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LCHIP funds Proctor land conservation

  • Lyndeborough Conservation Commission Chair Sharon Akers and Piscataquog Land Conservancy Land Protection Specialist Tom Jones explore the soon-to-be conserved Proctor Trust lands, which includes stretches of the Piscataquog and Cold Brooks. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Lyndeborough Conservation Commission Chair Sharon Akers and Piscataquog Land Conservancy Land Protection Specialist Tom Jones explore the soon-to-be conserved Proctor Trust lands, which includes stretches of the Piscataquog and Cold Brooks. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Lyndeborough Conservation Commission Chair Sharon Akers and Piscataquog Land Conservancy Land Protection Specialist Tom Jones explore the soon-to-be conserved Proctor Trust lands, which includes stretches of the Piscataquog and Cold Brooks. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • Lyndeborough Conservation Commission Chair Sharon Akers explores the soon-to-be conserved Proctor Trust lands, which includes stretches of the Piscataquog and Cold Brooks. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • Lyndeborough Conservation Commission Chair Sharon Akers and Piscataquog Land Conservancy Land Protection Specialist Tom Jones explore the soon-to-be conserved Proctor Trust lands, which includes stretches of the Piscataquog and Cold Brooks. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Lyndeborough Conservation Commission Chair Sharon Akers and Piscataquog Land Conservancy Land Protection Specialist Tom Jones explore the soon-to-be conserved Proctor Trust lands, which includes stretches of the Piscataquog and Cold Brooks. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Lyndeborough Conservation Commission Chair Sharon Akers and Piscataquog Land Conservancy Land Protection Specialist Tom Jones explore the soon-to-be conserved Proctor Trust lands, which includes stretches of the Piscataquog and Cold Brooks. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Lyndeborough Conservation Commission Chair Sharon Akers and Piscataquog Land Conservancy Land Protection Specialist Tom Jones explore the soon-to-be conserved Proctor Trust lands, which includes stretches of the Piscataquog and Cold Brooks. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Lyndeborough Conservation Commission Chair Sharon Akers and Piscataquog Land Conservancy Land Protection Specialist Tom Jones explore the soon-to-be conserved Proctor Trust lands, which includes stretches of the Piscataquog and Cold Brooks. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Lyndeborough Conservation Commission Chair Sharon Akers and Piscataquog Land Conservancy Land Protection Specialist Tom Jones explore the soon-to-be conserved Proctor Trust lands, which includes stretches of the Piscataquog and Cold Brooks. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Lyndeborough Conservation Commission Chair Sharon Akers and Piscataquog Land Conservancy Land Protection Specialist Tom Jones explore the soon-to-be conserved Proctor Trust lands, which includes stretches of the Piscataquog and Cold Brooks. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Lyndeborough Conservation Commission Chair Sharon Akers and Piscataquog Land Conservancy Land Protection Specialist Tom Jones explore the soon-to-be conserved Proctor Trust lands, which includes stretches of the Piscataquog and Cold Brooks. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Lyndeborough Conservation Commission Chair Sharon Akers and Piscataquog Land Conservancy Land Protection Specialist Tom Jones explore the soon-to-be conserved Proctor Trust lands, which includes stretches of the Piscataquog and Cold Brooks. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Lyndeborough Conservation Commission Chair Sharon Akers and Piscataquog Land Conservancy Land Protection Specialist Tom Jones explore the soon-to-be conserved Proctor Trust lands, which includes stretches of the Piscataquog and Cold Brooks. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, December 11, 2017 5:37PM

Sharon Akers hops gingerly from a patch of rocks to the mossy shore across the Scataquog Brook. Protected by sturdy black rubber boots nearly to his knees, Tom Jones takes a more direct route across.

“See where the land takes that sharp turn up?” Jones, a land protection specialist with the Piscataquog Land Conservancy. “That’s a glacial esker.”

Eskers are often winding ridges, casts left over from ice tunnels in ancient glaciers. 

But while an unusual feature, it’s not the esker that interested the PLC in purchasing the land Jones and Akers stand on. It’s the brook, bubbling next to their feet.

The woods that make up the lands held by the Proctor Trust make excellent habitat for wildlife – connecting to other large conserved lands and extending that corridor. But it is the habitat provided by the water running through it that makes the land particularly special.

“The Scataquog Brook has a population of brook trout, which is highly valued by a lot of people, both for fishing and as an indicator of clean, healthy water,” said John Magee, a fish habitat biologist for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, which is contributing funds to help preserve the lands.

When Akers, the chair of the Lyndeborough Conservation Commission, first learned that the two parcels, one about 40 acres and the other about 70, were for sale, she knew it would be a special opportunity to protect that waterway and the connecting Cold Brook. But the Conservation Commission didn’t have enough funds to purchase the land, and looked to the Piscataquog Land Conservancy to make the purchase and hold permanent easements on the property. 

The Piscataquog Land Conservancy, a preservation organization in New Boston, is currently working toward a $296,000 goal to preserve two separate parcels, both owned by the Proctor Trust, in order to ensure that sections of Cold Brook and its tributary Scataquog Brook remain undisturbed. 

This week, they received nearly half of the money they need – $147,950 – from the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, or LCHIP. That grant, along with other sources of funding, has put them within reach of their goal.

"Getting our full, requested amount from LCHIP, it means we'll really be able to pull off this whole project," said Chris Wells, director of the Piscataquog Land Conservancy. "Without it, we were not at all sure that we would be able to pull it together, and we might have been forced to let one of the two parcels go."

The money is added to a pot that includes $50,000 from Lyndeborough, $3,000 raised at the annual Rose Mountain Rumble bike ride, $24,000 from a Moose Plate grant, $30,000 from New Hampshire Fish and Game, $20,000 from the Merrimack Conservation Partnership and $10,000 from private foundations. Which leaves about $11,000 to go – a reachable goal.

The PLC has already arranged the purchase of the smaller of the two properties, a deal which should be closed by the end of the month, said Wells. That’s a key part of this project, because it’s the smaller parcel that has the Scataquog and it’s population of fish.

The brook contains wild brook trout, which Magee said are fairly common in New Hampshire, particularly in elevated areas where the water remains colder, but are less common in areas south and east of Concord.

And the Scataquog Brook has another, even less common fish species that makes it valuable to Fish and Game: The slimy sculpin. 

“It’s an awful name,” admitted Magee.

But it’s an important fish, because they are a good indicator species that rarely thrive in acidic waters. They’re another indicator of the quality of the water in the Scataquog Brook. 

The slimy sculpin has also been found in Cold Brook, with the Scataquog Brook feeds into, at least near where the two streams meet. But despite its name, Cold Brook isn’t cold enough for a population of brook trout.

But that’s something that the PLC may be able to change, with how they treat the forest on the brook’s shoreline. 

“We’ll try to revegetate to get the canopy over that brook,” said Wells. 

That’s key to encouraging a trout population for two reasons, said Magee – one, it provides shade for the brook, which can lower the water temperature to something that the trout can live in, and two, it provides an important food source by creating an insect and spider population over the brook, which Magee called “an enormously important part” of the brook trout diet. 

The vegetation over Cold Brook has been thinned in some areas by logging, said Akers. 

“Which is one reason it’s important to preserve this section,” said Akers. “It’s a beautiful brook. For me, as a Lyndeborough resident, it’s a wonderful resource, relatively pristine. Just for it to be kept that way seems important for the rural character of the town, maintaining the water quality in Lyndeborough and the preservation of wild life.”