Action Needed – A Campaign for NH’s Threatened and Endangered Species & To Save Our Wild Places For Generations!

October 26, 2020

Introduction

This campaign is to Save NH’s Threatened & Endangered Species (T&E) from development threats. We are working to keep RSA 212-A, NH’s Endangered Species Conservation Act (ESCA) strong. Our goal is to stop the NH Department of Environmental Services (DES) and the NH Fish & Game Department (F&G) from weakening NH’s laws and regulations.

Background:

November 2019        

– The NH Supreme Court decided against DES and F&G to not let development projects minimize harm to T&E. The existing standard, that the court ruled to stand, was to have no adverse impact.

December 2019         

– In reaction to the court’s decision that DES did not like, DES removed the wording “no adverse impact” in its regulations for developers, thereby weakening the protection for T&E. 

August 2020  

– DES with F&G held a Public Input Session to discuss possible changes to regulations. They want to consider “monetary mitigation” for harm done to T&E species. This would be like the wetlands program called Aquatic Resources Mitigation by which a permittee pays money into a fund for destroying wetlands. To create a T&E Monetary Mitigation Program and allow harm to T&E would require filing legislation to change the NH Endangered Species Conservation Act.

October 29, 2020      

– DES with F&G will hold a second (and possibly last) Public Input Session about changing the regulations and law for both DES and F&G. These agencies are planning to take action that may be quite harmful to T&E. That is why we must begin to Take Action Now to stop any attempt to weaken the law and regulations that presently protect T&E. We don’t have to attend this meeting, but we must comment.

Attention

It is highly likely that DES and F&G will seek to change regulations and file legislation to change the ESCA so that developers can continue to invade T&E habitat and buy their right to impact T&E species negatively. A preview of what DES and F&G want to do everywhere is already happening in the southeastern town of Atkinson. DES (with F&G’s okay) has agreed to receive a $30,000 payment from the developer into the Aquatic Resources Mitigation Program for a project that impacts the T&E habitat, a project rightfully and strongly opposed by the Atkinson Conservation Commission. Please follow the Action below so we can stop more of this from happening in NH!

ACTION NEEDED (no deadline)

Please contact DES and F&G with your thoughts and include any of the following points as you wish:

1– For the sake of T&E survival, these animals must be protected from direct and indirect harm. Therefore, the prohibition in the law that developments must not harm T&E must continue and be enforced. We oppose weakening the NH Endangered Species Conservation Act to exempt developments.

2 – The health of T&E populations must not be for sale to developers. Do not weaken the NH Endangered Species Conservation Act to allow payment for harm. Agencies need to say NO to harming T&E species. Monetary mitigation is a disgusting scheme for developers.

3 – When development projects cannot be designed to do any harm to T&E, then they must not happen. Harmful projects are a matter of life or death for NH’s wildlife species.

4 – As the state agency in charge of the recovery of T&E species, F&G should be the leader to strengthen, not weaken, the ESCA. The law should be improved by the inclusion of the State’s Wildlife Action Plan (WAP) so that the WAP can serve as the official blueprint required to be followed by all state agencies to help with the conservation of T&E species.

Please Send Your Email

Send one email to both DES and F&G and remember to sign with your full name and address. Suggested Subject Line of your email – Do Not Weaken T&E laws and regulations.

Email to:

THOMAS.O’DONOVAN@DES.NH.GOV   [Dear Director Donovan]Thomas O’Donovan is the Director of the Water Division at NH Department of Environmental Services

Email to:       

Mark.Ellingwood@wildlife.nh.gov [Dear Chief of Wildlife Ellingwood] Mark Ellingwood is the Chief of the Wildlife Division at NH Fish & Game

“Thank you” for helping the wild animals of NH!

Please contact animalfriendlysolutions@comcast.net or 603 673 7389 for questions or comments.

Discussion for further information.

*The NH Endangered Species Conservation Act currently states that T&E are to be afforded such protections to maintain and enhance their population sizes. How can T&E species thrive when survival is placed second to development?

*NH’s T&E wildlife species are already in trouble – “imperiled,” meaning that they are at risk of being absent from NH in the future. NH must take the right steps now to save them, and one of those is to prevent developments from harming T&E species.

*Unfortunately for T&E, DES aims to approve as many development projects as possible even when the projects are in T&E habitat. Although the harm to T&E would be “minimized,” the effects on T&E survival would be negative, contrary to the purpose of the ESCA, which is to help T&E maintain and increase their population sizes.

*DES and F&G are allowing direct harm, such as removing animals, and indirect harm, such as blocking access to their habitat, to occur to T&E by approving development permits. These permits are causing loss and fragmentation to necessary wildlife habitat.

*The “monetary mitigation” scheme is an ultimate betrayal that would allow developers to buy rights to harm T&E. This is biologically unsustainable.

Threatened Blanding Turtle
NH’s Endangered Blanding’s Turtle