New Ecological Tool for State Land Managers

SB 269

Will Abbott | April 16, 2019
Volunteers hike tools and gear up Mount Monadnock for trail stewardship projects with the Forest Society and NH State Parks

Volunteers hike up Mount Monadnock to complete annual trail stewardship projects with the Forest Society and NH State Parks. Emily Lord/Forest Society Photo.

State Senator Ruth Ward (R-Stoddard) has introduced legislation SB 269 to create a new ecological tool to assist the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources (DNCR) in the management of state-owned lands. Called the Upland Ecological Integrity Assessment, the tool will provide new scientific information to public land managers responsible for the stewardship of more than 200,000 acres of state-owned land. 

Co-sponsored by Senator David Watters (D-Dover), SB 269 appropriates $100,000 for the $150,000 project, enabling staff at DNCR’s Natural Heritage Bureau (NHB) to build the tool over the next two years. NHB has matching funds of $50,000 in hand. The bill was approved by the Senate on March 7 and is now before the House. The Forest Society testified in support of the bill at the Resources, Recreation & Development Committee on April 2. 

The Upland EIA will provide scientific guidance in assessing impacts of particular management decisions (such as a prescribed fire treatment or building a new trail), as well as the impacts of key stressors (like forest fragmentation) on sensitive natural communities on state lands. The Upland EIA will complement a Wetlands EIA developed by the NHB in 2015.