View from a plane looking out over an estuary in the background with trees just starting to show fall colors in the foreground.
In The Clouds Fall touches the trees around the Great Bay Estuary in southeastern New Hampshire. © Eric Aldrich/TNC

Stories in New Hampshire

Connect The Coast

Ensuring wildlife the room to roam across New Hampshire’s Coastal Watershed.

This story is about connections. With the right ones, wildlife, water, nature and people can move where they need to go. In New Hampshire’s coastal watershed, new connections are everywhere: The widening of Route 16 and the General Sullivan Bridge to accommodate the ever-growing number of people needing to get from here to there is just one example. 

But as human demands on our resources increase, how do we ensure the wildlife that also call the seacoast home have the connections they need to get from place to place to find food, shelter and mates? The Nature Conservancy has worked closely with partners from Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine to identify the connections between those dots (and ultimately conserve them!) through the recently completed Connect The Coast project.

From Protection to Sustainabilty

A tremendous amount of land protection has occurred across this region over the years, with more than 83,000 acres conserved across 42 towns in the coastal watershed by many conservation organizations, including TNC. These efforts have resulted in large contiguous areas of conservation lands throughout the seacoast that provide critical habitat for many of the wildlife species that live here.

A bobcat walks through leafy green woods.
Bobcat A bobcat is caught on a trail camera in the woods of Lubberland Creek Preserve. © Pete Steckler/TNC

However, there is a real threat that these conserved areas could become islands, isolated from one another. That’s because development and population growth are on the rise, and our transportation network continues to expand and fragment the landscape. The connections between these protected places are essential to support the longterm sustainability of healthy wildlife populations, especially as we face a changing climate and additional habitat loss.

A tidal stream flows freely under a road crossing.
Water flows out of a metal pipe into a stream.
Restricting to Releasing The original culvert under Bay Road in Newmarket, New Hampshire was perched and undersized, restricting tidal flow and the movement of aquatic species and other wildlife. The new culvert allows for Lubberland Creek to flow freely with the tide, for fish to move up and downstream as they please, and for wildlife to safely cross under the road. © Pete Steckler and Joanne Glode/TNC

Where are the places that need protecting in order to enable wildlife like bobcat, fisher, mink and Blanding’s turtles to keep roaming to meet their needs? Connect The Coast is our call to action to inform and inspire conservation decision-making.

A Call to Action

The new report:

  • Identifies a network of lands prioritized for maintaining habitat connections throughout and beyond New Hampshire's seacoast region for a wide variety of wildlife.
  • Highlights opportunities to improve safe passage for both people and wildlife at the intersection of roads and wildlife corridors.
  • Provides stakeholders with the tools they need to take action in their communities.
A painted turtle climbs up rocks.
Painted Turtle The painted turtle is most commonly found in and around slow-moving bodies of water. © Chris Helzer/TNC

Connect The Coast provides valuable data to help TNC and our partners concentrate efforts and resources on the best opportunities to maintain and enhance connections that support wildlife movement throughout the coastal watershed and beyond. The result: We all make our connections!

This is just one of the many innovative projects being made possible through The Future of Nature, our campaign to raise and invest $40 million to put New Hampshire on the sustainable path for our climate, water and people.

Cover of the Connect the Coast Report.

Connect The Coast: The Full Report

The Connect the Coast report is available now.

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