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The rescheduled North Country hearing on proposed new rules for wetlands issued by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) will be held on Thursday, March 15. The rescheduled hearing, which will be held at the North Country Resource Center at 629B Main Street in Lancaster, will begin at 5:30 p.m.
As reported in previous editions of the Forest Fax, the draft proposal is a major disappointment, and if adopted would severely impact any forestry project with a wetland or stream crossing. The proposal is a complicated, overly burdensome, and, in places, impenetrable document. The NHTOA's full comment on the proposal can be read here.
The NHTOA urges members to attend Thursday's hearing and let DES know the draft proposal needs to be scrapped and a new proposal drafted from scratch.
The previous hearing on the draft proposal, held in Keene on March 5, was well covered by the local newspaper, the Keene Sentinel, and the report can be read here.
Here is a link to more information on the rulemaking process:
Join your fellow foresters and loggers for the market roundup, other updates, and a commemoration of the upcoming 80th anniversary of the Hurricane of 1938. Author Steve Long will describe a time before chainsaws and skidders when New England's equivalent to Hurricane Katrina hit our forests; he will also describe the results of the storm that we see etched on the land today.
- Be easy to understand - Any landowner, or land manager should be able to read them and know what approvals their project will require.
- Recognize the unique nature of forest management -- The rules should recognize the uniqueness (e.g. ephemeral impacts, habitat enhancement, etc.) of forest management projects and that forest management is a desirable land use.
- Be outcome-based - Focus on resource protection, not numeric details for crossing widths and structure dimensions.
- Requiring a forestry impact plan prepared by a licensed forester for wetland crossings,
- Reducing stream crossing width from 8' to 5',
- Requiring "Category 3" crossings (formerly Major Permits) when a Natural Heritage element is present or the project is a "special resource area" (e.g. forested wetland greater than 10 acres where over half is very poorly drained soils).