Grants aim to help birds, rabbits, fish in New Hampshire

  • A red-eyed vireo has an identification band attached to its leg for a field study on migratory songbirds this summer. The project received funding from a recent series of public-private grants. John Huff / Fosters.com

Monitor staff
Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Programs to protect songbirds and cottontail rabbits in New Hampshire, preserve fish-spawning habitat near Gilford and allow mammals to travel safely under the North Country’s busiest road are among the projects to receive part of $1.26 million in grants announced Tuesday by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The grants were awarded through the New England Forests and Rivers Fund, a public-private partnership that in three years has worked to restore 2,500 acres of forest habitat and more than 550 miles of fish habitat.

“By working with federal organizations, along with Eversource and the American Forest Foundation, we have been able to pool $4.2 million in funding, empowering grantees to implement the most cost-effective conservation projects that are good for fish, wildlife and their surrounding communities,” said Amanda Bassow, NFWF’s northeastern regional director.

The 10 grants announced Tuesday will open 117 miles of streams by modifying and replacing 24 failing culverts and other barriers. The projects will also improve nearly 1,000 acres of forestland habitat for a suite of birds, involving at least 485 volunteers in restoration and delivering technical assistance to over 2,500 landowners.

“With the majority of New England under private ownership, the land management decisions of farmers and forest landowners are important to a wide array of wildlife species,” NRCS acting Chief Leonard Jordan said.

Among the awards:

$103,000 for the University of New Hampshire to “develop multiple forest management regimes to benefit priority forest birds, including wood thrush and the black-throated blue warbler.”

$175,000 for UNH to determine how New England cottontail rabbits and other species dependent upon young forests react to successional forest habitat management activities.

$55,000 to install large woody material in 28 locations to restore 2 miles of habitat for eastern brook trout in the Gunstock Recreation Area near Gilford.

$138,000 to help the New Hampshire Department of Transportation restore aquatic connectivity in the Connecticut River Valley by replacing a culvert to connect 1.6 miles of coldwater habitat and installing a dry ledge to allow mammals – including fisher, mink and bobcat – to cross safely under a busy road.

Awards were also given for projects in Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts.

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