Merrimack County Conservation District
Visit the Merrimack County Co-Op Extension Service site here.
Merrimack County Conservation District (MCCD) is a non-regulatory public agency that works in partnership with USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to help land owners and users in Merrimack County manage their soil, water, forest and other natural resources. We serve residents, town officials, educators, members of non-profit organizations and others in the following New Hampshire towns:
MCCD’s Board of Supervisors has identified land development, soil erosion and nutrient management as top conservation priorities within Merrimack County. The District’s Business Plan and Annual Plan of Work reflect these concerns.
Merrimack County provides our primary funding. USDA NRCS provides office space and some supplies. District staff, Board of Supervisors and dedicated volunteers raise a significant amount of MCCD’s operating expenses via workshop fees and sale of conservation products.
Our individualized services are free or low cost and are provided at the request of the landowner. As we are a non-regulatory public agency, we neither discriminate nor regulate.
The MCCD Board of Supervisors hopes this report whets your interest in how District staff can help you make the most of your land, water, wildlife, forest, plants and other natural resources.
Please contact our office if you are interested in developing a conservation plan or would like to know more about any of our products or services.
The Merrimack County Conservation District is pleased to have been part of conservation efforts here in Merrimack County. The following information will help inform interested individuals of the District’s activities.
Thanks to continued primary support from Merrimack County and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)—supplemented by private and government grants, sales of conservation products and services and a cadre of dedicated volunteers—Merrimack County Conservation District was able to provide many services in 2004 to county landowners and users.
Partnerships: The Conservation District partners with and supports many organizations. Among these groups are Beginner Farmers of NH; NH Association of Conservation Districts; NH Department of Environmental Services and other state entities; Environmental Protection Agency; local conservation commissions within the county; Central NH Regional Planning; USDA Southern NH Resource Conservation & Development Council and USDA Farm Service Agency; and many other grassroots organizations.
These partnerships maximize use of tax dollars by avoiding wasteful duplication of services. In partnership with NRCS, the Conservation District provided services to approximately 4225 people and signed 21 individual federal grant contracts for agricultural assistance in the 2004 federal fiscal year.
Services ranged from provision of information to technical on-site assistance and included educational workshops, displays, a newsletter and other activities.
Annual Meeting: In May, the District held its 2003 Annual Meeting at Eagle Pond Lodge in Wilmot. Following a buffet dinner and brief business meeting , over twenty-five people enjoyed hearing NH native and ‘Storysmith’ Rebecca Rule recount her childhood and remember her friends through humorous tales. The Shaw family of Maple Shade Farm in Salisbury were named 2003 MCCD Cooperator’s of the Year.
Approximately 4225 people had contact with District staff at various events over the year. Typically, a themed display or activity served as a focal point to discuss the conservation needs of individual landowners and users. Staff also provided educational activities and handouts for children and their parents at each event.
Staff represented MCCD at events such as NH Farm to School Day, NH Fish & Game Discover Wild NH Day, Farm & Forest Expo, and assisted in a joint NRCS Earth Team and the UNH Cooperative Extension Community Tree Stewards with and eleven week natural resource training program . The Soil Tunnel, managed by MCCD, was used at many of these events. This three dimensional tool allows children and adults an illustrated idea of what might be going on under their feet at any given time.
In August, MCCD hosted speakers from NH DES, Apple Hill Orchard and NRCS for its Pond Clinic held at Apple Hill Orchard in Concord. Over sixty attendees listened to presenters and received handouts, permit applications and refreshments at this two hour program. In November, MCCD hosted speakers from NRCS and UNH Cooperative Extension for a workshop on Forest Soils. Attendees received CEU’s for forestry and/or soil science.
Educational programming and its development continued to be a high priority for the District. Staff is working to develop programs and activities for school groups and homeschoolers.
MCCD and NRCS staff coordinated the NHACD Soil Judging Contest, statewide competition for high school students.
The Conservation District provided many free resources and services to the people of Merrimack County. These included dissemination of soils information, natural resource fact sheets, referrals to other organizations and agencies, and access to soil maps and aerial photographs.
The District strives to keep its services free or low cost. Nominal fees help defray cost of materials and staff time for some services and products. The District’s self-published handbook Pond Design, Installation & Maintenance; a Soil Health Log; Soil Potential Index (SPI) calculations for current use assessment; assistance with filling out wetland applications; USGS Topographic Maps and aerial photo scanning fall into this category. These fees are not intended to be major fundraisers.
Merrimack County provides core funding for MCCD. The remaining monies come from direct fundraising efforts of District staff and volunteers. The Conservation District continually reassesses its fundraising efforts. A successful fundraiser must not only produce income, but needs to be compatible with District priorities and mission.
For example, revenue from the sale of composting bins; flower bulbs; plants; and trout raise funds while furthering backyard conservation. The District held workshops to demonstrate how to maintain a backyard pond, optimize land usage and help improve agricultural profitability through wise management of nutrient resources.
Grants are another important avenue of support. They not only increase availability of direct services, they provide an indirect source of funding via administrative fees to the District. The District is currently developing a variety of grant proposals for projects related to agriculture.
The District continued to pursue its goal of increased visibility among Merrimack County residents. Staff continued to notify media outlets of MCCD activities and programs; met landowners and their families at several events; designed displays for those events; and continued to seek out avenues of communication to best address the needs of the county.
The Conservation District extends sincere thanks to our partners, funders and volunteers who support our efforts and provide daily encouragement. The most important people of all, of course, are the landowners and users of Merrimack County who use our services to conserve and improve our natural resources.
Stanley Grimes, Chairman (Pembroke),Terrance Frost, Vice-chair (Concord), Robert Larocque, Treasurer (Concord)*,Peter Blakeman (Sutton), Brenda Digilio (Sutton)
Todd Allen (Concord), Roger Charbonneau (Hooksett), Robert Drown, Jr. (Webster), Lee Grimes (Pembroke), Stefan Mattlage (Concord), Rep. Derek Owen (Hopkinton), E. Ann Poole (Concord)