To The Daily Sun,
We respect the difficult task before the Belknap County Delegation as it reviews the 2017 County Budget. It is with this consideration that we ask the delegation to support funding for the Belknap County Conservation District (BCCD). For every $1 contributed by the county, the district provides $12.50 in products and services.
BCCD has a 70-year history of contributing to Belknap County's economy by helping communities and land owners who request assistance in taking care of soil, water and related natural resources. We accomplish this by responding to information requests, providing technical advice, assisting with on-the-ground projects, grant writing, conservation demonstrations, workshops and coordination with local, state and national conservation organizations.
Like all other New Hampshire Counties, Belknap County has designated funds for its Conservation District for decades. This work is worthy of continued county investment.
BCCD's 2016 accomplishments include:
— 1,700 County residents received assistance from BCCD.
— 92 volunteers donated a total of 1382 hours, equal to $31,883.
— 202 acres improved through conservation measures.
— 5,800 pounds of fruit and vegetables gleaned from farms and gardens donated to people in need, (value $23,200).
— $80,033 new grants for conservation at county-owned Gunstock Recreation Area and Gunstock Brook.
— Two public meetings on groundwater and aquifer protection for Alton, Belmont, Tilton, and Northfield.
Conservation Districts are charged with protecting soil, water and agricultural land under N.H. state law (RSA 432:12). This includes assisting in watershed protection, flood prevention, erosion control and resource conservation, creating conservation demonstration projects,and assisting landowners and government. BCCD and other New Hampshire Conservation Districts are set up to coordinate state and national conservation programs at the local level. We are a governmental entity with a volunteer board and one employee that supports the county.
2017 BCCD Initiatives include:
• Gunstock Area - Forest Plan revision focused on forest health and habitat needs, a Stream Restoration Strategy to improve fish habitat and repair of one-quarter mile handicapped accessible wetlands boardwalk.
• Stream bank stabilization on Gunstock Brook to reduce erosion, and protect a bridge and water quality.
• Benefit Concert for Belknap County's Gleaning Program is set for Saturday, March 11, at the New Hampton School's Mc Evoy Theater at 7 p.m.
• Spring tree and shrub sale to provide fruit and conservation plants to local landowners.
To continue to provide the level of service County residents rely upon, BCCD needs County support in addition to our grants and fund-raising efforts. We believe that our conservation work is a wise investment in the County's future.
Belknap County Conservation District Board of Supervisors
Donna Hepp, Chair – Belmont
John Hodsdon - Meredith
Dean Anson – Laconia
Ken Kettenring – New Hampton
Earl Chase – Barnstead
Aaron Lichtenberg – Alton – Associate Supervisor
Gary Maheu – Laconia - Associate Supervisor