New Hampshire Fish & Game Department
c/o Director Normandeau
11 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03301

September 23, 2012

Dear Director Normandeau and Commissioners,

The Connecticut River Watershed Council is a membership based non-profit organization that advocates for the Connecticut River watershed in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut.  We work to protect the river, its tributaries, the land, plants, and creatures throughout the entire four-state watershed.   As the two river stewards working with the Council in New Hampshire, we focus on implementing conservation practices and projects that result in real on-the-ground improvements in water quality, erosion control, flood resiliency and habitat improvement for fish and wildlife.  In addition to our work with the Council, we serve as volunteers on the boards of two Trout Unlimited chapters (the Greater Upper Valley and the Connecticut River Valley chapters) that include members from both New Hampshire and Vermont.

We request that the fisheries habitat account be used as intended for the:

(a) The development, management, preservation, conservation, restoration, and maintenance of fisheries habitats in the water of the state, with at least 50 percent of the annual revenue dedicated to pay costs of labor and materials for direct aquatic management activities;
(b) Obtaining access to fisheries habitat areas;
(c) The acquisition of easements upon private property;
(d) The acquisition of private land to protect critical fisheries habitat; and
(e) Providing information to the public on the location of fisheries managed by NH F&G.

We wholeheartedly support the use of these funds to pay for permanent staff to administer these programs.  This is clearly within the scope of the fund’s purpose.  The fisheries biologists at the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department have been excellent partners, as well as invaluable resources in our efforts to improve the health of the Connecticut River and its tributaries.  Inland Fisheries staff in the Fish Habitat Program are indispensable to our work on behalf of New Hampshire fisheries.

The Connecticut River Watershed Council encourages the Commission to uphold their 7 to 1 vote in August on this issue so that Director Normandeau’s request to use these funds according to that vote should not be delayed.  Thank you for the Fish and Game Department’s efforts to help conserve, manage and protect New Hampshire’s fisheries.


Ron Rhodes North Country River Steward       and           David Deen Upper Valley River Steward