by Laura Deming
NH Audubon’s Conservation Department has a long history of providing contracted services to state and federal agencies, municipalities, corporations, and individuals in need of ornithological and natural resource information.
Department biologists are experienced in standard ornithological field techniques for inventory and monitoring, including point counts, broadcast surveys, and spot-mapping, and are prepared to design and implement surveys for all New Hampshire habitat types and species groups. NH Audubon houses the most complete existing collection of historical data on New Hampshire birds, and biologists provide interpretive summaries for species, species groups, or geographic areas of interest.
Department Biologists are experienced with surveying a variety of wildlife and habitats using appropriate techniques. These include insect surveys, reptile and amphibian surveys, wildlife habitat assessments, vegetation assessments, and natural resource inventories.
NH Audubon’s Conservation Department staff has broad technical expertise in monitoring and management of various birds of prey, especially for those raptors currently or formerly on the NH State Threatened and Endangered Wildlife List. We offer advisory services and field solutions that are designed to promote successful habitat occupancy by raptors while minimizing the potential for wildlife-landowner conflicts.
Some examples include:
A Wildlife Habitat and Natural Resource Protection Assessment is a review of a town’s Master Plan, Zoning Ordinance, and Site Plan Review and Subdivision regulations, with respect to 20 wildlife habitat and natural resources topics. The assessment also includes a review of the town’s zoning districts, Open Space Plan, and Hazard Mitigation Plan with respect to the New Hampshire Natural Services Network and Highest Ranked Wildlife Habitat in the New Hampshire Wildlife Action Plan. The resulting report includes suggestions for revising land use policies to better protect wildlife habitat and natural resources.
Department biologists conduct surveys of vernal pools using aerial imagery, National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) maps, and topographic maps, followed by field visits to accessible sites. Surveys of vernal pool wildlife may involve general searches or more intensive live-trapping.
NH Audubon and the NH Fish & Game Department have created a connectivity model for New Hampshire. The purpose of this project is to identify wildlife connectivity zones to inform conservation and land use planning. These zones are areas through which animals can move in a human-modified landscape.
The model consists of multiple raster data layers (cost surfaces), including one each for sixteen NH wildlife species and one averaged layer. The sixteen focal species that were selected represent habitat generalists, habitat specialists, area sensitive and barrier sensitive species. Four landscape factors were included in each cost surface; land cover, distance to road (grouped by traffic volume), distance to riparian areas and slope.
The NH species cost surfaces may be used for modeling potential wildlife corridors. Corridors between wildland blocks, conservation land or known species home ranges can be identified. Typically this analysis is done at the town or regional scale.
A Geographic Information System (GIS) is any system that captures, stores, analyzes, manages and presents data that are linked to a geographic location. The more current definition usually refers to a computer system that performs these functions. New Hampshire Audubon provides GIS services on a contract basis. Common services include mapping, data creation and GIS analysis. Examples of specific GIS analyses performed include wildlife connectivity and community planning projects. New Hampshire Audubon maintains a wide array of natural resources and other data. Data are created in-house as well as obtained from outside sources.
Software & Hardware:
The New Hampshire Audubon offers multiple opportunities for those interested in joining us as a member or donating for one of our various causes.
Founded in 1914, NH Audubon’s mission is to protect New Hampshire’s natural environment for wildlife and for people. It is an independent statewide membership organization with four nature centers throughout the state. Expert educators give programs to children, families, and adults at centers and in schools. Staff biologists and volunteers conduct bird conservation efforts such as the Peregrine Falcon restoration. NH Audubon protects thousands of acres of wildlife habitat and is a voice for sound public policy on environmental issues. For information on NH Audubon, including membership, volunteering, programs, sanctuaries, and publications, call 224-9909, or visit www.nhaudubon.org.