The significant land use change and growth seen in the RPC region has put increasing pressure on remaining natural spaces. The highest priorities identified in local master plans in the RPC region, include protecting natural resources for water quality protection, recreation, open space and wildlife.
A primary way of protecting spaces and resources for these purposes is protecting land from future development through easements, deed restrictions, or purchase. However, these methods can be costly. Other options to protect land is through land use regulations, voluntary protections, and land management planning. The later protection methods are generally lower in cost, but may not always fully protect land. Funds available for permanently protecting land from development can be scares. Generally, those lands that can help to protect several resources, including wildlife resources, habitat, prime agricultural soils, important water resources or recreational areas are most likely to receive such funding.
To assist in helping protect the most critical lands permanently two conservation plans, based on watershed boundaries, have been developed that prioritize areas most in need of protection. Both plans, linked below, cover the RPC region and have served as important resources in helping communities prioritize areas in need of protection.
Regional Land Conservation Plans
Land Conservation Plan for New Hampshire’s Coastal Watersheds (2006)
Total Protected Land Area in Municipality (Acres)*
*Conservation Lands figures are from the NH GRANIT database. This database includes parcels of land of two or more acres that are mostly undeveloped and are protected from future development. The data was developed from the records of the Society for the Protection of NH Forests (SPNHF), many of the state agencies, and original research from deeds and tax maps. The last update was completed in April of 2012. This data likely represents an under-representation of the actual total amount of land with easements, deed restrictions or other development protections.