The Conservation Commission voted 7-0 to recommend the Town Manager approve a memorandum of understanding with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department for habitat management of town-owned parcels to enhance rare and endangered species.
Based on the agreement recommended Tuesday night, April 28, the Town would allow Fish and Game unrestricted access to town-owned parcels to monitor endangered wildlife and would provide support for the project.
A draft of the memorandum was presented at the Commission’s March 24 meeting, at which Commissioner Mike Speltz asked that language be added to the memorandum stating the Commission will work with Fish and Game to secure funding for the projects and implement a plan, but that the Town will not be responsible for funding any projects with town resources.
The revised memorandum, as accepted, states “the Town is not obligated to provide funding from municipal resources.”
Speltz told the Commission the memorandum also features additional language that says Fish and Game will provide for management of habitat and request approval for any substantial improvements; and the Town will inform Fish and Game if activities on conservation parcels may impact their habitat management efforts.
“If they think we’re doing something that is going to mess up their work, they can let us know; and we can let them know if their work will interfere with our activities,” Speltz said.
With three properties Fish and Game is considering for habitat management located behind the schools in the center of town, Speltz told the Commission he is trying to arrange a meeting between Fish and Game and the Londonderry School District.
“They have agreed to add a signature box (to the memorandum of understanding) for the School District,” he said, noting the memorandum of agreement still must be reviewed by the Town Attorney, as well as the School District and the School District’s attorney.
Fish and Game’s attorney has approved the memorandum.
Additionally, Speltz said the Commission will have a chance to provide input after Fish and Game determines where it plans to complete habitat work within conservation properties identified for the project.
Member Mike Considine expressed concern that areas identified in the Musquash for clearing to create habitat for New England cottontail will become target shooting ranges by opening up more land.
“Fish and Game shares with us a responsibility to monitor target shooting,” Speltz said.
“I’m not sure there’s much they can do about what’s going on there right now,” Considine said.
“This doesn’t commit us to a time frame, only to the concept of doing it,” Speltz said of the memorandum.
Several members agreed that whether or not the clearing can be completed this fall will likely be dependent upon the town’s managing target shooting in the Musquash.