09-13 OUTDOORS WW helical pile installation2.jpg

WW helical pile installation. (Courtesy photo)

GILFORD — The Belknap County Conservation District reported 2019 as a banner year.

Recent successes include $229,114 in major grants for conservation projects, 110 volunteers contributing time valued at $55,946, seven workshops and an upcoming Stream Restoration Conference on Oct. 17 at Gunstock Mountain Resort, and a statewide meeting of New Hampshire Association of Conservation Districts scheduled for Oct. 18 at The Margate in Laconia.

“Our Conservation District is making great strides, improving streams, fish and wildlife habitat and getting surplus produce from farmers to people in need," said Donna Hepp, the organization's chair. "It is amazing what we're able to accomplish with a one-person staff, dedicated volunteers, and great partners.”

She continued, “This success would not have been possible without county support to help cover part of our administrative costs, where grants rarely help. The county also provides space for our office [and] storage shed, and county jail inmates assist on some projects.”

Conservation districts in the Lakes Region are working on a Stream Restoration Initiative to improve eastern brook trout habitat and reduce sediment and nutrients deposited into lakes. The goal is to improve 10 streams.

Recent projects on Poorfarm Brook and the Gunstock River in Gilford, and Allen Brook in Tamworth, were completed by working with local landowners who want to improve fishing and water quality.

The Stream Conference at Gunstock in October will offer information for towns and landowners about practices that can improve water quality and fish habitat on their property and in local streams and lakes.

The Oct. 18 meeting at The Margate will focus on local food networks.

Register for either or both events on Eventbrite, under 2019 Stream Conference-NHACD Meeting.

The Belknap and Carroll county conservation districts received a three-year, $192,764 New England Forest and Rivers grant for five stream restoration projects, in Sanbornton, Meredith, Alton, Eaton, and Conway. The grant will allow the conservation districts to work with local towns and willing landowners to improve water quality and habitat for eastern brook trout.

The Belknap County Conservation District completed a 2.2-mile stream restoration project in Gunstock River above Hoyt Road bridge in Gilford with a $37,750 New Hampshire Association of Conservation Districts demonstration grant and New Hampshire moose plate funds.

A $67,164 State Recreation Trail grant allowed the district to reconstruct sections of the Wetlands Walk, a quarter-mile boardwalk at Gunstock. Trail grant funds are matched by New England Forest and River Fund and moose plate grants. Work will be completed in mid-September.

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