The Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT) has acquired a conservation easement on a 29 acre property with valuable wetland and wildlife corridor features in the heart of the busy Route 120-Mount Support Road area of Lebanon.Â The protection of this property comes out of a successful partnership effort among entities including UVLT, the City of Lebanon, the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department, and the landowner Ivy Commons at Mount Support Road, LP.
The Lebanon Planning Board issued a permit to the landowner to develop â€œTimberwood Commons,â€ a residential housing complex, contingent upon the permanent protection of 29.1 acres of the property that surrounds the 13.5 acre development area on Mount Support Road.Â In addition to the grant of a conservation easement to UVLT, the permit required the landowner to complete a Wildlife Management Plan (WMP) approved by state wildlife officials.Â The Lebanon Conservation Commission voiced strong support for special wildlife habitat and corridor protections because of the rapid development within the larger Route 120 corridor area.Â Development between large forest blocks has constricted movement of wildlife to very narrow pathways through these developed areas, and a City Natural Resources Inventory indicated one of the key paths for such movement exists on the Timberwood Commons property.
According to NH Wildlife Biologist, Karen Bordeau, â€œthe ability of this area to provide future habitat for local wildlife will depend on sound land use decision-making and this Conservation Easement and Wildlife Management Plan are important steps to accomplish that goal.â€
In addition to important cover for wildlife moving from place to place, the Timberwood Commons property itself includes some unique habitat types.Â According to James Kennedy, a wetland scientist who developed the WMP for the project, an old meadow in the northern portion of the property is one of the few remaining natural grasslands in this part of Lebanon and may be large enough to serve as a singing ground and roosting area for woodcock.Â New Hampshire Fish & Game biologists also identified a hemlock-dominated â€œpocket deer yardâ€ that serves as important wintering habitat for whitetail deer.
As the holder of this conservation easement, the Upper Valley Land Trust assumes responsibility for ensuring the long term protection of this property for its wildlife habitat benefits and other natural resource values.