Following is a list of the materials essential to the stewardship process that can be downloaded. If you would like any of the following documents in Microsoft Word format, please email [email protected] with that request.
Stewardship Philosophy - It is important and valuable to know why you are doing what you are doing and how you want to go about it. Performing your function consistently, professionally, and courteously will provide tremendous positive benefits to your stewardship program. It is important to communicate this philosophy to your volunteer organization, landowners, and others with whom you work.
Sustainable Forestry is an important conservation and land management strategy that CLS is helping to promote. As populations expand, development pressures rise, and energy and resource demands increase this management tool becomes even more essential to maintaining a healthy environment and vibrant economy for New Hampshire.
Basic Rules for Record Keeping - Maybe the single most important thing you can do is to choose a secure place in your town hall to keep your conservation easement monitoring records. We cannot stress enough the importance of organizing your record keeping in binders, preferably one for each parcel, fee and easement. Each of our state-held easements that we monitor has two folders. The office file contains original project information, monitoring reports, and ongoing correspondence. This file stays in the office. When we go out to do a monitoring inspection we take our field file. This file contains (actual samples enclosed) the baseline documentation report , the easement deed , an aerial photograph , a survey map , and baseline and monitoring photos.
Baseline Documentation Checklist and Easement Baseline Documentation Report - These two pieces document the conservation values of the property. They provide you with the basis for monitoring and, if necessary, enforcement.
Conservation Easement Summary - This sheet provides you with an overview of the pertinent parts of the conservation deed and are a useful distillation of what you want to be looking for during your monitoring inspection.
Conservation Easement Deed/Stewardship Plan - Most files would include a copy of the easement deed or stewardship plan on a fee owned property, though we have not included that here. The appendix in a deed which describes the metes and bounds is essential to knowing exactly where the property located, especially when a violation is suspected.
Monitoring Visit Checklist /Landowner Information Checklist - These checklists will help you prepare for your monitoring inspection. A little bit of preparation can save a lot of time in the field. If an easement property has changed ownership it is suggested you make an additional effort to contact the new owner(s) and communicate directly with them. The New Owner pages offer suggestions to walk you through a possible landowner contact process.
Monitoring Inspection Report (blank template) - Each year we prepare monitoring inspection reports for each of the Municipal LCIP properties generated from our database. This form includes basic ownership and property information and is e-mailed to the municipal contact we have on record. This report does several things. Filling it out demonstrates to town officials, the community, and LCIP staff that you have conducted the required monitoring and are fulfilling the terms of the project agreement. For us it provides a perspective on how much attention your community's LCIP conservation properties are receiving. It is also an important source of communication that we can use to help maintain our support efforts to municipalities. This report will also provide future monitors with the necessary record of the condition of the property over time. If it came to a point where a violation occurred, this information will be critical to protecting the conservation interests and the interests of your town. Sending the reports to the CLS office also provides a safe backup storage for these important documents, a highly recommended standard operating procedure.
Each year we get asked what a good report looks like so we have provided some examples of actual reports. There is no one best way to prepare a report except to say the more thorough the better, and supporting materials such as a sketch, photos, GPS track, etc can increase the value tremendously. Another way to look at it is from the legal perspective. Ask yourself whether you think the report would help your community in the event that enforcement action is required. Four of the attached examples are for municipally owned properties, and one (with personal information redacted) is for a privately owned conservation easement property.
Photographs can be very important to a monitoring report. Here are two samples of photo template pages you may use. One is designed for panoramic photos ("landscape format" ) and the other for standard single photos ("portrait format" .) You are welcome to modify these for your own use. If you would like more templates for pages that will accommodate more photos please contact us.
Ground Monitoring - Ground monitoring, in our view, is the best way to avoid problems and quickly address existing issues. Beyond this, ground monitoring allows the land steward an opportunity to talk with landowners, check the conditions of the property and boundary lines, and to get to know the property.
Aerial Monitoring - Regular aerial monitoring is also a very useful tool, especially for large tracts of land. An aerial view of the property can show general land use activities (e.g. recent timber harvests, new structures, etc.) and can point to changes in the surrounding landscape (e.g. nearby development) which could potentially impact the property or use of the property.
GRANIT Conservation Lands Viewer - GRANIT is an extraordinarily valuable tool that is easily and readily available to you on the web (choose "Land Conservation" from the "Select a Theme" dropdown box in the upper right part of the page, then use the zoom in tool to allow the Conservation Lands layer to appear.). With a few clicks you can view conservation lands anywhere in New Hampshire. With another click you can view them overlaid on a USGS topographic map or an aerial photograph. Change the key and you can view the type of protection or the protecting agency. Go to the information key and you can find acreage and other parcel details. Print them out and they can be used to build baseline documentation files, plan monitoring visits, or create public information displays. We highly recommend a visit to this site to introduce yourself to the wealth of information this tool can provide.
Basic Map and Compass Skills for CE Monitoring - These four pages will help you interpret maps and surveys and help you with the use of a compass. More and more people are using Geographic Positioning Systems, or GPS units, for this kind of work. We feel that GPS is a valuable tool, though it does not replace the value of a compass when working with boundary lines. Bjorn Kjellstrom's, Be Expert with Map and Compass, is a good resource for detailed compass use.
Filing and labeling is an important function of record keeping. Information on how to acquire the type of filing materials we use, and samples of labels are provided here.
Microsoft Word format. You can download a free reader from Microsoft.
Portable Document Format (.pdf). Visit nh.gov for a list of free .pdf readers for a variety of operating systems.
NH Office of Energy and Planning
Governor Hugh J. Gallen State Office Park
Johnson Hall, 3rd Floor | 107 Pleasant Street | Concord, NH 03301
(603) 271-2155 | fax: (603) 271-2615