SELT Secures $1.6 million from USDA to Protect Wetlands and Critical Habitat
SELT wrote a winning proposal to the U.S. Department of Agriculture which awarded $1.6 million to protect important wetland systems and critical habitat in Southeastern New Hampshire. SELT will manage these funds to protect habitat for the state-endangered Blanding’s turtle and the New England cottontail as well as critical wetland systems in the Salmon Falls and Merrimack watersheds.
This grant will help SELT protect approximately 500 acres of wetlands, floodplains, riparian areas and forests, through the purchase of wetlands conversation easements. SELT will have through 2018 to complete the easement acquisitions and until 2020 to complete the restoration activities. Restoration will be funded by National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) with funds outside of the $1.6 million.
The money will help SELT proactively work with landowners on conservation projects with a secure funding source, instead of having to raise money and target one project at a time.
“This money will help us protect two of the most threatened watersheds in the country according to a recent report by the U.S. Forest Service,” said Duane Hyde SELT’s Land Conservation Director.
SELT’s project was one of ten projects selected across the United States by the USDA which awarded $49 million to improve critical wetlands in 12 states. The grants come from the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, which is part of the federal farm bill.
As part of the USDA funding, SELT has committed to raising matching funds totaling $400,000.
For more details about the federal program, click here.