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N.H. to share in U.S. grants to protect forests, water

New Hampshire will receive nearly $1 million in federal grant money to help protect private drinking water sources, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced yesterday.

The $960,000 grant from the USDA is part of $30 million intended to improve and protect forests and waterways affected by forest use. The grants will fund 13 projects in 12 states.

The project is intended to help reduce wildfire threats, protect water quality and improve wildlife habitat for at-risk species. It’s the first year of a multiyear partnership between the U.S. Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The USDA noted that New Hampshire has the fastest growing population in New England and is second in the percentage of people with private wells, some of which have water quality issues related to land use, forestry, agriculture and pollution.

The grant will help give landowners in 24 communities access to conservation efforts and reduce sedimentation in streams and rivers on public lands.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service will focus on rivers in Grafton and Carroll counties: Wildcat Brook, East Branch, Bartlett tributaries, Rocky Branch, Ellis River watersheds, West Branch Brook, Mad River, Hubbard Brook to Mill Brook, Eastman Brook and Glover Brook watersheds.

The forest service will be doing work in the watersheds of the Saco, Pemigewasset and Connecticut rivers.

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