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Grant awards make conservation of Shelburne Riverlands a reality


November 26, 2020
SHELBURNE — Two State of New Hampshire programs have recently awarded significant grants to Mahoosuc Land Trust (MLT) to acquire the 853-acre Shelburne Riverlands. A $125,000 grant from the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) and a $761,668 grant from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Aquatic Resource Mitigation (ARM) Program were announced this week. With additional support from dozens of individuals and foundations, MLT hopes to close on the purchase early in 2021.

The Riverlands will permanently conserve 22 islands and 12 mainland parcels located along an 8.7-mile stretch of the Androscoggin River.

"We are truly appreciative of the significant investments of LCHIP and ARM," said Kirk Siegel, Executive Director of MLT. "The wild and scenic nature of this section of river makes it a favorite of paddlers and anglers, while the wetland resource is outstanding."

The project includes silver maple floodplain forests braided with oxbow and flood channel wetlands, and interspersed grasslands along miles of river and stream shoreline. These rich natural communities host wildlife species of conservation concern and connect hundreds of thousands of acres of intact forests across the Androscoggin. The ARM Fund Program was particularly appropriate for the Riverlands project, due to these important wetland values.

MLT has worked closely with The Conservation Fund (TCF), a national nonprofit conservation organization which helps community and government leaders, businesses, landowners, and nonprofits conserve important land and water resources.

"The Shelburne Riverlands contains enormous and critical conservation, recreation, and community values," said Sally Manikian, New Hampshire and Vermont Representative for The Conservation Fund and also a resident of Shelburne. "Yet highly important lands like this often wait for the right time and right leadership, which I am thrilled to see coming together with partnership from MLT and the extraordinary support from our statewide conservation funders NH DES ARM Fund and NH LCHIP."

These lands have been a focus in Shelburne's Master Plan for decades, according to MLT. When the opportunity arose for permanent conservation, the Shelburne Conservation Commission sought assistance from TCF and MLT, and both organizations stepped forward to help the town. When MLT acquires the Riverlands, Shelburne residents will guide management through a special advisory committee created by the land trust. In addition, MLT will work with the Shelburne Trails Club to enhance public access and connect to the existing Shelburne trails system. More information and a video of the project is available at www.mahoosuc.org.

LCHIP funds will support projects in nine of the state's ten counties, including the Riverlands. According to LCHIP, this grant round was highly competitive, with nearly $8 million in funding requests compared to $4.1 million available for grants. Grant recipients are required to raise a minimum of one dollar for each dollar provided by LCHIP. This year's awards of $4.1 million will be matched by nearly $18 million that the project proponents will raise from other public and private sources, infusing a total of over $22 million into the state's economy in direct project activity.

About New Hampshire's Land and Community Heritage Investment Program

The New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program is an independent state authority created by the legislature in 2000. LCHIP's legislative mandate is to ensure the perpetual contribution of natural, cultural and historic resources to the economy, environment, and quality of life in New Hampshire. LCHIP does this by providing matching grants to New Hampshire communities and non-profits to conserve and preserve the state's most important natural, cultural and historic resources. The program has provided 499 grants which have helped to conserve approximately 294,000 acres of land for food production, water quality, ecological values, timber management and recreation and supported 301 projects to rehabilitate 286 historic structures and sites. Grants have been awarded in all parts of the state and in 176 of New Hampshire's 234 communities. Fifty million dollars of state money have led to a total project value of more than $289 million. The money for LCHIP grants comes from fees on four documents recorded at the Registry of Deeds in every county of the state.

For more information about LCHIP, visit LCHIP.org or call 224-4113.

About The New Hampshire DES ARM Fund

The ARM Fund Program supports wetland and stream preservation and restoration projects across the state, by giving wetlands permit applicants the option to contribute payments to this fund in lieu of more costly or time consuming mitigation alternatives. The ARM Fund Program has been a successful option for permit applicants and has resulted in the funding of many significant wetland and stream preservation and restoration projects across the state. Since 2006, the ARM Fund has awarded grant money to 106 projects that include preservation and habitat restoration, as well as stream passage improvement projects. These projects have resulted in approximately 24,000 acres of land conservation, 100 acres of restoration, protection of 300 vernal pools, and 50 miles of stream passage improvements.

About Mahoosuc Land Trust

Mahoosuc Land Trust is a nationally accredited land trust founded in 1989. It operates in both western Maine and northern NH and has conserved 8,600 acres of land including First Mountain and Crow Mountain Farm in Shelburne, NH.

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