The process of identifying key
landscape features and then discussing the conservation needs with those who care about
the land is a powerful action. It provides a clearer picture of which critical natural
resource concerns to address first, where they are on the landscape, and how they impact
ecosystems. This can result in more effective, cost-efficient conservation on the ground
-- motivated by communities that understand the land and what it needs from them.
Sciences Institute for publications that will help locally-led conservation
Above right shows NRCS staff with Conservation
District Staff, working with local people on a conservation problem.
Often, resources for addressing identified conservation concerns are from non-local sources.
Federal, state, and local governments can channel assistance through local
Conservation Districts and
Resource Conservation and Development (
Locally-led conservation is based on the principle that local people make the best
decisions for their own communities This was recognized even 60 years ago by the
establishment of county conservation districts to address natural resource concerns.
Then, 30 years ago RC&D councils were established to solve environmental,
economic and social problems facing communities. Today, New Hampshire’s ten
Conservation Districts and two
councils work together with the
Resources Conservation Service through a locally-led process.
Locate the offices nearest you.
How Does It Work?
Using locally-led conservation typically involves a sequence of steps so that the entire
community is involved in both planning and implementation. These steps include:
- Reaching out to the public and bringing local stakeholders together
- Using a needs assessment to analyze local issues and concerns
- Setting local priorities based on public input and needs assessment
- Identifying the resources available to address local needs and priorities
- Developing and implementing a plan for action
- Reviewing and evaluating needs and accomplishments
Every step in this process helps accomplish community goals. Involvement breeds commitment,
and projects built on a locally-led process will have local benefits that the community
can both experience and be proud of.
These steps can be incorporated with the
planning process to accomplish community-supported conservation planning on
a variety of scales.
How We Can Help
In New Hampshire, we have a Core New Hampshire Conservation Partnership that
helps communities address natural resource concerns. Our ten County Conservation
Districts and two
Councils are made up of local people that help guide
communities in this locally-led process. Facilitation of local involvement is one
of the backbones of the Conservation Partnership.
The Natural Resource Concerns
Through the locally-led process, Conservation Districts,
and the Natural Resources Conservation Service are working on the following current conservation issues:
- Water quality
- Farmland protection
- Nutrient management
- Creative economic development
- Watershed education
- Ecosystem restoration
- Reducing erosion and sediment runoff in rural and urban communities
- And many others.
We in the Conservation Partnership can’t help communities accomplish their goals
without committed local people. Please contact your
local Partnership office to be part of the solution.
This information is available for download as a
brochure. This document requires Adobe
Visit the National
Association of Conservation Districts website on locally-led conservation
Conservation in New Hampshire (183 KB)
for more information and tools.
Sciences Institute, a great source of information on communities and
locally-led conservation methods and tools.