LODONDERRY, N.H., March 26, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Eversource and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced a new conservation program, Partners for New Hampshire's Fish and Wildlife, dedicated to restoring and sustaining healthy forests and rivers in New Hampshire.
Eversource, through its subsidiary Northern Pass Transmission LLC, has committed $3 million over the next two years (2015-2016) to this new partnership. NFWF and its funding partners are committing an additional $1.5 million over that period of time, boosting the total conservation impact to at least $4.5 million.
Through Partners for New Hampshire's Fish and Wildlife, NFWF and Eversource will work with private landowners, government agencies, academic institutions and conservation groups to cultivate science-based conservation strategies and to invest in cost-effective, on-the-ground projects. Each year, NFWF will work with its partners to solicit grant applications, which will be reviewed by a technical review committee of composed of government, academic and other experts. Funding decisions will be based on a given project's potential to achieve long-term, measurable conservation outcomes that match the program's goals.
"We are pleased today to be making this significant investment in New Hampshire's future," said Bill Quinlan, President NH Electric Operations, Eversource. "Through the resources of Northern Pass, Eversource is proud to become NFWF's largest corporate partner in the northeast. The pledge that Eversource and Northern Pass are making today reaffirms our commitment to a cleaner environment and healthy wildlife habitats."
"Public-private partnerships are vital to conservation efforts in the 21st century," said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. "Partners for New Hampshire's Fish and Wildlife is a good example of this kind of effort. Working as a team, we will be able to achieve long-term conservation outcomes for communities and wildlife across New Hampshire that will provide benefits for many years to come."
The new partnership will invest in projects that will:
- Strengthen the health of forest systems by improving the management of public and private forestlands;
- Sustain working forests that are integral to local economies and ecosystems;
- Improve the quality of cold-water river and stream systems through targeted riparian and stream restoration;
- Reduce barriers to fish passage and increase access of fish to high-quality, cold-water habitat;
- Enhance biodiversity of forest and river systems and increase populations of species such as New England cottontail, American woodcock, Bicknell's thrush and Eastern brook trout; and
- Create and sustain vital habitat for diverse native freshwater fish and bird populations in New Hampshire.
In addition to the partnership, NFWF also announced the first two "early action" grants to be awarded from Partners for New Hampshire's Fish and Wildlife, which are described below.
Enhancing Habitat for Early Successional Species
This project will establish at least 30 acres of early successional habitat through two pilot projects on sites in the Town of Londonderry and on the Bellamy River Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The pilot projects are part of a larger effort to restore populations of American woodcock, golden-winged warbler and other species dependent on early successional habitat.
The project will engage local volunteers to provide additional habitat for New England cottontail and avian species with similar habitat needs, including brown thrasher, common yellowthroat, willow flycatcher and white-throated sparrow.
Project objectives include:
- Restore additional acres of early successional habitat at Bellamy River WMA through selective herbicide application and planting of shrub seedlings;
- Select potential sites in the Town of Londonderry to improve early successional habitat. Methods include selective timber harvest for regeneration and selective clearing for maintenance and enhancement of existing habitat; and
- Provide educational materials at the site next to Londonderry High School and Middle School.
Eastern Brook Trout Aquatic Organism Passage
This project will use natural stream simulation design techniques to replace barriers to fish passage in an Eastern brook trout watershed whose tributaries flow off of the White Mountain National Forest and into the Connecticut River watershed. The project will identify and prioritize priority projects within the Oliverian Brook watershed, including the North Branch and Titus Brook tributaries in the Town of Haverhill, New Hampshire.
Project objectives include:
- Use natural stream simulation design techniques to replace barriers to fish passage in the Oliverian Brook watershed, a priority restoration site of the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture;
- Identify and prioritize projects within the watershed that will improve the overall health of Eastern brook trout populations;
- Work with willing towns and individual landowners to address fish passage barriers on their property; and
- Remove, replace or retrofit undersized, perched or impassable culverts, restoring channel geomorphology as needed, and planting stream banks to restore riparian habitat and reduce erosion.
For more information about Partners for New Hampshire's Fish and Wildlife, please visit www.nfwf.org/newengland.
Eversource is New England's largest energy provider, serving more than 3.6 million customers, including 500,000 in 211 New Hampshire communities. Three years ago, Northeast Utilities and its operating companies Connecticut Light & Power, Public Service of New Hampshire, Western Massachusetts Electric and Yankee Gas merged with NSTAR Electric & Gas to better serve New England. Eversource represents the commitment of these historic institutions and its more than 8,000 employees to build a single, united company around the mission of delivering reliable energy and superior customer service. For more information, visit http://www.eversource.com.
About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation's fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 4,000 organizations and committed more than $2.9 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.
Source:National Fish and Wildlife Foundation