Jill Eldridge, Executive Director of Moose Mountains Regional Greenways was unable to attend our Annual meeting in August and has sent along this informative letter about the important work they are doing in our area.
Dear LLA Members,
Thank you for the opportunity to either introduce ourselves or to reconnect with you as we continue to expand and accelerate our work in the region. The lake associations and their members in our service towns are vital to our success and to the future of conservation and water quality in our region. I hope to build better communication and partnerships with these groups, starting with the Lovell Lake Association right here in the heart of our service area.
Moose Mountains Regional Greenways is a small, local organization with over 20 years of experience serving our community in various capacities related to environmental stewardship and land conservation. More recently, MMRG became a land trust in 2015, meaning that we have the ability (and responsibility) to protect our region’s most valuable natural resources either through conservation easement (where the land is likely to be held by private landowners) or through purchasing it ourselves. Today, we hold over 4,000 acres of land in permanent conservation and we anticipate that we will add nearly 700 more by the end of 2023. In addition to our land conservation projects, we offer many events throughout the year geared towards both families and adults with the goal of sharing our knowledge and passion for the natural world with the local community.
Lake residents and landowners play an important role in both land conservation and water quality improvement. As you know better than most, there is increasing development pressure in our region with waterfront or water vicinity lots often bearing the brunt of this burden. Unfortunately, these same pieces of land are often our most ecologically vulnerable and/or most vital in supporting the health of our local waterways and wildlife. This is especially true in our region, where the headwaters of the Great Bay watershed are found. As the saying goes, rather indelicately, … everything flows downstream. The challenges affecting water quality right at the foot of our own homes affects not only us and our neighbors, but the health and water quality of our entire region straight down to the coast. Through good practices and responsible stewardship, we have the unique and special opportunity to improve water quality right at the source.
What can lake residents do to support land and water conservation?
- Get involved with water quality monitoring programs and groups such as the Lay Lakes Monitoring Program and the Acton/Wakefield Watershed Alliance
- Support milfoil, lake host and other water quality initiatives either through volunteering, financial support or through your vote
- Work towards a LakeSmart award
- Practice good management by: repairing or replacing aging septic systems, reducing impervious surfaces and replanting natural/native vegetation in wide riparian buffer zones along the water’s edge
- Support conservation groups such as MMRG either financially or with your participation in events and volunteerism
- Consider conserving your property with a conservation easement if your lot is larger in size (>10 acres)
In addition to aiding in the permanent protection of our region’s natural resources, land conservation has many benefits. There can be considerable economic benefits to conservation for both individual conserving landowners as well as for local municipalities. Conserved lands increase local property values and help support communities that are desirable places to live, work and play. Conserving landowners can often reap generous tax incentives with little out of pocket costs for the conservation process. Conservation also boosts and supports local tourism and associated businesses, often locally owned, in a boon for small-town economies. Finally, conservation efforts help to balance out appropriate development in our communities and can decrease a sharp or unfeasible burden on local services such as schools, fire, EMS and DOT. Land conservation projects have a wide ranging ripple effect that positively impacts both individuals and communities.
We hope to see you at our upcoming summer and fall events and to have the opportunity to talk further with you about the importance of water quality and land conservation. Please feel invited to reach out to staff directly and to learn more about our work through our website, www.mmrgnh.org. We hope you enjoy another beautiful summer by the lake!
Jillian Eldredge, Ed.M.
Executive Director, Moose Mountains Regional Greenways