Results and Accomplishments
With the help of U.S. Senator Judd Gregg, then the State’s Governor, the former air base shoreline was designated a federal Fish and Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuge and included within the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) boundary. The establishment and timing of the designation served as a core area to build upon Great Bay conservation efforts.
A partnership of federal, state, local, and private interests developed a conservation plan with input from communities and numerous partners that identiﬁ ed 26 project areas in the watershed. To date, they have protected nearly 7,000 additional acres of wetlands and uplands acquired either by donation or from willing sellers, through conservation easements or outright purchase. Many towns surrounding Great Bay have passed bonds totaling almost $40 million for land acquisition to further preserve their community character and open spaces. In many instances, the value of these lands has then been used as a match to obtain additional federal funds.
Congress has appropriated more than 50 million dollars to protect the Great Bay Estuary during the past ten years, supporting a number of Coastal and Estuarine Land Protection (CELP) projects in the watershed.
The base’s remaining 4,000 acres are now a thriving industrial park, airport, and educational center.