Conserving rural character, family traditions, and local businesses
Located on the Salmon Falls River, the 160-acre Gauthier’s Farm in Rochester is the top conservation priority of the City of Rochester’s Conservation Commission. The farm is a priority for SELT and the City for many reasons, including its 1.4 miles of shoreline on the Salmon Falls River, its diverse wildlife habitat, and that it is a working farm that supports local businesses. Gauthier’s Farm offers vegetables, meats, eggs, maple syrup, hard cider, and other products. In fact, it is the home of Stump City Cider. The farm also lies across the river from 185 acres of land conserved by the Great Works Regional Land Trust, helping build a block of conserved land on this critical river, one of the country’s most at risk due to development and sprawl. On top of all of this, the land is also open to the public for outdoor recreation and public access.
SELT is partnering with the City and the Gauthier family to conserve this working family farm. As of February 23rd 2017, the Rochester City Council is considering the expenditure of up to $229,000 in funds from the Conservation Fund and general fund to acquire a conservation easement on Gauthier’s Farm. Rochester’s funds, if authorized, would match $200,000 secured through the Coastal Watershed Regional Conservation Partnership (RCP), a collaborative effort of the US Natural Resources Conservation Service, the NH Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, SELT, and the Rockingham and Strafford County Conservation Districts, and approximately $30,000 in private funds committed by Jane’s Trust. The RCP focuses on improving the water quality of Great Bay through 1) conserving farmland, 2) restoring oyster reefs in the bay, and 3) implementing best management practices on farmland throughout the watershed.
What you can do to help
If you live in Rochester, call your City Councilor or email the entire City Council to express your support for the project and urge them to vote on the proposed easement and City expenditure as soon as possible. Thank you!