James Oehler: (603) 271-0453
April 25, 2023

Areas conserved include diverse wetlands and woodlands at the 3,200-acre William B. Ruger Jr Wildlife Management Area in Grantham, Croydon, and Newport.

Concord, NH – With the help of $9.3 million in grants provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Wildlife Habitat Program has conserved 18 properties totaling some 12,000 acres over the past seven years. By conserving healthy lands and waters, the program not only helps to sustain our fish, wildlife, and plants, but also provides places for residents and visitors to enjoy diverse outdoor sporting traditions in the immediate and for future generations. Key advancements in conservation include:

  • The addition of thirteen new properties, totaling over 7,700 acres, which all became part of the Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) system
  • The creation of four entirely new WMAs and the expansion of nine others
  • The establishment of five new conservation easements totaling over 4,500 acres to protect private lands from development and to secure permanent public access
  • Three of the new conservation easement areas acquired exceed 1,000 acres in size
  • Protection of lands in eighteen different towns in different parts of the state

Federal grant money for this extensive investment in wildlife habitat was provided through the USFWS Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration (WSFR) Program with funding derived from manufacturer taxes on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment. These funds, collected and distributed under the Wildlife Restoration Program, have provided tens of millions of dollars for wildlife conservation in New Hampshire since the program began in the 1930s.

“The financial contributions of gun and archery manufacturers, and ultimately hunters and shooters, help to conserve native wildlife and the habitats they need to thrive,” said Randy Curtis, Fish and Game’s Federal Aid Coordinator. “They are critical for conserving and managing state lands that support diverse wildlife including iconic game species such as moose, whitetail deer, black bear, wild turkeys, and a variety of waterfowl.”

Wildlife Restoration Program funds can pay up to 75% of total project costs, but $3.1 million had to be raised to take advantage of the federal grants over the past seven years. Those matching funds came from a variety of sources including the appraised value of six properties donated to the Department that total 835 acres, as well as non-federal public funding and private donations brought to projects by partners such as the Nature Conservancy in New Hampshire, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, The Conservation Fund, and the Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire.

“Partnerships are critical to our success in conserving lands for the state’s wildlife and its citizens,” said Jim Oehler, Wildlife Habitat Program Supervisor. “With their help, we have been able to conserve nearly 90,000 acres total across the state—healthy wild landscapes that sustain our fish and wildlife and that are a vital component of New Hampshire’s character and way of life.”

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