Took a damp walk today around Lebrun Meadow to check on bird boxes and activity of any grassland birds. A pair of agitated Tree Swallows are still actively attending one box with young, and I am sure are soon to depart. Also had 4 male Bobolinks that had laid claim to certain spots in the meadow. Hopefully, the females were preoccupied.
Made a quick visit down to the beaver impoundment next to the lake, and was fortunate to spot an American Bittern along the marshy edge. From a distance of +/- 60 ft. I was able to watch the activity for at least 20 minutes. Along with entertaining me with its very slow stalking gait, the Bittern caught a small horned pout, which it promptly adjusted to gulp down head first. After the quick meal, I was treated to a head-on display of a fully extended vertical posture, with bold stripes showing and a couple very slow head twists thrown in for good measure. What a time to not have my scope and camera!
Lebrun Meadow is a 22 acre parcel owned by the City of Lebanon, with conservation easement held by the Upper Valley Land Trust.
Invasive Aquatic Plants Identification & Monitoring Workshop
Friday, June 25, 2010, 9 AM to 4 PM
This workshop is intended to train volunteers to integrate with the New Hampshire Rivers Council’s River Runner program. In its third year, the program has monitored hundreds of sites on rivers in the state.
For more information please view this flyer.
Recent updates from the budget hearings in Concord do not paint a rosy picture for the state’s Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) and the prospects of some significant land conservation initiatives in New Hampshire that have been geared up for upcoming LCHIP grant rounds.
Yesterday (6/9/10), the Concord Monitor outlined the implications of the bill:
“The bill also cuts $1.5 million in land conservation funds from the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program. According to LCHIP Executive Director Deborah Turcott Young, the $1.5 million represents all the money left in LCHIP’s fund that is not already obligated to specific projects. That money was supposed to go to a new round of grants in July. If the grant round still goes forward, LCHIP will only have available any money it gets in June or later. LCHIP is funded by a fee for document recording at the county registers. LCHIP gets an average of $300,000 a month, but beginning in July, half of that money will go to the state’s general fund instead.”
Chris Wells of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests said that with the latest diversion, the Legislature will have taken a total of $4.5 million, or more than 60 percent, of all funds collected from the fee – which was supposed to be dedicated to LCHIP.
“‘This action . . . would render LCHIP essentially meaningless in terms of its ability to contribute to conservation in New Hampshire and likely require the program to lay off some or all of its small staff,’ Wells warned. ‘LCHIP would be kept alive in name only.’”
What will this mean for UVLT and land conservation in New Hampshire?
Unfortunately, the lack of any significant new funding for conservation through LCHIP may mean that some valuable working landscapes including prime farmland, forests and important wildlife habitats, may never be protected. When a land conservation opportunity comes along, UVLT may only have a short window of time in which to work with the landowners and funding partners to create a successful conservation solution. Without LCHIP funds to leverage local and federal dollars, the prospects of some of these projects may be significantly weakened, and could be lost altogether.
The importance of state investment in our working landscapes and in open space for recreation and healthy communities cannot be understated. We hope that LCHIP will not remain alive “in name only” and will instead be reinvigorated with more of its dedicated funding soon so that it can continue to be a valuable partner in preserving the places that help make New Hampshire special.
19 Upper Valley Land Trust members and friends took the round trip bus from Hanover to the meeting and celebration of land conservation at the Academy Building in Bradford, VT on May 25. By providing the bus we were able to offset approximately 850 miles of driving. We hope to continue to provide this type of alternative transportation to future events.
Congratulations to Al Samor for winning the $30 gift certificate to the Upper Valley Food Co-op and to Betty Ann Heistad for winning the $50 gift certificate to the Canoe Club!
Thetford Elementary School received the 2010 Patchen Miller Award
We’d also like to congratulate the Thetford Elementary School for receiving the 2010 Patchen Miller Award and George Grove for receiving the 2010 Ashley Ambassador Award.
Thanks especially to the Town of Bradford and its Conservation Commission for being terrific hosts and leading two lovely hikes on Wright’s Mountain prior to the meeting. Bradford Conservation Commission Chair, Nancy Jones led an especially long walk under the hot sun.
Nancy Jones on Wright's Mountain
Thanks also go to Farm Way and The Perfect Pear Cafe for hosting afternoon activities.
We also thanked outgoing UVLT trustees, Mary Gorman & Brian Walsh and welcomed new trustees, Chuck Wooster & Dennis Mitchell.