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The endangered Blanding’s turtle. Credit Mike Marchand of NH Fish & Game.




NH Wildlife Action Plan talk

Where: In the downstairs theater room of Nashua Public Library, 2 Court St.
When: Wednesday, Jan. 20, 7 to 9 p.m.
Cost: Free and open to the public. No registration required.
Visit: nhaudubon.org or wildnh.com/nongame




Taking action
NH Fish & Game speaker discusses 10-year conservation plan

01/14/16
By Angie Sykeny asykeny@hippopress.com



 Find out about the current status of New Hampshire wildlife and what you can do to help protect it at New Hampshire  Audubon Nashaway Chapter’s monthly meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 20, from 7 to 9 p.m., at Nashua Public Library. Presenter John Kanter, supervisor of New Hampshire Fish & Game’s Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program, will discuss the newly updated New Hampshire Wildlife Action Plan — a 1,600-page document profiling the state’s 169 species of greatest conservation need, the 27 habitats that support them and 117 ways the public can participate in conservation efforts.

As of 2005, all states receiving federal funding for wildlife conservation are required to develop a wildlife action plan and update it every 10 years.
“We just completed our 10-year revision,” Kanter said. “So basically, I’ll be talking about what we set out to do when we developed the first plan in 2005, what we’ve accomplished, how we’re moving forward with the new information we have, what our priorities are now and where we’re going to focus our attention in the next 10 years.”
While New Hampshire Fish & Game spearheads the plan, its development is a statewide effort; UNH Cooperative Extension as well as many conservation organizations, land trusts, town conservation commissions and individuals all collaborate with New Hampshire  Fish & Game on the plan.
“We know not everything is going to be set aside for wildlife, so it’s more about [increasing] understanding of how we interact with the land,” Kanter said, “whether it’s through forestry or development of residential or commercial areas, and providing towns with assistance to help them protect the wildlife habitats and natural resources in their planning.”
Kanter will discuss the plan’s role in the significant progress that has been made toward the recovery of two New Hampshire endangered species. It was recently determined that the New England cottontail rabbit doesn’t need to be listed on the federal endangered species list due to promising conservation practices already in play. Karner blue butterflies, which are currently being raised in a lab, have grown to a population between 1,000 and 2,000, and Kanter says if growth continues at this rate, they will soon be self-sustaining again.
The presentation will also address several other species taking priority in the next 10 years, including the wood turtle and the Blanding’s turtle. The turtles, Kanter said, are especially susceptible to population decline because they can’t reproduce until around 14 to 20 years old and they face numerous threats like road mortality, habitat destruction or alteration, human collection and subsidized predators. 
So how can you help protect New Hampshire wildlife? Kanter will share several things you can do, such as making your backyard more habitable by planting some native shrubs or wildflowers for pollinators; reducing pollution by making eco-friendly lifestyle changes; and taking care not to disturb wild animals and their habitats when you’re out in nature. But one of the public’s most vital roles, he said, is reporting what they see.
“We have what’s called New Hampshire Wildlife Sightings [nhwildlifesightings.unh.edu] where people can go online and report their observations and sightings,” he said. “That gives us info on the species, where they are and how well they’re doing. Sometimes, that’s the only information we have to determine the health of various populations, so we really rely on the volunteers who do that.”  





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