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Jim Oehler: 603-271-0453
Jane Vachon: 603-271-3211
May 23, 2014

Helping a New England Native – The New England Cottontail

Public Information Session – June 9, 2014, in Durham, N.H.

DURHAM, N.H. -- Come to the Durham Public Library, Monday evening, June 9, 2014, at 7 p.m., to learn about efforts to restore habitat for native wildlife, from cottontails to songbirds, on state and town-owned lands in the town of Durham. Young forests provide essential homes for a large variety of native wildlife and we are losing both at a rapid rate in New Hampshire. Among the species that are suffering is the New England cottontail, the region's only native rabbit, whose numbers are dwindling to the point that it is being considered for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act. "We can take action to reverse the decline," says Jim Oehler, State Lands Habitat Biologist. "Part of the solution is strategic, carefully planned and carried out forest management on state, town and even privately owned lands."

The evening will start out with an update on regional and state efforts to restore New England cottontails, including efforts to raise animals in captivity for release into the wild. Then participants will learn about upcoming efforts on nearby N.H. Fish and Game lands to provide habitat for cottontails and nearly 65 other young forest wildlife. Projects are planned for Fish and Game's Gowdy and Farrell Tract located on the corner of Long Marsh Road and Route 108, and the Powers Tract located a little more than one-half mile south, on the east side of Route 108 (click to skip to map below). Both tracts are part of the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, a partnership between Fish and Game and NOAA.

Later, you will learn how your own town and some of your neighbors are making an essential contribution in maintaining our wildlife legacy on their lands. Staff from the Natural Resources Conservation Service will discuss two upcoming projects on the town-owned Wagon Hill Farm and Sprucewood Forest, which they are assisting the town of Durham with. And, if you are a property owner in the area, you can learn how you can help improve habitat on your own property.

"We are really quite happy that the town of Durham is willing to help conserve New England cottontails and a diversity of other wildlife by doing these projects," said Don Keirstead, Ecologist with NH NRCS. "It will require partnerships like these, on town, state and even private lands to make sure that New Hampshire's diverse array of wildlife survives for future generations to enjoy."

For more information on efforts to restore New England cottontails throughout their former range, including habitat improvement projects occurring in New Hampshire, visit:

For more information on young forest, its benefits, and how to manage for it, visit:


7:00 – 7:15     Welcome - Cory Riley, Manager of the Great Bay Estuarine Research Reserve

7:15 – 7:45     Saving a Species – Regional and State Efforts to Restore New England Cottontails - Heidi Holman, Wildlife Biologist, NH Fish & Game Department

7:45 – 8:15     Reversing the Decline of Young Forests on NH Fish & Game Lands – Past and Potential Future Projects in the Durham Area - Jim Oehler, State Lands Habitat Biologist, NH Fish & Game; and Bryan Comeau, Forester, NH Division of Forests and Lands

8:15 – 8:45    Helping to Save a New England Native on Your Own Land - Don Keirstead, Ecologist, NH Natural Resources Conservation Service

  To view larger map, click on map belowFish and Game properties where planned New England cottontail restoration projects are planned.


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NH Fish and Game Dept.
11 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03301

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