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Large parcels in Concord, Canterbury, Weare among many to be conserved under wetlands mitigation program



Monitor staff
Saturday, December 15, 2018

More than 227 acres of land near Penacook Lake in Concord will be preserved via a $350,000 grant from the state, part of $4.29 million given to 26 projects that are designed to protect wetlands and waterways.

The parcel in Concord is at the western end of District 5 Road, including a portion of the road that was continued decades ago.

Assistant City Planner Beth Fenstermacher said the parcel was sold by four partners who had planned to develop it back in the 1980s. They approached the city, seeking to conserve it instead, she said.

The grant must be met by matching money from the city Conservation Commission’s trust fund, and approved by the City Council.

According to the state, the site includes “approximately 27 acres of forested scrub-shrub and riverine/upper perennial wetlands associated with two streams, potential vernal pools and ephemeral pools.” The site could potentially support up to 40 single family house lots or 100 residential condominium units.

It will add to large blocks of conservation land around and near the lake, which is the city’s water supply, including the adjacent 546-acre Rossview Farm, which is covered by a conservation easement.

This grant is the largest of the 26 announced Thursday.

Other awards in the Concord area includes:

■$150,000 for the Stillhouse Forest in Canterbury & Northfield.

The grant would protect 215 acres, including more than a mile of undeveloped frontage on the Merrimack River, across from the Penacook and Boscawen Water Precinct’s three main drinking water wells.

This property has 20 acres of wetlands, a mile-long perennial stream containing native brook trout and 14 confirmed vernal pools, which have silver maples that are hundreds of years old, according to reports.

■$185,000 for the Robert French area in Weare.

The project will protect 205 acres, including 22.58 acres of wetlands, and at least 11 vernal pools scattered across the remainder of the land. The property includes a 4,700-foot corridor along Bartlett Brook, which flows north toward the main branch of the Piscataquog River. The property would link 473 acres of previously unconnected conservation land.

The funds were awarded by the Aquatic Resource Mitigation Program. The program gets its funding mostly from payments made by developments that harm wetlands and can’t provide other forms of mitigation.

Sites are chosen by the ARM Fund Site Selection Committee, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the New Hampshire Wetlands Council.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313, dbrooks@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)