Saving wetlands, removing dams -- an ongoing theme: CLF in New Hampshire is ...

Author:Girard, Nancy L.
Position:From The States

Preventing Sprawl; Protecting Wetlands and Wildlife Habitat

In the Spring of 1999, a group called Citizens Against the Troy Bypass (CATB) approached CLF and asked for help in opposing a controversial, 3.2 mile bypass of Troy, NH. More than two years later, following an exhaustive project review by the NH Department of Environmental Services' Wetlands Bureau, the project may have been dealt a death blow.

CLF worked with CATB at organizing a public meeting to educate members of the. community about impacts that would result from the project, to gauge community concerns, and to convey those concerns to public officials. We then engaged in an aggressive advocacy effort to oppose the issuance of a wetlands permit for the project by the Wetlands Bureau. Participating at the bureau's public hearing, and providing numerous written comments for its consideration, CLF repeatedly urged that the Department of Transportation's request for the wetlands permit be denied, because of its substantial environmental impacts, and because traffic data failed to support any need for the project.

Consistent with CLF's position, the Wetlands Bureau recently denied the permit; without it, the bypass cannot be constructed. In its decision, the bureau cited the many concerns which CLF had expressed, including the fact that the bypass, if constructed, would have destroyed seven acres of valuable wetlands and 94 acres of wildlife habitat, and would have indirectly impacted an additional 450 acres of habitat in an area used by bear, moose, bobcat, deer, otter, mink and forest-interior bird species. The bureau's decision sends a clear message that even public projects will be held to the State's permitting standards, and it adds considerable legitimacy to the wetlands permitting process.

This case meets CLF's goals of helping to preserve New England's communities and natural environment, by preventing the unnecessary consumption and fragmentation of wetlands and other open spaces, and by preventing the sprawl development which so often results from new roads.

Standing up for 30 Acres of Keene Wetland

CLF has filed an appeal in Superior Court, challenging a wetlands permit issued to the NH Department of Transportation for a $66 million highway expansion project in Keene. According to the permit, the Department of Transportation (DOT) will be allowed to fill nearly 30 acres of wetlands -- most of them with important wildlife habitat and other valuable functions -- as part...

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