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Grants support conservation of Great Meadow property

April 17, 2019
TUFTONBORO — Monday, April 8, was a banner day for conservation efforts in Tuftonboro. The Board of Selectmen held a public hearing on whether to accept two grants, totaling $149,000 – an Aquatic Resource Mitigation (ARM) Fund Grant from the Department of Environmental Services in the amount of $76,500 and a Land & Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) Grant in the amount of $72,500.

With no objections coming from the public, the board voted unanimously to accept the funds. Approximately 140 acres in the town's Great Meadow property will be purchased with these grants. Conservation Commission (CC) Chairman Steve Wingate, who has been involved with the acquisition of the Great Meadow property by the town and the development of easements on surrounding properties to expand protection of the parcel over the last few years, said that the two properties the CC currently has its eyes on are available for purchase only, not an easement. So the gift is particularly welcome.

"It's good to have undeveloped acres that surround the wetland," said Wingate, and "it rounds out the wildlife habitat."

In accepting these grants, the Town is obligated to carry through with the acquisitions and to have a second party hold a conservation easement. In this instance, said Wingate, the easement holder will be the Lakes Region Conservation Trust (LRCT). It will be responsible for yearly inspections. The closing is expected at the beginning of May. The town will own the property.

Wingate informed the selectmen that two new members of the CC, Laurel Podsen and Kathleen Murphy, are already active. Podsen will take on the well water testing program and will try to involve the school in disseminating information on the importance of the testing in protecting the health of residents, especially the younger population, which is most vulnerable.

Both Podsen and Murphy will offer a program on wildlife habitats, particularly bird habitats, in conjunction with Tuftonboro Central School's Earth Day activities on April 18.

He asked the selectmen if they wanted the CC to oversee the work of Normandeau Associates as they complete phases of the Base Line study on 19 Mile Brook as it did with the original study ten years ago. Newly elected Chairman Chip Albee said he was not familiar with the process, so would like the CC to sketch out how it would work. The purpose of the baseline study is to measure the impact of Wolfeboro's disposal of treated effluent in the 35 acre site adjacent to Tuftonboro on the water quality of 19 Mile Brook and nearby flora and fauna after ten years.

Garnet Hill
Martin Lord Osman
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