability against erosion, more shade for the stream, and better habitat for wildlife. It could include felling trees into the stream to provide cover and protection for fish, or replacing a culvert blocking fish from getting through to one that allows passage. Other strategies involve “doing nothing’ – but letting nature take its course by continuing to grow a healthy buffer of vegetation next to the stream.
Stream Protection Forever
Our first phase in the summer of 2014 was to find out if landowners are interested in learning more about the health of their streams. The answer was a resounding Yes! From that first year's work, two land owning families wished to create areas of protection for their streams. We are close to finishing these projects and will give full details when they are complete. As a result of our continued field work in 2015-16, another great property was being acquired for permanent conservation - the Lawrence property in Franconia.
Every property is different, and the interests and goals of every landowner are different, so stream conservation agreements are tailored individually. The goal is that conservation agreements are good for the streams and fish and good for the long-term value of the property and its owners.
We are confident that as time goes by, land that has been managed for the health of streams will be of particular value to individual owners and to entire communities. That’s because healthy streams mean clean, abundant water, and that will be an increasingly valuable resource.
This is long-term work and we believe it represents an important step in the conservation of our system of rivers and streams, the lifeblood of our Ammonoosuc region, in a way that benefits everyone.
To learn more, or have us visit with you and see your land, please call us at 823-7777 or e-mail Executive Director Rebecca Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Supporting the Project
Thanks to the Sugar Hill, Franconia, and Easton Conservation Commissions (Easton, with the support of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation) for helping kick off this work with their contributions. Thanks to the Upper Connecticut River Mitigation & Enhancement Fund for a small grant to initiate the work and now, a larger grant to implement our first conservation projects, due to be completed very soon.
This work would not be possible without dedicated volunteers from Trout Unlimited, Ammonoosuc Chapter; in-kind support from NH Fish & Game, ACT volunteers, and the Plymouth State University Center for Rural Partnerships.