First in the Nation American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
Emergency Watershed Program Floodplain Easement Purchase
The Natural Resources Conservation Service has purchased
the first floodplain conservation easement with Recovery Act funding. The
$82,182 easement purchase closed on September 23, 2009. The first restoration
payment in the amount of $148,600, equal to the assessed value of the home, was
made on September 24th. NRCS will be working with local conservation partners:
the Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire, and the Lamprey River Advisory
Committee, to implement the remaining restoration practices, which include
removal of the house and buildings and restoration of the hydrology and
vegetation in the 7.2-acre floodplain. The Southeast Land Trust now owns the land. A
$16,000 donation, provided by the Lamprey River Advisory Committee, was made to
the Southeast Land Trust to manage the property in perpetuity.
This 7.2-acre parcel is located at the confluence of
Pawtuckaway and Lamprey Rivers in the Pawtuckaway Core Conservation Focus Area.
These are NH Fish and Game Department-designated areas of
particular riparian significance for
regional air and water quality, local land and water
conservation, statewide biodiversity stewardship, and conservation science and
information management. The Lamprey River enjoys federal “Wild and
Scenic” designation, including its path along side the parcel, and is the
largest fresh water contributory to the Great Bay Estuary – one of the largest
estuaries (over 10,000 acres) on the Atlantic coast. The parcel was
historically a floodplain, but construction of the Folsom Dam invited building
in a breach inundation area. While the dam lessened the frequency of flooding,
it exacerbated flooding damage to the parcel. The most recent flooding
events occurred in 2005, 2006, and 2007. When the dam could not contain the
rivers, scour erosion eliminated access to the land and sediment deposits gave
rise to colonization by invasive species such as Japanese Knotweed, Autumn
Olive, and Multiflora Rose.
The restoration project includes:
Value of the house to be
Removal of the house and
associated buildings as well as an underground fuel oil tank (reclaimable
items are being donated to Habitat for Humanity).
Planting permanent vegetation
Installing erosion control in
two high traffic riparian areas.
Constructing stone fords to
replace failed road culvert and stabilize overflow channel.
Removing three existing stream
culverts and stabilizing banks.
Planting native woody species
to improve wildlife habitat.
Installing gate or other
suitable barrier to limit vehicular access.
Brian Hart, Executive Director of the Southeast Land Trust says
that “the protection of the Hauser parcel is a win-win for everyone and is a
great example of how conservation benefits not only the environment, but the
surrounding community and our nation. By conserving this parcel, we are meeting
local, regional, and national goals of preserving important natural resources
and providing flood control. In addition, we are helping flood victims
voluntarily relocate to a safe and dry location”.
The NRCS is contributing a total of $287,182 to this project including easement
acquisition and site restoration.