LCHIP and Moose Plate Grants Will Help Protected Sprucewood Forest

December 4, 2012
Durham, New Hampshire

State grants totaling $155,000 to support the Oyster River Initiative have been awarded to The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire, adding momentum to a cooperative effort to conserve 211-acres along the Oyster River in Durham. The initiative consists of two projects, the 172-acre Sprucewood Forest and 39-acre Amber Acres Farm.

The state's Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) awarded the initiative $100,000, the largest award of this highly competitive grant round. The Oyster River Initiative also received $55,000 from the Moose Plate Program through separate awards of $35,000 to the Sprucewood Forest project and $20,000 to Amber Acres Farm.

The Oyster River Initiative is important not only for Durham but for the Great Bay region, and the state. Sprucewood Forest and Amber Acres Farm both lie within the Oyster River Core Focus Area, identified by the Land Conservation Plan for New Hampshire's Coastal Watershed as a top priority due to its ecological functioning and water quality protection.

"The Oyster River Initiative exemplifies many of the goals of LCHIP," noted Dijit Taylor, executive director of the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program. "The initiative demonstrated strong cooperation by two organizations, leveraged the state's limited funds many times over with private, municipal and federal funds, and, most importantly, protected critical resources at the heart of this program, such as the Oyster River, productive agricultural land, habitat for New England cottontail, and local outdoor recreational opportunities."

"We are pleased that our state grant partners continue to invest in New Hampshire's coastal region to help protect water quality, wildlife habitat and public access," said Rodger Krussman, the state director for The Trust for Public Land. "The Trust for Public Land is leading the effort to conserve Sprucewood Forest. These grant awards provide a big boost to the effort to conserve Sprucewood Forest and Amber Acres, but even with these grants, more than $564,000 is still needed to successfully complete the acquisition and protection of the Sprucewood Forest and Amber Acres Farm."

To date, more than 85% of the Oyster River Initiative's funding has been provided by the Town of Durham, state government, and federal agencies. To complete the initiative and protect these valuable lands, the Southeast Land Trust and Trust for Public Land must raise the remaining $564,000 through private gifts and pledges by December 31, 2012.

"Both the Amber Acres Farm and Sprucewood Forest properties were awarded grants by the Moose Plate Program due to their importance for protecting water quality, wildlife habitat, and agricultural lands," said Dea Brickner-Wood, administrator of the State Conservation Committee Conservation License Plate Grant Program (commonly known as the "Moose Plate").

"During what was undoubtedly the most competitive round for limited LCHIP and Moose Plate funds, these awards demonstrate the statewide significance of the Oyster River Initiative," explains Brian Hart, executive director of the Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire, who is leading the effort to conserve Amber Acres Farm. "We are really asking the public for its generous support to protect these vital places before they are lost forever."

About the Trust for Public Land
Founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land is the leading nonprofit working to conserve land for people. Operating from more than 40 offices nationwide, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than three million acres from the inner city to the wilderness and helped generate more than $34 billion in public funds for conservation. Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year.

About the Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire
The Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire works to conserve the significant land and natural resources of southeastern New Hampshire, including water, working farms and forests, wildlife habitat and natural areas, and community landscapes. Since 1980, the Southeast Land Trust has conserved more than 8,500 acres of land through conservation easements and ownerships. For more information, visit www.seltnh.org.