YEAR ONE REPORT
As part of a statewide effort with funding provided by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES), the Nashua Regional Planning Commission assisted our twelve member communities in identifying the natural and cultural resource protection needs and priorities for the region. Simultaneously, the State Legislature is considering legislation, SB 493, to establish a commission to "determine the feasibility of a new public-private partnership to conserve New Hampshire's priority natural, cultural and historic resources." This study will provide the commission's a resource list identified and ranked by the communities and regions across the state.
REVIEW OF LOCAL PLANNING STUDIES
Through researching community Master Plans, Conservation Plans, Resource Management Plans and other planning documents, a number of community priorities were identified pertaining to natural resource management. This review has been prepared as a supplement to the existing plans to highlight priorities in each Town. Wherever possible, specific recommendations pertaining to land acquisition or natural resource conservation have been included, while less specific or administrative recommendations have been left out. What follows is a list of priorities organized under the broad heading of type of resource and supported by direct quotes from the original source wherever possible.
Open Space Preservation/Greenway Model
"Open space in whatever form, fields, woods, or wetlands, is an expected if not essential element of Amherst's land use pattern. A limited amount of open space exists in the town and it is being found in smaller parcels. From an environmental viewpoint, the space that we are able to set aside will be more effective if it can be contiguous ... A connecting thread of protected land between larger reserves is better than none and may provide for the hiker. But wider corridors are needed for species movement and breeding and for water quality protection. For the latter, a 150 foot buffer seems to be a compromise minimum width." (1998 Master Plan III-22.) The 1998 Master Plan has identified five principal corridors as follows:
1. A riparian buffer on both sides of the Souhegan River. This should extend at least 150 feet back from each bank and be managed for stream bank protection and runoff filtration. A riparian buffer should support a mix of plant species from ground cover to shrubs and trees.
3. A Pond Parrish Corridor running from the Merrimack town line to the B&M corridor described in 2 above for wildlife and passive recreation ... Amherst officials should work with their counterparts in Merrimack to establish a protected resource approaching 1,000 acres in area.
4. A northern corridor which would be an extension of number 2 above extending from the Bragdon Farm to Joe English Reservation and the Bedford Land Trust Pulpit Rock Property.
5. A village to village corridor from the Amherst
village to Milford. This would cross Great Meadow near Wilkins School, as yet
unprotected property, and Conservation Commission lands off Lyndeborough Road."
(1998 Master Plan, p. III-22-24.)
Protecting the forest is becoming a priority of the Town. More than 1,500 acres have been acquired and are being mapped by the Town Conservation Commission. (1998 Master Plan.)Water ResourcesThe Town of Amherst recognizes the natural importance of wetlands and has recommended designating Ponemah Bog and Stump Pond as prime wetlands. Hydrology and water resources largely form the basis of Amherst's zoning. Recent complaints about water quality in Baboosic Lake have raised concern for the regulation of non-point pollution sources in the Lake's watershed. (1998 Master Plan.)Groundwater/Aquifer Protection"The Souhegan Aquifer is the most significant deposit of stratified drift in the region. Given the reliance of Milford on the Souhegan aquifer and the potential for the aquifer to yield significant amounts of water, it is imperative that Amherst and the surrounding communities take efforts to protect this aquifer." (1998 Master Plan, p. III-15.) To date, the protection has been addressed through regulatory means. In addition, "The wetlands and ponded areas on either side of Pond Parish Road should be included with Great Meadow and Ponemah Bog as Areas of Environmental Concern due to their wildlife and aquifer recharge attributes." (1998 Master Plan, p. III-25.)Protection of Agriculture"The value of agriculture in Amherst is its social and aesthetic contribution to Amherst's 'image' as maintaining a rural, open community. While it is desirable that all of Amherst's farmland remain in active, agricultural use, it is unlikely that this will be possible due to the nature of the development market and increased land values in Southern New Hampshire." (1998 Master Plan, p. III-6.) "... Given that Amherst citizens have consistently voted in favor of maintaining their rural, open community by transferring a sum of money equal to 50% of the current use recovery money paid for land coming out of current use to the Conservation Commission, it would be advisable for the Town to continue being directly involved in supporting the purchase of agricultural land by the Commission. Furthermore, it should also be protected since much of this open land contributes to the maintenance and protection of the watershed and water supplies." (1998 Master Plan, p. III-5.)Conservation Strategy"While preserving open land in general is important, large contiguous tracts of undeveloped land are far more important to wildlife and natural resource preservation than small, fragmented pieces. The Town should continue to support land acquisition of contiguous parcels whenever possible." (1998 Master Plan, p. III-21.)Brookline
Scenic VistasThe 1998 Master Plan contains the following recommendation: "(The Town Should): Establish a policy to acquire scenic vista property, or an access easement thereto, as those lands become available." (1998 Master Plan, p. 22.) A list of the scenic vistas identified includes the following:Wetland Conservation
Birch Hill Russell Hill Unnamed (northwest corner) Potanipo Hill Bear Hill Unnamed (SW of Rocky Pond) West Hill Unnamed (northwest corner) Hutchinson Hill Unnamed (E of Corey Hill) Corey Hill Hobart Hill Rock Ramond"... Major concentrations of these soils are found to exist in the areas of Wallace Brook, Stickney Brook, Rocky Pond Brook, and the Nissitissit River in southern Brookline’ Lancy Brook, Lake Potanipo, North Stream, Village Brook, and Stonehouse Brook in central Brookline; and Scabbard Mill Brook and Melendy Pond in northern Brookline ... This relationship is the result of a localized high water table and the source of greater quantities of water during periods of high stream flow." (1998 Master Plan, p. 13.) In 1987, the Town passed a wetland conservation district as part of the zoning ordinance. It is recommended in the 1998 Master Plan to "Gain better control of environmental important areas, through conservation easements, deed restrictions and purchase of development rights of land." (1998 Master Plan, p. 23.)Open Space/Conservation LandsAn issue brought up at the 1998 Community Profile Meetings which was making available more land for conservation/open space. Two issues considered ‘Key issues for now and vision for the future’ were to purchase more conservation land, and to make it accessible. Beaver Brook was cited as an example. (1998 Master Plan, p. 18,19.) It is recommended by the Master Plan that the Conservation Commission should: "seek to connect greenways and wildlife corridors where possible." (1998 Master Plan, p. 23.)It is further recommended to: "Develop maps showing the location of (Conservation Commissions) open space and easement throughout Town and publicize its availability. This map should also show future sites which will be targeted for acquisition or easement." (1998 Master Plan, p. 23.) The Town, Planning Board, and Conservation Commission should "Identify and sell small town-owned parcels of land which offer marginal public benefit and use the revenue to purchase land that will meet a top-priority need of the Town and its residents." (1998 Master Plan, p. 24.)Hollis
Surface Water Resources ManagementA Water Resources Management and Protection Plan completed in 1989 reported that the Town contains over 25 miles of perennial streams, including portions of two rivers and nine perennial streams, as well as nine named ponds. A priority for protection is wetlands, areas which contribute to the abundance of wildlife in town. "In 1997, the Annual Town Meeting of Hollis passed an amendment to the zoning ordinance that created a one hundred foot wide buffer zone around all wetlands." (1997 Master Plan, p. 7.)The need and recognition of an adequate shoreline has been identified in the 1997 Master Plan update. Hollis currently has a Recreational Zone in place which is a simple shoreland protection ordinance. "It establishes a district which includes all land within 600 feet of the shores of Silver Lake, Pennichuck Pond, Rocky Pond, Dunklee Pond, Flints Pond, the Nissitissit River, and the Nashua River." (1997 Master Plan, p. 8.)Groundwater ProtectionAll homes in Hollis are served by groundwater supplies. "Approximately 11.5 square miles or thirty-six percent of the total Town area are underlain by stratified deposits." (1997 Master Plan, p. 17.) Hollis has adopted two zoning districts specifically tailored to groundwater protection, the Water Supply Conservation Zone and the Aquifer Protection Overlay Zone. According to the 1997 Master Plan: "The best potential for additional production is from the northern end of the aquifer near Silver Lake where there also is potential for induced recharge." (1997 Master Plan, p. 18.)Protection of Prominent Scenic Sites and Areas"... The Master Plan Committee found the preservation and conservation of these sites and areas to be of tremendous importance to the preservation of the visual and rural character of Hollis ... Hollis has done an excellent job of planning for and assembling conservation, open space and recreation lands in the community and should continue to pursue its land conservation objectives." (1991 Master Plan, p. III-23.) The 1997 Master Plan contains an extensive table detailing important natural and scenic areas. Those included are as follows:Conservation of Agricultural Resources
Field at Pennichuck Pond and Meadow Drive Pennichuck Pond and shoreline on south and east side Forest and Parker Brook frontage east and south of Spaulding Park Ridge running on north side of South Merrimack Road Farm on Howe Lane Top of Pine Hill on Nartoff Road side Flint Pond and shoreline Dunklee and Parker Ponds and shoreline Pulpit Rock formation near Spaulding Park Open fields on Depot Road between Dow and Fieldstone Roads Open fields on Depot Road between Dow Road and Merrill Lane Orchard on east side of Depot Road from Monument Square to Richardson Road Hillside on west side of Dow Road Fields on north side of Blood Road Fields just east of Route 122 just over state boundary Flint Hill Flint Brook Nashua River waterfront (3 locations) Nissitisset River and shoreline Orchard on Love Lane Fields and stream in front of new high school Birch Hill Wooded side of Silver Lake Mill Pond on Mill Road Saunders Mill and stream Witches Brook from Mill Pond to Route 122 Haydens' Reservoir Rocky Pond and shoreline Woodmont Orchard on Route 122 at South Merrimack Road Woodmont Orchard on Federal Hill Road at Haydens' Reservoir Worcester's Mill Pond Road at Haydens Reservoirs Worcester's Mill Pond and shoreline on Rocky Pond Road Waterfall at Worcester's Mill Pond"Hollis' concentration of agricultural uses is by far the largest in the region and possibly the largest in Hillsborough county. Agricultural uses are highly visible and, in many ways, form the central feature of Hollis' rural image. Farming also remains central to the Town's economy and draws people from throughout the region to pick seasonal crops and patronize the farm stands." (1991 Master Plan, p. IX-11.)Protection of Wildlife Corridors/Habitat
The agriculture section of the 1991 Master Plan recognizes the market forces which have led to the decline of agriculture in the region. "For agriculture to continue to be a part of Hollis in the future, it is essential that the value of farmland for residential development be removed." (1991 Master Plan, p. IX-20.) "In south Hollis this is particularly true as the area has become increasingly prestigious but has relatively few large parcels of open land that are not in agriculture. Most of the farmland lost to development in recent years has been in south Hollis." (1991 Master Plan, p. III-12.) A recommendation from the 1991 Master Plan suggests: "Develop and implement a transfer of development rights or purchase of development rights program for use in conserving agricultural land, particularly those lands with prime or important farmland soils.""Maintenance of quality habitat is of great importance to all plant and animal species." (1997 Master Plan, p. 19.) It is recommended that property along interconnected habitat areas be conserved to form wildlife corridors along which animals may travel. (1997 Master Plan, p. 30.) According to the 1997 Plan, the Conservation commission should: "Determine the need for obtaining conservation easements or fee simple ownership to protect important views and vistas." (1997 Master Plan, p. 34.) Additionally, the Beaver Brook Association land, the largest conservation area in Town, is not public and has the possibility of one day being developed to other uses. (1997 Master Plan, p. 19.) A recommendation made in the Wildlife section is that the Planning Board (during development review) "... promote the conservation of interconnected habitat areas that will provide wildlife corridors along which animals can travel from one area to another. Modify zoning ordinance and subdivision and site plan regulations as appropriate to accomplish this". (1997 Master Plan, p. 34.)Hudson
Two animal species in Hollis are listed on the New Hampshire Natural Heritage Inventory of Threatened, Rare, and Endangered Species (NHI), the marbled salamander and the eastern hognose snake.
Rural AmenitiesProtecting open space is a high priority for Hudson. The 1996 Master Plan calls for "encouragement of open space developments that have the potential to conserve open space, farmlands, woodlands, and scenic vistas." (1996 Master Plan, p. I-3.) Further, "... Support the public purchase of development rights of lands with particularly important scenic, wildlife habitat, recreational, agricultural or water resources conservation value". (1996 Master Plan, p. I-2.)Encourage Redevelopment of Community Areas
"Encourage a greater sense of community cohesiveness, identity, and civic beauty through the development of a social and cultural community center. The following areas and actions (among others) should be explored:>Shoreline Protection
1. "Rehabilitate and maintain the historic old Hudson Center area on Route 111.
2. Redevelop a portion of the former Benson's property to include a major, town-wide park and recreational facility". (1996 Master Plan, p. I-3.)"Discourage the development of wetlands, steep slopes, prime and important farmland soils, ridgelines and other sensitive lands ... Adopt a shoreline protection ordinance consistent with the state model to permit Hudson to continue to regulate shoreline development at the local level." (1996 Master Plan, p. I-4.)Conservation and Enhancement of the Merrimack River Waterfront
The following recommendations pertaining the Merrimack River are made:Agricultural Protection
1. "provide increased access for river recreation activities such as boating and fishingSuggested locations for development of the riverfront include Merrill Park and the Birchcroft Site. It is further recommended to create a heritage trail linking together: the Southeastern Container property, the Property Agency, Inc. property, the Tamposi and Nash property, and the Hi-Tension Realty Corp. property. For additional recommendations of land use along the Merrimack River, please see the Merrimack River Corridor section at the end of this document.
2. provide for a system of trails, open spaces, and picnic areas for passive recreation activities
3. provide for the conservation of natural shoreline, important wildlife habitats and scenic areas through selective acquisitions, the use of compensatory open space requirements and appropriate development controls
4. develop subdivision, site plan, and zoning controls that encourage the development of commercial, industrial and residential uses that are enhanced by a riverfront location in a manner that is sensitive to the shoreline's unique characteristic." (1996 Master Plan, p. I-4.)
"Much of the agricultural land in Hudson has been converted to other uses, particularly along the Merrimack River. The five remaining agricultural operations consist of one dairy farm, one turf farm along the river in Northern Hudson, one orchard in eastern Hudson, and two small vegetable farms ... Hudson's concern, therefore, is not conserving prime and state significant farmland soils but conserving its remaining agricultural operations." (1990 Hudson Conservation Plan, III-3.)Wildlife ProtectionHudson has one animal species (the eastern box turtle) and 11 endangered and threatened species listed on the New Hampshire Natural Heritage Inventory of Threatened, Rare, and Endangered Species. It is recommended that the Town provide corridors between habitat areas to facilitate safe movement of the species. (1990 Hudson Conservation Plan, III-20, 21.)Litchfield
Agricultural Protection"The prime agricultural lands of Litchfield should be valued as an irreplaceable resource for the community, the region, and the State." (1991 Master Plan, p. II-21.) A recommendation made in the 1991 Master Plan is to: "... continue to work to preserve prime agricultural land through the state's Land Conservation Investment Program, and through investigation of transfer-of-development-rights, cluster, and other innovative land use controls." (1991 Master Plan, p. IX-2.)Merrimack River Protection and Access"In recognition of the (Merrimack) River’s importance to Litchfield, every effort should be made to provide access to this valuable resource. Specific shoreline protection measures should be considered to protect and enhance the River for generations to come." (1991 Master Plan, p. II-21.) For recommendations of land use along the Merrimack River, please see the Merrimack River Corridor section at the end of this document.Groundwater Quality93% of Litchfield is underlain by stratified drift aquifers. (1991 Master Plan, p. II-14.) According to recommendations made in the 1991 Master Plan, the Town should "consider adopting an aquifer protection overlay district and conservation ordinance." (1991 Master Plan, p. IX-2.)Wetland Protection"Wetland soils, concentrated mostly in the southern half of Litchfield, seem to form a fragile ecosystem in combination with adjacent areas having high aquifer yield potential. These areas are most suited to conservation and low density land use with appropriate steps taken to prevent contamination of the groundwater." (1991 Master Plan, p. II-21.)Preserving Open SpaceA recommendation from the 1991 Master Plan is to: "encourage a more sensitive approach to development, primarily by encouraging the use of conservation easements and dedications of certain lands to the Town." (1991 Master Plan, p. IV-4.) Some properties mentioned with priority for conservation are suggested. "The undeveloped lands between the Litchfield State Forest and the Londonderry Conservation Land provide an excellent corridor for the movement of wildlife. Every effort should be made to acquire lands or obtain easements to preserve this vital link between these two major natural areas." (1991 Master Plan, p. IX-2.)Recreation Space/Greenway Corridors"The Town should develop additional recreation offerings for residents to meet a lack of facilities for active and passive recreation. Emphasis should be placed on acquiring swimming, picnic areas, trails and river access as well as tennis courts. The lack of sidewalks and formal trail systems should be countered by a pedestrian/bicycle trail with an emphasis on access to scenic areas and riverfront access." (1991 Master Plan, p. IX-10.) In 1991, a trail was proposed which would connect public facilities in Town and provide access to Merrimack, Manchester and Hudson. "The eastern portion of the system links the industrial and commercial areas of southern Litchfield to the central residential core, Darrah Park, the State Forest, Sawmill Area Park, and the northern commercial and industrial area. This portion of the trail would be developed entirely within the right-of-way of Albuquerque Avenue. ... The western portion of the trail system is linked to the eastern portion at the proposed northern and southern intersections of Albuquerque Avenue and route 3A. An additional link is provided across school property from Windsor Drive. The western portion of the trail system follows the riverfront where possible and the right-of-way of route 3A at other times." (1991 Master Plan, p. VII-26.)Lyndeborough
Conservation of Wilderness Areas/Viewsheds"... The high elevations in the western part of Town are part of the largest undeveloped wilderness area located totally in Hillsborough County which includes the Wapack National Wildlife Refuge, Miller State Park, and adjacent areas. They offer residents the opportunity to witness the rolling terrain of the western portion of the Nashua Region ... The wonderful views and vistas offered from these sites merit their conservation ... It is recommended that the Town make an active effort to retain areas above 1,500 feet elevation as open space, and that the community provide access to the areas and establish sound forest management to maximize their open space/recreational value, and limit development above 1,000 feet elevation." (1988 Master Plan, p. I-2.) The Town is encouraged to make these areas accessible to the public. (1988 Master Plan, p. I-23.)Protection of Productive Farmlands"... It is important that steps be taken now to protect the Town's productive farmlands. The local economy provides a market for locally produced goods. In return, local farming operations can provide employment opportunities, and can reduce the cost of food by eliminating a significant transportation cost add-on. Agricultural uses can also be productive uses for flood plains and seasonally wet soils which are generally unproductive for development." (1988 Master Plan, p. I-8.) "Areas of higher density agricultural use are shown on the map to exist within the South Lyndeborough, Parker Hill, Johnson Corner, and Lyndeborough Center areas." (1988 Master Plan, p. V-4.)Shoreline/Surface Water Protection"The importance of surface water resources in the protection of water quality requires that they be treated with care in the land use planning process. It is recommended that land areas adjacent to surface water resources be protected by restricting their development for active use. These areas can be safely developed, however, to meet the community's needs for recreation and open space. They will also provide protective greenways that buffer or minimize any land use impacts that may be created by allowed development." (1988 Master Plan, p. I-11.)Groundwater ProtectionAll homes in Lyndeborough are connected to groundwater sources for drinking water. Lyndeborough has most of its groundwater in bedrock aquifers which are costly to develop and difficult to locate. As the 1988 Master Plan reported: "Again, due to the complex nature of bedrock aquifers, the Town should be cautious about allowing existing and future land uses to dispose of waste products that may find their way into surface water and groundwater supplies." (1988 Master Plan, p. I-18.) In the future, it is reasonable to presume that Lyndeborough will continue to rely on groundwater sources for a water supply, and must act to protect the supply from potential pollution in absence of a public sewage treatment system.Milford
Aquifer Protection"Like most towns in the Nashua region, Milford relies primarily on groundwater held in aquifers for its municipal and industrial water supply systems ... Adequate aquifer protection measures are essential because groundwater pollution can be hard to detect ... Given Milford's reliance on groundwater, contamination of a major water supply source would present a significant threat to health, safety and the environment" (1993 Milford Conservation Plan, p. 9.) The plan cites the zoning ordinance as the mechanism to guide protection.Wellhead ProtectionIn 1993, Town of Milford adopted the Milford Wellhead Protection Plan for the Curtis and Kokko Wellfields. The two well fields provide Milford's drinking water supply. "Protection is achieved by delineating the wellhead protection areas, identifying the potential threats to groundwater within those areas and by managing the land uses that pose a threat by ensuring that best management practices are employed." (1993 Milford Wellhead Protection Program, p. 3.) "The Curtis wellfield is located in the largest, most productive intermunicipal aquifer in the NRPC region, the Souhegan River Aquifer." (1993 Milford Wellhead Protection Plan, p. 2.)Souhegan River Trail Establishment"A discussion regarding the natural resources of Milford would not be complete without a more detailed overview of one of the more dominant features of the community, the Souhegan River ... The Conservation Commission has formed the Souhegan River Trail Committee which will make recommendations to the Commission on the location, development, and management of a hiking/nature trail to be situated on the north side of the River. This trail would begin at the New Hampshire Fish and Game managed parcel on which the Milford Fish Hatchery is located and connect to land owned by the Milford Hospital Association. ... The trail will include access to Town owned land located between the north and south channels of the Souhegan River. This land, called "Sycamore Island" by the planning committee, will offer a short nature trail loop for families with young children and for those members who want to experience the river ecosystems within a short distance of the parking area. ... On the south side of the River, a canoe launch is being planned which will be located at the Police Station land. In addition, discussion have taken place that advocate a trail starting at the canoe launch site and proceeding south to Keyes field." (1993 Milford Master Plan, p. 15.)Land Conservation/Agricultural Preservation"Conservation of agricultural resources is particularly important in Milford, whiich values its rural character but faces increasing development pressures" (1993 Milford Conservation Plan, 16.) In its Conservation Plan, Milford recognizes the importance of diverse agricultural uses. "A 'critical mass' of active farms in an area is often necessary for agriculture to be economically feasible for any local farmers. Moreover, active farms, with the associated buildings, animals, and cultivated fields are considered scenic by most and contribute to the rural character that makes Milford appealing." (1993 Milford Conservation Plan, p. 18.)Scenic Vistas
The benefits of land preservation go beyond preserving scenic quality, as the plan further describes: "... Although a single development may destroy only a fraction of existing wildlife habitat area, repeated approval of such development will quickly reduce or eliminate the land's ability to support many species of plants and animals and irrevocably prevent future use of land and wildlife habitat" (1993 Milford Conservation Plan, p. 19.)
"The Town of Milford owns significant holdings of conservation lands and easements ... Conservation easements held by the Town provide that the lands shall be maintained in perpetuity as open space and prohibit all industrial or commercial activity other than agriculture or forestry. "(1993 Milford Conservation Plan, p. 38.) The following properties are listed as conservation lands in Milford:It is recommended that: "future conservation land purchases, when appropriate, should attempt to link up with existing conservation properties." (1988 Master Plan, p. 18.)
Hitchiner Town Forest Mayflower Hill Town Forest Tucker Brook Town Forest Sullivan Land Hartshorn Pond and Land Nicholas & Constance Dadoly Conservation Land Great Brook Condominium Conservation Land West Hill Conservation Land Osgood Pond and Land"Milford has a number of scenic roads and scenic vistas which contribute to the Town's rural character and aesthetic quality. These areas should be identified, and appropriate measures taken to protect their value to the community. (1993 Milford Conservation Plan, 21.) The 1993 Updated Conservation Plan provided a list of scenic vistas in Milford which included the following:MerrimackA preservation strategy mentioned by the plan is the purchase of land or development rights to scenic areas. "Note that protection of scenic vistas may not require purchase of entire parcels of land. The view along a scenic road can be protected from destruction by road agents and property holders by acquiring rights to only a buffer strip adjacent to the road." (1993 Milford Conservation Plan, p. 24.) Jennison Road Look-Out Point Federal Hill Fire Tower Federal Hill Road Mason Road Savage Road
Water Resources ManagementMerrimack has a number significant water bodies within it's borders including the Merrimack River, Souhegan River, Baboosic Brook, Baboosic Lake, and Pennichuck Brook which provides drinking water for Nashua and parts of Milford and Merrimack. A comprehensive water resources study was conducted in 1990 and resulted in the Merrimack Water Resources Management and Protection Plan. For recommendations of land use along the Merrimack River, please see the Merrimack River Corridor section at the end of this document.Wetland Protection"All of the wetlands along the Merrimack River are included in the 1987 Environmental Protection Agency, Region I Priority Wetlands in New England. This document identifies high quality wetlands or wetlands that are vulnerable to environmental degradation." (1993 Master Plan, p. I-12.) The Town of Merrimack has a strict wetlands code and is "considering performing a functional evaluation of the Town's wetlands, which may lead to designation of prime wetlands." (1993 Master Plan, p. I-13)Groundwater ProtectionThe Town of Merrimack is dependent on groundwater for its water supply. Maintaining the quality of the water is essential. The 1993 Master Plan reports that: "A Wellhead Advisory Committee established by the Merrimack Village District in conjunction with the NH Department of Environmental Services pilot wellhead protection project is investigating ways of enhancing the protection of groundwater directly contributing to high-yield public water supply wells." (1993 Master Plan, p. I-15.)Wildlife HabitatOne animal listed on the New Hampshire Heritage Inventory is recorded in Merrimack: the banded sunfish. Merrimack is also considered among the best winter nesting sites for bald eagles. "The Audubon Society has identified the following areas in Merrimack as existing or potential eagle perch and roost sites: (1) just north of Reeds Ferry in Merrimack extending across the River into Litchfield and south to the town large islands in the Merrimack River, (2) near the confluence of Naticook Brook and the Merrimack River, (3) on the Anheuser-Busch property between the railroad and the Merrimack River, and (4) Pennichuck Brook from Route 3 to the Merrimack River." (1993 Master Plan, p. I-17.)Mont Vernon
In addition, the Town contains the presence of 12 plant species which are "critically endangered" and 3 plant species as being of "historical occurrence with the expectation that they may be rediscovered." (1993 Master Plan, p. I-17.) Each species is recorded on the NHI.
Visual Quality of Views"Elevations in Mont Vernon are generally well above the 500 foot level, except for areas in the southern part of town ... The varying topography of Mont Vernon affords town residents and visitors a number of scenic views throughout the Town. The visual quality of these views should be protected as much as possible." (1989 Master Plan, p. VI-7.) A table in the 1989 Master Plan suggested a list of the following scenic views (the list is not all-inclusive):Historical Character
Grand Hill Lamson Farm top of Twin Oaks Dr. Village School Library top of Route 13 end of Smith Rd. Old Amherst Rd. top of Spring Hill Kitteridge Rd. View of Joe English ledgeMany of the 1989 Master Plan land use recommendations concerned a desire to preserve the historical resources of Mont Vernon. The following recommendations were made by the plan:Maintaining Favorable Land for Development
"The Town should continue to encourage the protection, enhancement and rehabilitation of significant architectural and historic resources such as the Town Hall, Library, and McCollum School. Any building changes, site improvement or other alteration (especially to town owned buildings) should respect the historical qualities of the structure.
Upon vacating of the school from the McCollum Building, encourage the sensitive reuse/rehabilitation of the structure. Although this is not a town-owned structure it is a critical structure in the village area. Its future will play a pivotal role for the future of many of the older buildings in the village. Funds should be sought to prepare a feasibility study for the building.
Continue the protection and enhancement of historic Mont Vernon village. The residential character of the village should be retained.
Promote the uprading, preservation and protection of the Town graveyards and private burying grounds." (1989 Master Plan, p. VIII-12, 13.)"Major constraints to development in Mont Vernon include ledge, wetland areas, steep slopes, and flood prone areas." (1989 Master Plan, p. VIII-6.) In terms of zoning, the 1989 Master Plan suggests: "Mont Vernon should amend its zoning ordinance to provide for an environmental overlay district." (1989 Master Plan, p. VIII-6.) As stated in the Plan, the districts should include a Wetlands Conservation District, a Steep Slopes District, an Aquifer Protection District, and a Floodplain District.Nashua
Recreation Land and Open SpaceThe 1996 Master Plan, Southwest Quadrant (part 1) made it a priority to provide for open space and recreational areas. Two recommendations are as follows: "Continue to improve and maintain existing city-owned parks and recreational areas, such as Yudicky Farm and Roby Park", and "Encourage developers to set aside adequate amounts of usable recreation land through the subdivision and site plan review processes for the use of local residents and the general public." and "Link open spaces and recreational areas whenever feasible, to produce a trail network or greenway throughout the quadrant." (1996 Master Plan Update, Part 1: The Southwest Quadrant, 94.)Greenway Development"In Nashua's southwest corner, an opportunity exists to create a greenway connecting the Nashua River with city-owned lands and Salmon Brook ... Much of this corridor follows streams and wetlands ... (the suggested course) follows a 200 foot wide corridor (100 feet on each side from a defined centerline) that runs from the Nashua River down to Yudicky Farm, along Lyle Reed's Brook and down to Lovewells Pond, and then out along Cold Brook to Salmon Brook. This is but one way in which a greenway could be designated." (1996 Master Plan Update, Part 1: The Southwest Quadrant, 95.)Wetland Protection
Some areas which may be worth considering for protection include the area around Lovewell's Pond. "The pond is one of the few in the southern part of New Hampshire that has a pristine, undeveloped shoreline ... To protect water quality and provide adequate buffer zones for wildlife, protection of the upland areas in the immediate watershed should be further explored. The City should consider purchasing land along the entire shoreline." A second and third area for protection include: "the large tract between Main Dunstable Road, Ridge Road and Buck Meadow Road ... and the area east of Buck Meadow Road." (1996 Master Plan Update, Part 1: The Southwest Quadrant, 96.)The 1985 Master Plan suggests the following recommendation pertaining to wetland areas: "Four major wetlands areas presently border Gilson and Main Dunstable Roads. Once again, future development taking place along the area should be required to provide adequate protection for these environmentally critical areas." (1985 Master Plan, p. II-10.)Merrimack River WaterfrontFor recommendations of land use along the Merrimack River, please see the Merrimack River Corridor section at the end of this document.Pelham
WetlandsApproximately 18% of the total area of Pelham is made up of wetland soils. (1992 Master Plan, p. III-13.) In response, the Master Plan has created a wetlands overlay district, and recommends special protection through the site review process. A Prime Wetlands Study conducted in 1988 inventoried those wetlands within Town which were believed to be unique resources and deserved status as 'Prime Wetlands'. While all of the Town's potential 46 sites were not examined, seven sites were recommended for adopting as Prime Wetlands included: Lower Golden Brook Wetland, Upper Golden Brook Wetland, Camp Runnels Wetland, Dunlop Wetland, Cranberry Bog Wetland, Mountain Orchard Wetland, and Harris Brook Wetland.Wildlife HabitatsThrough the site plan review process or by land acquisition, encourage conservation easements or open space with attention to creating wildlife corridors and interconnecting habitat areas. Pelham has two animals listed on the New Hampshire Natural Heritage Inventory: the eastern box turtle and the banded sunfish. It is a priority to maintain the habitat of these species which are very sensitive to changing habitat conditions. (1992 Master Plan.)Scenic VistasPelham's 1992 Master Plan includes a listing of various scenic vistas in Town including: views from Jeremy Hill, Route 38 at the Pentacost Church, portions of Currier Road, Long Road and Harris Pond. As stated in the plan, "The visual resources of a community are a major component of its image and sense of place, and have an impact on the quality of life for residents and the perceptions of visitors." (1992 Master Plan, p. III-20.) The same plan included a recommendation to begin a process to identify the significant visual resources within the community. It was recommended that this be done by the Conservation Commission.Water Resources Protection
Similarly, preservation of historical resources demands priority attention. A specific recommendation from the 1992 Master Plan was to "promote the work of the town cemetery trustees and the preservation and protection of the Town's historic graveyards and private burying grounds including retention of the small stones used as footstones and children's headstones." (1992 Master Plan, p. VIII-10.) A listing of historical resources culled from that plan is presented in the Historical Resources map.According to the Pelham Water Resources Management and Protection Plan (1988), the Town provides no public water to its residents, and is entirely dependent on groundwater aquifers to supply potable water to residents. (1988 Pelham Water Resources Management and Protection Plan, II-23.). Groundwater supplies are a key drinking water source and have proven to be of acceptable quality. A computer model produced for the water management plan suggested that only one aquifer has the potential as a supply source for the Town. That the Pelham-Brook Aquifer, located along Beaver Brook is found between the mouth of the Golden Brook (north extent) to a southern extent marked by Willow Street. (1988 Pelham Water Resources Management and Protection Plan, p. III-6.)Wilton
Souhegan River Conservation"The Souhegan River is the Town's largest and most important surface water resource ... The River presents the Town with a great opportunity to create a greenbelt/park network along the banks ... One section of the River, from the Greenville Town Line to King Brook is already protected by a State conservation easement. The Town should work to create a greenbelt stretching the entire length of the Souhegan River in Wilton and encourage the neighboring communities in Milford and Merrimack to do the same, thereby creating a regional as well as local asset." (1988 Wilton Conservation Plan, p. IV-3, 4.)Groundwater Aquifers, Reservoirs, and Surface Watersheds"The importance of surface water resources in the protection of water quality requires that these resources be constantly considered in the land use planning process. It is recommended that land areas adjacent to surface water resources be protected by restricting intense development in these areas ... (Limited development) will also provide protection greenways that buffer or minimize any land use impacts that may be created by allowed development ... In addition, the connected surface water resources can than serve as the basis for a natural system of open space around which the development can occur. (1988 Master Plan, p. V-17.)Floodplain Awareness
The 1988 Master Plan reports that "... Of particular importance are Wilton's Old and New Reservoirs. The two reservoirs are part of the Town's original public water system, and are connected by a pipeline that allows surface water to be pumped from the Old to the New Reservoir as necessary ... The existing Reservoir System will be maintained as a backup water supply and for a reserve should future demand require its use." (1988 Master Plan, p. V-14.) Protective strategies should accompany this goal.Much of the land area in Wilton is found within the area delineated by the FEMA as inside the 100-year floodplain. "It is recommended that these areas be removed from consideration for development for active use."Preserving Prime, State and Locally Important Farm Soils as well as Existing Agricultural LandsThe Town should purchase the development rights to the most significant agricultural lands in the community. This acquisition is important to assure the continuation of agriculture and to maintain the character of the town. In addition, the preservation of agricultural lands will generally provide multiple benefits by protecting other resources located in the parcel. "With reversion back to local production of some agricultural crops likely to be emphasized in the near future, the protection of this resource must be protected for future generations and to provide community continuity with Wilton's historic development as a rural/farm community." (1988 Master Plan, p. V-12.)Preserving the Towns Scenic and Historic Characteristics"The preservation of historic sites and areas should also be a high priority in the town ... Old mill sites along the River for example could be acquired as part of the greenbelt while an historic district could be developed to protect the Wilton Center area." (1988 Wilton Conservation Plan, IV-5.) "... When considering resource protection measures, it is important to evaluate the need for public access. In some instances the Town may only need to purchase an easement for public access to or across an area" (1988 Wilton Conservation Plan, IV-3.)Natural Area
The Conservation Commission should actively acquire conservation and public access easements to parcels located along the Souhegan River as part of the development of the greenbelt. This action will provide multiple benefits by protecting the shoreline from development, maintaining water quality, protecting floodplain and wetland areas, preserving wildlife and fishery habitats, providing public access to the River and increasing the recreational opportunities available to the Town. In addition, key parcels should be purchased out-right to allow the development of parks, formal public access and parking areas.
"The Conservation Commission should acquire conservation and public access easements to smaller scenic areas such as waterfalls, cliffs and viewing points at high elevations. The acquisition of these easements will serve to protect the significant scenic resources of the community while allowing public access and use of the area." The Wilton Conservation Plan lists the following identified the following sites as recommended for future conservation areas:
Beaver PondMerrimack River Corridor
Flood Control Site #15
West Wilton Flood Control Dam
Bennington Battle Trail
Frye Measure Mill
Flood Control Site 10A
Flood Control Site 33
Wilton Reservoir Watershed
Ann Jackson Day Camp
Hand direction Marker
Livermore Mill Site
High Mowing School
Crawford Farm - Batchelder Farm
Holt Brothers Orchard
Wilton Temple Community Farm
4 Corner Farm
In 1989, the Merrimack River Corridor Management Plan was prepared to document conditions of the corridor. As stated,
"This plan contains information on water and other natural resources, historic and recreational resources, and the natural and man-made physical characteristics of the Merrimack River Corridor as required for evaluation and inclusion in the New Hampshire Rivers Management and Protection Program." (1989 Merrimack River Corridor Management Plan, p. I-2.) The plan provides a guideline for management of this important asset which remains "virtually undisturbed by man in many locations" and contains a detailed list of recommendations including local, state, and federal programs which may be used in implementation of the plan" (1989 Merrimack River Corridor Management Plan, p. I-3.) Specific actions recommended to the four communities on the banks of the lower Merrimack River include:
Request conservation and pedestrian easements along the River during the site plan and subdivision review processes in all four communities. These areas can be used to meet the open space requirements of the regulations. RSA 674:36, Subdivision Regulations, and RSA 674:44, Site Plan Review Regulations, authorize the communities to include open space and recreation land criteria in the regulations and to consider these criteria when reviewing development proposals.
Acquire and develop public boat access areas in each community. The communities may utilize municipally owned properties or if possible purchase additional land along the River.
Develop a continuous trail along the shores of the River. The trail should follow the Riverbank where possible; however, existing development will make this impossible in some areas. In these instances, the trail should skirt around the development and come back to the riverbank when possible.
Acquire conservation, pedestrian and fishing easements, by donation or purchase, across individual properties for the trail corridor. (1989 Merrimack River Corridor Management Plan, p. IX-7.)
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