Merge between Southeast Land Trust and Strafford Rivers Conservancy

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Eight-four percent of New Hampshire is forested according to the The Economic Importance of New Hampshire’s Forest-Based Economy 2013. This translates into New Hampshire’s forest covering more than 4.83 million acres of land. Out of these forested acres, 12.5% of these lands are classified as having conservation easements. In the three counties which have communities included in the Strafford Region, there are a total of 1098 conservation easements.

Statewide, close to half of conservation easements are held by non-governmental organizations such as the Strafford Rivers Conservancy, Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire, Moose Mountains Regional Greenways and Bear-Paw Regional Greenways. According to the Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire, conservation easements “forbid or limit future residential or commercial development.  In some cases, a limited number of specified subdivisions may be allowed.  Additional restrictions include prohibiting the removal of topsoil, the construction of cell towers and billboards and burying of trash.  These restrictions apply to the current and all future landowners.”

Southeast Land Trust holds conservation easements on more than 115 properties. Strafford River Conservancy, another non-profit land trust, holds 26 easements, and is the backup holder for 25.

Recently, these two independent organizations, who strive to ensure conservation in the region, announced they would be merging on August 14th. On the Southeast Land Trust Website they explained that the merge between their organizations would help to:

1)      Better effectuate our mission of land conservation

2)      More efficiently used limited resources

3)      Strengthen our capacity to fulfill obligations of stewardship in perpetuity

4)      Ease the role of donors and supporters

The merged non-profit will continue to use the name Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire with the goal of conserving more land in Rockingham and Strafford counties. Sam Reid, who is the President of the pre-merged Strafford Rivers Conservancy explained, “If you can put two organizations together and eliminate back office expenses, it gives you more funding to devote to the mission of the organizations.”  Reid explained how the collaboration of these two organizations will be beneficial in the process of conserving land in both Rockingham and Strafford Counties. Reid elaborated how this is especially important considering Great Bay and planning for the preservation of this resource including the reduction of pollution and runoff.

The new Southeast Land Trust will serve 52 communities within southeastern New Hampshire and 99% of New Hampshire’s portion of the Great Bay Coastal Watershed. SRPC congratulates these organizations on their merger and their work plans as the expanded Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire.

For more information on the merger, visit here.

In addition, we congratulate all of the local conservation organizations in the region. We appreciate all the hard work they do to protect our resources!

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Written using the following resources, and with assistance from Sam Reid.

http://conservationeasement.us/reports/easements

http://extension.unh.edu/resources/files/Resource001848_Rep2650.pdf