December 18, 2009

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Judd Gregg (R-NH) today announced that $300,000 for the protection of lands surrounding the Merrimack River has been signed into law.  These funds will allow the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (SPNHF) to continue its efforts to protect ecologically important lands in the Merrimack River watershed.  Since 2004, federal funding secured by Senator Gregg for this initiative has allowed for the protection of 2,030 acres with 6.3 miles of river frontage on the Merrimack River and its tributaries. These funds were included in the Fiscal Year 2010 Consolidated Appropriations bill and are within the Appropriations Committee allocation set out for Fiscal Year 2010 spending measures.

Senator Shaheen stated, "We must preserve and protect New Hampshire's natural beauty. I'm glad that this funding will help protect the Merrimack River watershed, preserve natural habitats, protect wildlife, and ensure this beautiful part of our state remains a place that draws tourists and residents to enjoy outdoor recreation."

Senator Gregg, a senior member of the Senate Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee, stated, "Over the last five years, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests has been carrying out a comprehensive plan to protect the Merrimack River watershed and the environmentally sensitive lands surrounding it.  This effort is critical to ensuring the river and its tributaries can continue to support New Hampshire farmlands, important wildlife habitats and recreation opportunities.  I thank the SPNHF for its impressive commitment to this project and am pleased this funding will help the organization to move forward with its efforts."

Jane A. Difley, President Forester, Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, stated, "Once again Senator Gregg has been instrumental in advancing the conservation of undeveloped river frontage and upland watershed in the Merrimack River basin. With the support of Senators Gregg and Shaheen, the Forest Society in partnership with NOAA and NH Fish & Game, has already protected 2,030 acres of land, buffered 6.3 miles of river frontage on the Merrimack main stem and tributaries, and leveraged $3.5 million in other federal, state, local and private funding. The $300,000 in new funding will be used to protect additional lands in the Merrimack basin which have been identified by the Forest Society in consultation with NH Fish and Game and NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service staff."

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