Richard Cook, NHFG: (603) 271-1133
Ann Simonelli, The Conservation Fund: (703) 908-5809
Shelley Dibona, US Fish and Wildlife Service: (413)253-8509
Jim Martin, NHDES: (603) 271-3710
Dijit Taylor, LCHIP: (603) 224-4113
March 5, 2019
CONCORD, NH – With facilitating support from The Conservation Fund, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department (NHFG) purchased approximately 3,181 acres of land in Newport, Croydon, and Grantham earlier this week. The expanse will be known as the William B. Ruger Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and was acquired to protect its outstanding wildlife and water resources and to provide the public with recreational opportunities such as hunting, fishing, hiking, and nature study.
The WMA is divided into two separate parcels. While they do not abut, they are situated close to one another in the watershed of the North Branch of the Sugar River, a tributary of the Connecticut River.
Parcel one, known as Ruger WMA South, is comprised of 1,905 acres located in the towns of Newport and Croydon, and has over 143 acres of diverse wetlands including over 40 acres of emergent marsh and 19 acres of peatland. The property contains nearly seven miles of streams including 2.8 miles of coldwater stream. Present are also a 20-acre field and a power line corridor that adds to the diversity of the habitats on the parcel.
Parcel two, known as Ruger WMA North, is a tract of 1,276 acres located in the towns of Croydon and Grantham. Ash Swamp Brook and its tributaries run through the property, and there are approximately 113 wetland acres including 59 acres of northern swamp and 83 acres of wet meadow and shrub wetlands. The largest wetland on the property is a 50-acre alder swamp containing several areas of open water.
“The protection of this property was very important because it includes a range of differing types of habitat that can support a diversity of wildlife species,” explained Fish and Game Executive Director Glenn Normandeau. “A property of this size affords the opportunity to improve habitats through field and forest management that will have tremendous benefits to local wildlife populations.”
With a total project cost of $3.4 million, the partners used a combination of funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Wildlife Restoration (Pittman-Robertson) grant program, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Service’s (NHDES) Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund, the NH Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP), and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Wildlife Habitat Account.
“By conserving this land and enabling the state to establish the William B. Ruger WMA, we are creating new opportunities for public access and, as a result, supporting the economies and community vitality of the surrounding towns,” said Sally Manikian, The Conservation Fund’s Vermont and New Hampshire Representative. “We appreciate the foresight and commitment of the Ruger family to see this landscape protected in perpetuity.”
“Land conservation is critical in New Hampshire, providing protections to our environment, wildlife and natural resources, and helping to support our outdoor recreation economy. That’s why this partnership between the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and The Conservation Fund to invest in conservation efforts in Sullivan County is such welcome news,” said U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen. “I’ve worked across the aisle to prioritize land conservation legislation in Congress and will continue to do so to help support local initiatives like this in western New Hampshire, and throughout the entire state.”
“I am thrilled that the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and The Conservation Fund worked together in order to conserve these new areas of land, taking an important step forward in our efforts to protect our beautiful natural resources that define us as a state,” U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan said. “Conservation efforts like these are not only important to our environment, but also to the vitality of communities in the Towns of Newport, Croydon, and Grantham. I look forward to continue supporting public-private partnerships that help make our state stronger.”
“In New Hampshire, we are lucky to enjoy incredible natural landscapes and wildlife that make our state a fantastic place to live and visit,” said U.S. Congresswoman Ann Kuster. “I’m excited The Conservation Fund and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department joined forces to create the William B. Ruger Wildlife Management Area and preserve this spectacular land. Thanks to their efforts, future generations of Granite Staters and tourists will be able to enjoy all that New Hampshire has to offer.”
Of their contribution to the project, the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program’s Executive Director Dijit Taylor stated, “LCHIP is delighted to contribute to the conservation of these large parcels, land that will now be available to the public forever for a wide array of outdoor recreation activities, including hunting and fishing.”
“I am pleased that funding from the NHDES Aquatic Resource Mitigation program was able to assist in conserving this outstanding property. Projects such as these that protect aquatic resources, water supply areas and high-quality wildlife habitat demonstrate the effectiveness of the ARM Fund,” said Robert Scott, NHDES Commissioner.
“Through the Wildlife Restoration grant program, we are able to work with partners to support crucial projects like the William B. Ruger Wildlife Management Area,” said Colleen Sculley, Regional Chief of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. “These crucial grant funds come from excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment and directly support enhancing and expanding public access and conservation. The acquisition and protection of these lands highlights the important role hunters, anglers, and boaters play in the conservation of fish and wildlife in this country.”
To learn more, visit NHFG at wildlife.state.nh.us, The Conservation Fund at www.conservationfund.org, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at www.fws.gov, the NH Department of Environmental Services at www.des.nh.gov, and LCHIP at www.lchip.org.