Agreement Would Protect Robb Reservoir (NH)
Stoddard, New Hampshire, April 24, 2006: – The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit conservation organization, announced that it has reached an agreement to purchase 1,617 acres of land in Stoddard, known locally as the Robb Reservoir property. Conservation of this parcel has been a key priority for over ten years for local and state wide conservation groups and area residents. The property includes the Robb Reservoir, a portion of Rye Pond, and the headwaters of the North Branch of the Contoocook River, as well as surrounding land. Conservation of this property will provide a critical connection between several thousand acres of existing conserved land in the region.
The land acquisition, project costs, and stewardship costs of the Robb Reservoir project total $3.9 million. It is the top ranked priority for the New Hampshire Forest Legacy Program this year, and a request of $3 million has been included in the President’s FY07 budget through the Forest Legacy program for the purchase of a conservation easement at Robb Reservoir. The request awaits approval by Congress. With a collaboration of land conservation, education, and environmental partners, TPL will work to raise the remaining $900,000 amount from a variety of sources, including state and local grants, foundation support, and private donations.
For more information on the project of how to donate, download the PDFs attached at the bottom of this Web page.
Rodger Krussman, a project manager for TPL, said, “The Robb Reservoir parcel is located in a rapidly developing part of southwestern New Hampshire. Conservation of this property for its outstanding wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, connectivity to other conserved land, and sustainable timber management is important to the community. The Trust for Public Land is very pleased to be playing a role by holding this property off the market while permanent conservation is pursued.”
On Wednesday, May 10, the public is invited to hear more about the project at an informational forum at the Faulkner Elementary School, scheduled for 7:00 pm.
With extensive road frontage on Route 123 and two access points along Route 9, the property is within easy commuting distance to Keene and Concord. To date no development has taken place, but prior to TPL entering into a contract with the owners, the Robb Reservoir property was for sale on the open market, and an 80-unit housing development was proposed for the property in the recent past.
The Trust for Public Land has negotiated a purchase and sale agreement for the property, and may temporarily own it during the fundraising effort. TPL does not permanently own conservation land, but holds properties off the market, preventing development in order to allow sufficient time for local organizations and communities to assemble the necessary resources for permanent conservation.
In addition to its local significance, the project is important from a regional perspective. The project falls within the Quabbin-to-Cardigan (Q2C) conservation collaborative, a private/public effort to establish a continuous conservation corridor from the southern White Mountains of west-central NH to the Quabbin Reservoir, located in north-central MA. Q2C has identified the Robb Reservoir property as a critical target for protection due to its high ecological values and central location within this corridor.
The Robb Reservoir area also harbors several threatened and endangered species and natural communities, including three state-listed endangered species: the pied-billed grebe, bald eagle, and northern harrier; three state-threatened bird species: the common loon, osprey, and common nighthawk; one state species of special concern: the bobcat; and several state threatened plant species including the beautiful orchid known as the Arethusa bulbosa. In addition, three exemplary natural ecological communities (as identified by the New Hampshire Natural Heritage Program) are found in the vicinity, including Atlantic white cedar swamp, southern New England level bog, and southern New England acidic seepage swamp.
If the fundraising efforts are successful and the conservation project is completed, the land will be locally owned, while the New Hampshire Forest Legacy Program will hold a conservation easement over the land. The property will be managed in accordance with a long-term stewardship plan (as required by the Forest Legacy Program), with a primary focus on wildlife habitat protection, with public access for recreation, and limited sustainable timber management.
The Trust for Public Land, established in 1972, specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law to protect land for people to enjoy as parks, greenways, community gardens, urban playgrounds, and wilderness. TPL depends on the support of individuals, foundations, and corporations. In New Hampshire, TPL has protected more than 200,000 acres. For more information, visit TPL on the web at www.tpl.org.