N.H. Fish and Game's Region 4 Office
Serving Southwestern New Hampshire
By Gabe Gries
N.H. Fish and Game serves southwestern New Hampshire through its Region 4 office in Keene, which houses members of the Department's Inland Fisheries, Wildlife and Law Enforcement Divisions. Regional staff provide many critical services that help make this part of the state such a great place to live, work and play. By managing and protecting our state's fish, wildlife and natural places, they contribute to the region's high quality of life. Tourists, including hunters, anglers and wildlife watchers, who visit southwestern New Hampshire because of these resources, provide significant support for our local businesses. Following are just a few of the services provided in the southwestern region by your state Fish and Game Department:
Over 160,000 catchable-size trout are stocked in southwestern New Hampshire waters each year to provide excellent fishing opportunities. The majority of these trout are raised here in the region at the Milford State Fish Hatchery. Biologists work with conservation partner organizations such as the N.H. Department of Environmental Services, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy and many local watershed and lake associations to ensure the continued integrity of our fisheries resources in places such as the Ashuelot, Cold and Connecticut rivers. Fish and Game staff are working to help restore the fish and fisheries habitat of the Cold River watershed after the flood of 2005.
Southwest Region Fish and Game biologists conduct warmwater and coldwater fish surveys in lakes, ponds, and rivers to sustain and improve fish populations and to expand trout stocking, when appropriate. Studies conducted on Dublin Lake, Silver Lake and Nubanusit Lake have resulted in changes to fishing regulations designed to help to improve trout fishing. We are actively pursuing the restoration of Atlantic salmon to the Connecticut River watershed and the restoration of American shad to the Ashuelot River.
Regional biologists also monitor warmwater populations (walleye, bass, black crappie) in the Connecticut River to ensure that these excellent fisheries are maintained. Angling opportunities continue to expand in our area, as this spring marks the first time that anglers will have the opportunity to catch landlocked salmon in southwestern New Hampshire (Nubanusit Lake) in almost 25 years!
Southwestern New Hampshire boasts a large portion of the state's wild turkey population (the successful reintroduction of these birds started here as well), and Fish and Game biologists conduct summer and winter surveys each year to determine population status, assess their relationship with farms in the Connecticut River Valley, and regulate hunting for spring and fall seasons. Wildlife programs are particularly important to the residents and sportsmen and women of this region because of the growing number of moose, deer, and bear in our area, and the need to annually census these populations and manage their hunting seasons.
Fish and Game staff work
to alleviate wildlife/human conflicts, which are on the rise
in southwestern New Hampshire because of increased development in
many area towns. Wildlife biologists manage and monitor important
wildlife habitats, such as deer wintering areas, and offer wildlife
damage assistance to local farmers and orchard owners. We also protect
the public by helping to monitor for wildlife-related diseases
such as rabies, Chronic Wasting Disease and Avian Influenza.
Fish and Game Conservation Officers reinforce public safety in the region by enforcing fish and wildlife rules and regulations, as well as boating and Off-Highway Recreational Vehicle (OHRV) rules. They also have general criminal arrest powers. Fish and Game Law Enforcement staff helps mitigate many landowner/OHRV issues, provides the public with technical information and transports animals suspected of exposure to rabies for testing.
Each year, Fish and Game COs conduct many searches to rescue injured hikers, lost children, Alzheimer patients and accident victims in remote locations. Officers also conduct dive missions for drowning victims and retrieve evidence of crimes for other state, local and federal law enforcement agencies.
Staff in Fish and Game's regional office in Keene help inform the public each day by answering numerous inquiries about animals, wildlife diseases, problems with nuisance wildlife and road-killed animals and explaining fishing and hunting laws and where to hunt and fish. Staff also make presentations to local schools, outdoor clubs and lake associations, provide technical assistance to various groups and members of the public and sell hunting and fishing licenses.
The real New Hampshire advantage is our abundant natural resources -- the wildlife and wild lands that contribute so much to our high quality of life. The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, a complex organization with an ever-expanding set of duties and mandates that benefit all New Hampshire's citizens, is an important steward of these resources in southwestern New Hampshire.
Gabe Gries is a fisheries biologist at the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department's Regional office in Keene.
(Southwest N.H.) contact information:
15 Ash Brook Court, Keene, NH 03431