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Using the NH Wildlife Action Plan after a Natural Resource Inventory

floodplain forest
Example of a floodplain forest,
one of the WAP habitat types.
Photo by Lindsay Webb.

Once a Natural Resource Inventory (NRI) is completed, there are various steps you can take in order to use your NRI to benefit your town. Whether your NRI is basic (using just existing maps) or detailed (using ground-truthing, wildlife and/or vegetative inventories, and incorporating other pertinent studies) here are some suggestions on what to do next:

 

Write a Conservation Plan

 

If your NRI was conducted in preparation for writing a conservation plan, now's the time to sit down with members of your town to discuss the results of the NRI and determine what natural resources are most important for conservation. This process may not be easy but it is important that as a group you decide conservation goals that reflect the future ecological health of your community. It is also a perfect time to communicate to the Planning Board the places in the town where there are unique and valuable resources. Learn if and how your Master Plan has incorporated the protection of natural resources by performing an audit; learn how you can audit your town's planning documents for wildlife habitat and natural resources.

 

Share with Others in your Town

 

If your NRI was not conducted for a town's Conservation Commission, you may want to consider contacting the Conservation Commission(s) in the town(s) that the NRI was completed. A natural resource inventory is invaluable data used for conservation planning and many towns find the financial burden of hiring someone to do an NRI too heavy. Offering your results to the Conservation Commission may foster a relationship that could benefit both parties in the end.

 

Discover More about the Natural Resources in your Town

 

marten - Dave Govatski
American marten, a WAP species
found in the forested North Country.
Photo by David Govatski.

If you did not conduct a detailed NRI, you might want to do a more in-depth wildlife or vegetative inventory on certain properties or in your entire NRI location. Use the WAP habitat and species crosswalks to find out which WAP species you might expect to find in certain habitats, but don't forget to identify common species too. A more detailed NRI may also include identifying other important wildlife features like vernal pools, deer wintering yards, or mast trees, to name a few. To help conduct these surveys, you can hire an environmental consultant, engage the help of local public schools and universities, solicit volunteers from outdoor groups and hiking clubs, or organize a "bio-blitz". The UNH Cooperative Extension website (extension.unh.edu) offers a variety of publications that can help you with a more detailed NRI.

 

Send Your Data to Us

 

Much of the information we have about wildlife in NH comes from citizens. Report any rare wildlife to Wildlife Sighting Database (to be launched Winter 2009) or rare plants to New Hampshire's Natural Heritage Bureau. This information will be used to update future versions of the New Hampshire Wildlife Action Plan (WAP).

 

Learn More About Protecting New Hampshire's Wildlife and Habitats

 

Review the WAP species and habitat profiles (links just below) to find out what may threaten the future existence of the habitats and species you have identified in your area during your NRI. Then read about these threats and what you can do about them in WAP Chapters 4 and 5. Taking a pro-active approach to these risks will make it easier to prepare for the future ecological health of your area.