Easement Conserves Floodplain Habitat in Concord

December 8, 2012

The Forest Society has accepted a conservation easement on 8.8 acres abutting the Morrill farm and the Brochu nursery in north Concord from Northeast Delta Dental, which granted the easement as part of a zoning-change agreement with the city.

Nearly the entire property is made up of prime agricultural soils and has been farmed by Rob Morrill, whose own farm is also under a conservation easement. The property is bisected by Wattanummon’s Brook, which empties into the Merrimack River shortly after leaving the property. Since it is surrounded by agricultural land, the easement provides for a natural buffer that will take up nutrients from the surrounding fields as well as potential sedimentation before these materials can enter the Merrimack River. While this property is a fraction of a mile removed from the Merrimack, it should be considered another part of the Forest Society’s Merrimack River Initiative, which is aimed at protecting what the US Forest Service considers to be the nation’s most threatened watershed, in terms of residential development.

The property is also rated by the N.H. Fish and Game Dept. as “best in state” for the condition of its floodplain habitat. The combination of open fields, dense vegetation along Wattanummon’s Brook, the presence of silver maples along the sometimes-high, sometimes-low brook, and nearby higher vegetation for perching makes the property desirable for both migrating and resident birds.

To paraphrase an old saying, “Don’t judge a project by its acres.” The Delta Dental easement will make an outsize contribution to the health of Concord and its river in relation to the project’s diminutive size.