New Federal Funding for Quabbin to Cardigan Partnership
Congressman Paul Hodes secures first-time appropriation for regional conservation effort
The FY 2009 omnibus appropriations bill recently passed by Congress included first-time funding for the Quabbin to Cardigan Partnership (Q2C), a collaborative land conservation initiative in the Monadnock Highlands of western New Hampshire and north-central Massachusetts. The $282,000 appropriation was requested by U.S. Congressman Paul Hodes (NH-02) and will support the permanent protection of priority lands in the New Hampshire portion of the Q2C region
“Securing a new source of federal funding to support land protection in the region has been a long-time goal of the Quabbin to Cardigan Partnership,” said Jane Difley, president/forester of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. “We are tremendously grateful to Congressman Hodes for his commitment to and creativity in securing the additional resources required to preserve this important region.”
“I am pleased to have helped secure funding for this collaborative effort to conserve one of New Hampshire’s defining landscapes,” said Congressman Paul Hodes. “By conserving key lands in this two million acre region, we will help protect New Hampshire’s drinking water, wildlife, and natural environment for generations to come.”
The two-state Quabbin to Cardigan region is one of the largest remaining areas of intact, ecologically-important forest left in New England. Bounded to the east and west by the Merrimack and Connecticut River valleys, the region spans one hundred miles from the Quabbin Reservoir in Massachusetts northward to Mount Cardigan and the White Mountain National Forest. Well-known conservation areas in the region include Pisgah State Park, Mount Monadnock, the Wapack Ridge, Andorra Forest, Pillsbury and Sunapee State Parks, Mount Kearsarge, Gile State Forest, Ragged Mountain, and Smarts Mountain.
Coming from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the new funding will be allocated to land protection projects through a competitive grants process administered by NRCS and the Quabbin to Cardigan Partnership, a group of 27 private organizations and public agencies working on land conservation in the area.
The Q2C Partnership worked for more than three years to develop a regional conservation plan. The plan highlights approximately 600,000 acres of core conservation focus areas that represent the most ecologically significant forests. Representing about 30 percent of the two-million acre region, these conservation focus areas are currently 39 percent protected. The new federal dollars will be used to conserve additional top priority lands.
“The Natural Resources Conservation Service's mission is to ‘Help People Help the Land.’ The Quabbin to Cardigan Partnership will help us meet that goal by increasing conservation easements in New Hampshire through this unique public-private partnership,” said New Hampshire’s State Conservationist George Cleek. “The result will be the creation of conservation easements on land not covered by other federal programs, thereby protecting more of New Hampshire's natural resources.”
“The Q2C Partnership wants to recognize the Natural Resources Conservation Service for being forward-thinking and flexible about how they can use partnerships to deliver their conservation funding and expertise in new ways,” said Chris Wells of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, who coordinates the Quabbin to Cardigan Partnership. “We are looking forward to working with NRCS to get this new funding program up and running.”
Q2C partner organizations include the Appalachian Mountain Club, Audubon Society of New Hampshire, Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust (NH), East Quabbin Land Trust (MA), Franklin Regional Council of Governments (MA), Harris Center for Conservation Education (NH), Harvard Forest (MA), Highstead, Land Trust Alliance, Massachusetts Audubon Society, Massachusetts Dept. of Fish & Game, Massachusetts Dept. of Conservation & Recreation, Monadnock Conservancy (NH), Montachusett Regional Planning Commission (MA), Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust (MA), The Nature Conservancy, New England Forestry Foundation, New Hampshire DRED - Division of Forests & Lands, New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, North County Land Trust (MA), North Quabbin Regional Landscape Partnership (MA), Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, Southwest Region Planning Commission (NH), Trust for Public Land, The Trustees of Reservations (MA), Upper Valley Land Trust (NH), U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. To learn more about the Quabbin to Cardigan Partnership, visit www.q2cpartnership.org.