Bryan Nowell, Forest Ranger: (603) 271-2217
Lindsay Webb, NH Fish and Game: (603) 419-0193
Liza Poinier, NH Fish and Game: (603) 271-3211
September 15, 2006

Prescribed Burn on Seavey Island to Improve Wildlife Habitat

CONCORD, N.H. -- The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and the N.H. Department of Resources and Economic Development Division of Forests and Lands, with support from the Shoals Marine Laboratory and US Fish & Wildlife Service, will be conducting a "prescribed burn" in areas on Seavey Island, Isles of Shoals, about 10 miles offshore from Portsmouth Harbor. The prescribed burn is likely to occur between September 18 and October 15; the date will be finalized when the weather and atmospheric conditions are seen to be safe.

Prescribed burning, which is highly controlled and conducted by trained professionals, is an indispensable tool for safely managing the Coastal Island Habitat community. Non-native and invasive species of plants and grasses are dominating the vegetation structure and creating habitat that is too dense for the restored colony of nesting terns. Fire is a tool used in restoring or converting habitat conditions that are capable of supporting rare and important wildlife, including the federally endangered Roseate Tern. The prescribed burn will take place within controlled areas on Seavey Island, Isles of Shoals, which has no residents other than seasonal biologists. This is allowed under a state-issued burn permit, which also serves as a smoke management permit (RSA 227-L17).

Precautions will be taken to limit smoke and to ensure that the prescribed burn stays within the boundaries of the controlled burning areas. In addition, at least 2 boats will be available just off island at all times as part of the protocol to deal with any unexpected situations. Local and regional law enforcement officials and emergency management officials have been notified of the timing and location of controlled burning. However, coastal residents should recognize that atmospheric conditions could change, and smoke may create temporary visibility issues. The smoke poses no imminent threat to people's health or nearby communities.


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