The New Hampshire State Senate Finance Committee discussed the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) on Friday, April 15. Their consensus decision after a very brief discussion was to stick with the House Budget for LCHIP. This provides LCHIP with $120,000 each year from the “dedicated” fund (recording fees) and allocates all the rest of the income from the recording fees to the General Fund. The $120,000 a year goes toward administrative costs; to augment the $200,000 that LCHIP gets from the Conservation License plate income.
The good news is that if this allocation passes the full Senate, LCHIP will be able to complete review of the 40 open projects and continue to assure proper stewardship of the resources that have already been protected with state investment through LCHIP. The bad news is that there will be no funds for grants for FY ’12 or ’13.
Save the Date!
Upper Valley Land Trust
Celebration & Annual Meeting
Friday, June 3, 2011
Dartmouth Organic Farm, Route 10, Hanover, NH
We’ll offer a variety of activities this year preceding the Annual Meeting program.
You are welcome at any or all.
Mid-Afternoon Outdoor Activities: Hike, Farm Tour & River Road Bike Ride
Contact UVLT’s Sara Cavin to sign up for the pre-meeting bike ride, contact Nora to sign up for the Farm Tour led by farm manager, Scott Stokoe and let Amber know if you’re interested in the pre-meeting Walk to Dartmouth’s Brown Ash Swamp led by Donna Roberts Moody and John Moody.
Weather permitting, Jay Mead will bring mural-sized images from his book "A Little Farm Story" to UVLT's 2011 Annual Meeting.
5:30pm Social Time, Drinks – featuring Harpoon Beer, Displays, Silent Auction Benefit
Meet UVLT staff and Trustees, visit with old friends and new, pick up information about land conservation and upcoming events, bid on auction items.
6:00pm Casual Dinner including pizza made with local ingredients by NOFA VT, ham & cheese from the Taylor Brothers Farm & Garfield’s Smokehouse, bread from King Arthur Flour and more, all catered by Maple Street Catering
($20 per adult, $10 for children under 12, please call us or purchase online by May 25th)
7:00pm Annual Meeting Celebration
Learn of the year’s activities and plans for the future. Conservation Awards, Elections.
Closing with a Live Auction to benefit land conservation in the Upper Valley.
The Live Auction will feature a dinner with the Dartmouth Idols & Walt Cunningham, a dinner with Christopher Wren & his wife, paintings by Brian Walsh and Linda Roesch, a silkscreen by Ikko Tanaka, a UVLT Trustees’ Special Select Wine Cellar, and a trek into the woods with Ben Kilham!
We hope you can attend the event on June 3 in person, but if not we will accept reserve bids by phone at (603) 643-6626.
Online bidding for UVLT’s 2011 Annual Meeting Auction will be open from noon on Friday, May 20 through noon on Thursday, June 2!
This year’s auction includes more than 80 items donated by local people and businesses. Search the list of items online and peruse the wide variety of products and activities included there; such as guided hikes, special dinners, local food products, artwork by area artists, gift certificates to regional businesses and more!
The online auction is a new feature this year. We hope it will allow those who can’t make it to the meeting to participate in supporting local land conservation. And if you do plan to attend, this feature will allow you to preview both silent and live auction items in advance. If something catches your eye, don’t hesitate to pre-bid. Some of these things may go fast!
Feedback? Questions? Contact Nora at firstname.lastname@example.org or (603) 643-6626 ext.102.
On Monday, April 25, we had a great hike around Snow Mountain with teacher, writer, and ecologist Tom Wessels (Tom is the author of the well known Reading the Forested Landscape and his recent work entitled Forest Forensics is a wonderful field guide to interpreting past land uses).
Amber Boland, UVLT’s Conservation Mapping and Field Specialist, organized the outing which got some of our volunteer land stewards out with some of UVLT’s staff to take in the spring weather (finally!) and learn a bit about the natural areas on this approximately 400 acre property. UVLT owns a ¾ interest in the land, and will likely become full owner, so we were eager to have Tom give us some insight into what the property holds for us and for the region!
More information gathering will certainly follow as we consider the future management options for this land. It is neat knowing what special sites can be found with a little exploring (see Notes from the Field below).
If you would like to take a trip to Snow Mountain and report back about what you see to help us learn even more about the property, please let us know by getting in touch with Stewardship staff Pete Helm or Jason Berard. If anything, it is a wonderful walk in the woods.
UVLT volunteers looking south from Snow Mountain ridge toward Mt. Ascutney.
Notes from the Field
From the lower elevations along Old Route 10, we hiked up the access road to the property’s only development – a cell tower. On our way up, the community types changed from younger early successional and fairly homogeneous forest to slightly more rich calcified soils introducing ash and other tree species. Above the steepest slopes, some clues from past agricultural uses, such as old stone wall remnants, also began to show. The tour continued off the main access road along an old logging road, past a very actively maintained beaver wetland and then past another large wetland that appeared to no longer be the beaver’s priority. The conifers rimming the older wetland showed the forest succession which often follows the beavers – since they remove most hardwood species around a wetland; it allows conifers to get an edge as the beaver move on, creating a pond with a distinct conifer line with stands of predominantly hardwoods further from the water.
We heard several birds along the route including chestnut sided warblers and chickadees, and saw some thrush nests, grouse droppings, turkey tracks, as well as significant sign of moose, bear, porcupine, and, of course, beaver.
Once we left the logging roads, we headed for the high point on the property, along the north-south stretching ridge, which offers great views this time of year (before leaf-out). The talus slopes on both sides gave everyone a good scramble. Tom noted the spruce dominated thin soils on the ridge itself, some evidence of tree recovery following the ’38 hurricane, and older stands with lots of mixed hardwood species once we began descending the eastern slope. Throughout the property we noted the gnarled tops of many of these older trees, suggesting the property experiences frequent ice storm damage (we had also noted this on our way up the road!). We all remarked on the abundance of trout lilies emerging in great numbers in lots of different areas throughout the property. Descending steeply from the ridge, through what became aptly termed “porcupine gorge” due to the number of denning sites we encountered, many vowed to try to come back to this part of the property to explore more!
Stewardship Coordinator, Jason Berard points out multiple beaver ponds.
We made our way to a really beautiful wetland complex with several terraced beaver ponds at varying levels, a great lookout rock and some huge and old trees standing watch. A wet meadow further downstream suggested the extent of the beavers’ work in years past, with their upstream movement likely following the need to replenish their food supply. Wrapping back around to the northwest and climbing a bit, we connected with another old logging road which led us past the cell tower for a return walk down the access road.
Sara Cavin, UVLT Conservation Project Manager
According to the April 12 Concord Monitor,
“Northern Pass is expected to ask the U.S. Department of Energy to take five alternative routes out of consideration for a project that would bring hydroelectricity through the state via 180 miles of power lines.”
This would include the alternative route that would have crossed through the Upper Valley. View the full article on the Concord Monitor’s website.
The scoping period for the Northern Pass Transmission Line Project Environmental Impact Statement has been reopened. The U.S. Department of Energy will now be accepting comments until June 14. Send your comments to Brian Mills, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE-20), U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Ave., SW., Washington DC 20585; via email to Brian.Mills@hq.doe.gov or via fax to (202) 586-8008.
Find more information about the project at http://northernpasseis.us/.
Afternoon hike up Signal Hill in Lebanon was a relatively quiet hike up to the summit, with many trees and limbs down and the vernal pools quiet. The return hike was a bit upbeat, with a pair of Hermit Thrushes exploring the vernal pool area, and a singing Winter Wren @ the ridge trail entrance into the woods. Along the north side of upper field we spotted FOY Yellow-rumped Warbler, and along side was a male Bluebird. At the hedgerow between the fields we spotted another male Bluebird and 2 – Northern Flickers. To finalize the trip we watched an American Kestrel above the lower field for quite some time, using an immature pine as a perch to work the field. I may have to make a quick lunchtime stop tomorrow to check things out.
A picture from Signal Hill that David Jorgensen took in Sept. '07
Signal Hill Conservation Area is a 217 acre parcel owned by the City of Lebanon, with conservation easement held by the Upper Valley Land Trust.
Storrs Hill Lebanon
The land trust accreditation program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. The Upper Valley Land Trust is pleased to announce it is applying for accreditation. A public comment period is now open.
The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, conducts an extensive review of each applicant’s policies and programs. The Commission invites public input and accepts signed, written comments on pending applications. Comments must relate to how the Upper Valley Land Trust complies with national quality standards. These standards address the ethical and technical operation of a land trust. For the full list of standards see www.landtrustaccreditation.org/getting-accredited/indicator-practices.
To learn more about the accreditation program and to submit a comment, visit www.landtrustaccreditation.org. Comments may also be faxed or mailed to Land Trust Accreditation Commission, Attn: Public Comments: (fax) 518-587-3183; (mail) 112 Spring Street, Suite 204, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. Comments on the Upper Valley Land Trust’s application will be most useful by July 2, 2011.