June 2016 - Press Release

Black Brook Conservation Project
Completed in Goffstown

June 22, 2016, Goffstown – The Piscataquog Land Conservancy (PLC) and Town of Goffstown have completed the protection of 101 acres of undeveloped land in the northeast corner of town that includes half a mile of frontage on Black Brook, extensive wetlands and beaver ponds, and prime wildlife habitat. Located between Black Brook and Montelona Roads, the land abuts PLC's 126-exisitng Blackbriar Woods Preserve, and will be managed by PLC subject to a conservation easement held by the town. The land will be open to the public for recreation, including hunting and fishing.

The New Boston-based conservation group acquired the property from a private owner in March 2015, when it was in imminent danger of being sold for development. PLC funded the purchase with a bridge loan from the Conservation Fund, a national organization that makes loans to land trusts for their projects. Before borrowing money to buy the land, PLC asked the Town of Goffstown to commit funds to the project, contingent on PLC raising the rest of the money to pay off the loan plus interest and other transaction costs.

The Goffstown Conservation Commission and Board of Selectmen acted quickly to earmark dollars from the town's conservation fund toward the project. PLC went ahead with their interim purchase and spent the rest of 2015 raising public and private funds to cover the balance. At a closing late last week, PLC paid off its loan, and conveyed a conservation easement on the land to the Town of Goffstown. The Town's final share was about $97,000, or about a third of the project's $265,000 total cost.

"We and Goffstown took the leap of faith to buy this land because it would extend protection along Black Brook, which has seen extensive conservation and restoration efforts in recent years, protect wildlife habitat, and expand recreational opportunities for area residents. We are thrilled this project worked out, and are grateful to the Town and the many funders who came together to make it possible," PLC's Executive Director Chris Wells said.

Jean Walker, Chair of the Goffstown Conservation Commission said "the Goffstown Conservation Commission is very excited that this 101-acre parcel will now be preserved forever and open the public. It took about eighteen months from start to finish, but thanks to the efforts by PLC, public and private funders, and the Town of Goffstown, the land has been protected for future generations."

Other funders of the Black Brook project were the state's Aquatic Resources Mitigation Fund ($70,000), Land and Community Heritage Investment Program ($25,000), and the Conservation License Plate grants program ($20,000). Private foundation funders included the Jessie B. Cox CLT - Cox Family Fund, a donor advised fund of the Boston Foundation ($20,000), and the RBC Blue Water Project ($3,000). Private contributions from local residents and businesses totaled almost $30,000.

Lori Sommer, Administrator of the Aquatic Resources Mitigation Fund said "The initiative of PLC to purchase the property and protect it from imminent development was an amazing act with long-lasting impact for the Town of Goffstown. Connected to other protected lands in a neighborhood setting, the parcel provides great opportunity for wildlife and ensures preservation of significant riparian habitat along Black Brook. These are the unique opportunities and locations that the Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund finds success in funding."

Paula Bellemore, Natural Resource Specialist at LCHIP said "The Land and Community Heritage Investment Program is always pleased to assist with land conservation projects serving multiple purposes. PLC's Black Brook Preserve project does just that, providing recreational opportunities in a rapidly developing area of the state, protecting water quality in the highly threatened Merrimack River Watershed, and preserving important wildlife habitat in an area with little existing conservation."

Dea Brickner-Wood, Administrator of the State Conservation Committee said "The Piscataquog Land Conservancy's conservation of the Black Briar Woods Preserve ensures the protection significant wildlife habitat, water resources and public recreation access. The NH State Conservation Committee is pleased to be a funding partner, providing a Moose Plate Conservation Grant to the Piscataquog Land Conservancy, to ensure the protection of this important property in the New Hampshire landscape."

Founded in 1970, the Piscataquog Land Conservancy (PLC) is a private non-profit land conservation organization based in New Boston, NH. Its service area comprises 23 southern New Hampshire communities that encompass the watersheds of the Piscataquog, Souhegan and Nashua Rivers, which are all tributaries of the Merrimack. PLC has to date protected 103 parcels totaling 6,407 acres. To learn more, visit www.plcnh.org.


Contact: Chris Wells, Executive Director Piscataquog Land Conservancy
603-487-3331 or cwells@plcnh.org


February 2016 - Press Release

Goffstown Family Donates Conservation Easement

Goffstown, NH - February 22, 2016 -- the Finke family has donated a conservation easement to the Piscataquog Land Conservancy (PLC) on their land in northeast Goffstown. The property is located on Montelona Road, with its northern boundary along the Goffstown-Dunbarton town line. The family donated the full value of the conservation easement on the property, which encompasses approximately 59 acres of the 61-acre parcel. The balance of the land contains their home and outbuildings.

PLC Land Protection Specialist Tom Jones says "PLC is incredibly grateful to the Finke family for their generosity and conservation ethic. The majority of PLC's lands have come to us through donations, and we want to thank and celebrate Carrie and Tim Finke for continuing this tradition."

The Finkes approached the New Boston-based land trust us after learning of its nearby Black Brook Preserve project, which motivated them to conserve their land as well. Carrie Finke was already familiar with the land conservation process through her family's previous work with PLC on the Fullerton-Mahoney easement in Goffstown.

The Finkes say "land protection for wildlife habitat and for recreational enjoyment is very important to our family. We love to trail run, horseback ride, hike, and snowshoe. We had been thinking about donating a conservation easement on our property, and fortuitously we met PLC's Tom Jones and David Neiman from the Goffstown Conservation Commission, at Goffstown Old Home Day this past spring. It felt like the right time to move forward on our easement. Everyone at PLC has been a pleasure to work with!"

Purgatory Brook flows through the eastern portion of the property, joined by an unnamed tributary from the northwest, for a total of 3,700 feet of stream frontage. Purgatory Brook continues south to join with Black Brook approximately ½ mile south of the property, just 800 feet upstream from PLC's Black Brook preserve. National Wetlands Inventory maps indicate theland has 11 acres of wetlands, but PLC site visits indicate that the acreage of wetland is likely significantly higher. The New Hampshire Wildlife Action Plan identifies 47 acres (77%) of the Finke property as Tier 1 (best in the state) habitat and 11 acres (18%) as Tier 2 (best in the region). The land is also part of a 560-acre block of unfragmented forest.

The PLC easement on the property permanently preserves it in its existing undeveloped condition. The easement's purposes are to protect water quality of surface and groundwater resources, to protect natural habitats including vernal pools and wetlands, to provide the public low-impact recreational access and scenic enjoyment, and to conserve the property's forest lands. The Finkes and any future landowner will continue to be able to manage the land for forest products, provided that timber harvests are conducted according to a forest management plan developed by a registered forester.

David Nieman of the Goffstown Conservation Commission says "when we met Tim and Carrie at Old Home Day, they took one look at our map of nearby conservation lands, glanced at each other and said "We should preserve our property too!" For a conservationist, it doesn't get any better than that. Protecting the Black Brook corridor is a high priority for Goffstown. We are very grateful to the Finke family for their generous donation, and to the Piscataquog Land Conservancy for their efforts to make this vision a reality."


Contact: Chris Wells, Executive Director Piscataquog Land Conservancy
603-487-3331 or cwells@plcnh.org


July 2015 - Press Release

PLC Easement Protects Forest in Henniker

Henniker, NH -- July 14, 2015: The Town of Henniker has donated a conservation easement on its 55-acre Salmen-Buehler property to the Piscataquog Land Conservancy (PLC), a non-profit regional land trust based in New Boston. The forested land is located in the southern part of Henniker near the shore of Craney Pond, and straddles the watershed boundary between the Piscataquog and Contoocook Rivers. The property has long been popular with hunters and visitors to Craney Pond, and more recently has been a field study site for science classes from local schools and nearby New England College.

The lot was originally given to the town in 1995 with the intent that it be kept as conservation land, but came with no legal restrictions requiring that it remain undeveloped. The conservation easement now held by PLC prohibits any subdivision or development of the parcel, guaranteeing its conservation status forever. The easement permanently guaranties public access to the land for hiking, hunting, fishing and other non-motorized uses.

Holly Green, Chair of the Henniker Conservation Commission said "we were pleased to partner with the Piscataquog Land Conservancy on this project. The land was donated to the Town by the Salmen-Buehler family for conservation purposes and this easement will ensure that the family's wishes will be fulfilled in perpetuity."

Before the easement could be finalized, it first had to be approved by the Henniker Conservation Commission and Board of Selectmen, and then by town residents, who unanimously approved the easement at Henniker's March 2015 town meeting.

"It was a true pleasure working with the town officials and citizens of Henniker on this project, and we are grateful for their help and enthusiastic support. We have been involved in a number of conservation projects where a community wants to ensure the permanent conservation of town-own lands. Town forest designation or transferring the land to a town conservation commission provides some protection, but the best legal guarantee is a conservation easement held by an outside entity like a land trust," said PLC's Executive Director Chris Wells.

The Salmen-Buehler property is part of a larger forested area identified as a priority for protection in Henniker's town open space plan. The parcel abuts the Piscataquog Land Conservancy's existing 13-acre Craney Pond conservation easement, which came to PLC as mitigation for the recent expansion of Pat's Peak Ski Resort.

Kris Blomback, Chair of the Henniker Board of Selectmen said "this particular piece of land, combined with previous efforts, plus a heaping dose of great collaboration between government, business, and community is starting to create a truly special place that will be protected for future generations."

The Salmen-Buehler property rises from Craney Pond Road in a series of stair steps marked by short cliffs where iron-tinged bedrock emerges from the forest soils. Groundwater seeps out between the layers of rock, supporting luxuriant moss gardens. The flats between the steps support a forest dominated by stunted oaks (probably due to thin soils) with thick trunks and gnarled branches. Cutting diagonally across the property, about two thirds of the way up the slope, is a ribbon of more fertile soil trapped at the base of one of the cliff steps. Here oaks give way to thick hemlock that shelter a series of vernal pools. Several of the larger pools are ringed by large black gum trees, evidence that they stay wet through the summer. From the property's height of land, an open, rock-strewn blueberry heath rolls gently downward into a broad valley that drains towards the Piscataquog River. Maple and beech predominate, and richer soils are penned in by stone walls from long-abandoned farms.

PLC and the Henniker Conservation Commission will be leading a guided walk on the property this fall.

Founded in 1970, the Piscataquog Land Conservancy (PLC) is a private non-profit land conservation organization based in New Boston, NH. It serves the one dozen communities in southern New Hampshire that encompass the watershed of the Piscataquog River, which joins the Merrimack River in the City of Manchester. With the addition of the Salmen-Buehler easement, PLC has now conserved 101 properties totaling more than 6,000 acres.


Contact: Chris Wells, Executive Director Piscataquog Land Conservancy
603-487-3331 or cwells@plcnh.org  

Black Brook Preserve
Goffstown, NH

Finke Conservation Easement
Goffstown, NH

Salmen-Buehler Preserve
Henniker, NH

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The Piscataquog Land Conservacy is a charitable organization registered with the State of New Hampshire. Taxpayer ID number 23-7085677