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Hauser Tract

In September 2009 the Southeast Land Trust added another key piece to its growing Pawtuckaway River Reservation in Epping and Raymond. The acquisition of the 7.2 acre Hauser Tract was the first project in the nation to utilize the Emergency Watershed Program (EWP) funds allocated under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and was a partnership between the Land Trust, the Lamprey River Advisory Committee (LRAC) and the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). By acquiring the property and permanently protecting it under an NRCS floodplain easement, the Emergency Watershed Program is meeting its goal of reducing stormwater runoff and soil erosion while safeguarding lives and property from floods.

Sitting at the confluence of the Pawtuckaway and Lamprey Rivers, the Hauser tract experiences significant annual and often severe flooding. Such floodplain areas provide valuable wildlife habitat and flood storage. For example, in recent years bobcat, a species that needs large, unfragmented areas of land, were photographed on the property.

"The protection of the Hauser property is a win-win for everyone and is a great example of how conservation benefits not only the environment, but the surrounding community and our nation," explains David Viale, Land Protection Specialist. "By conserving this property we are meeting local, regional, and national goals of preserving important natural resources while also providing flood control. In addition, we are helping flood victims voluntarily relocate their home to somewhere that is safe and dry."

Complementing the acquisition and protection of the land, the Southeast Land Trust worked with the NRCS and wetland scientist Mark West of West Environmental to implement a restoration plan that will restore the habitat and hydrology of the floodplain to a more natural state. A major component of the restoration plan was the removal of a home which was subject to major flooding. To accomplish this, the Land Trust hired Danley Demolition to remove the home and recycle as much of the construction material as possible. In addition to demolishing the above ground structure, the foundation was removed to allow the river channel to naturally meander over time. After the home and foundation were removed, the area was smoothed over and stabilized with a native plant conservation seed mix. Over the winter, the land trust will be planning the second phase of the restoration, which will involve stabilization of a canoe access area, and restoration of several stream channels. All work is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2011 and visitors will be able to enjoy passive recreation on the Wild & Scenic Lamprey River and Pawtuckaway River Reservation.