Conservation Lands (Focus)

How much of the Conservation Focus Areas in the Piscataqua Region are permanently conserved or considered conserved public lands?

In 2017, 34.4% of Conservation Focus Areas (CFAs) in New Hampshire and 14.2% of CFAs in Maine were conserved. This represents a combined impact of 40.9% of progress towards the PREP goal of conserving 75% of all total acres in the CFAs. Given the challenges associated with conserving these important lands, the goal of conserving 75% (or 124,659 acres) of these core focus areas in both ME and NH by 2025 will take significant additional effort to achieve.

The Piscataqua Region is home to exceptional, unfragmented natural areas and corridors supporting important wildlife populations, water filtration capacity and storm buffering. Due to the infrastructure and growth pressures in our region, there is limited time to protect these areas in order to ensure they will continue to provide benefits for future generations.
Conserve 75% (124,659 acres) of lands identified as conservation focus areas by 2025.
The Land Conservation Plan for New Hampshire’s Coastal Watersheds58 and The Land Conservation Plan for Maine’s Piscataqua Region Watersheds59 are two science-based regional conservation master plans developed by a range of municipal, regional, and technical partners to guide conservation efforts throughout the region. The plans identify 90 CFAs that have high conservation values associated with them (such as rare habitat for threatened or endangered species). Of the 166,212 acres that fall within these designated CFAs, a total of 51,062 acres, have been permanently protected (40.9% of progress towards the PREP goal of 124,659 acres). That represents an increase of 3.7% since 2011 or 5,197 new conserved acres, with the majority of these increases being in NH. There are a few notable areas where gains have been significant (over 50% increases since 2011), including the Winnicut River, Isinglass River, Kennard Hill and Birch Hill Lowlands. There are 16 CFAs where 50% or more of the acres have been protected (see Figure 18.1). CFAs where 70% or more have been protected include the Upper and Middle Winnicut, Creek Pond Marsh, Lower Lubberland Creek, Exeter River, Fabyan Phoint, and Laroche and Woodman Brooks. Continued, focused efforts are needed to meet the goal in protecting 75% of these CFAs by 2025.

Figure 18.1 Percent of each Conservation Focus Area in the Piscataqua Region conserved.