Letter: Wetland Protection in Grantham

To the Editor:

I oppose warrant articles 2 and 3 in Grantham relating to the acceptance of a wetlands map (article 2) and prime wetland designations (article 3). Several of the wetlands listed for prime designation are inappropriate and unnecessary.

Though I am very much in support of the protection of prime wetlands, more time and consideration should be given to carefully identify and map such areas. The entire process seems rushed. Volunteers with limited training, some who are Conservation Commission members, participated in the survey and analysis, which can be a very subjective process.

Regarding the proposed wetlands under Article 3, I find it difficult to understand how some major water bodies are to receive the “prime wetland” designation. Several have significant shorelines with long-established residential communities and businesses. Wetlands associated with these major water bodies may indeed meet the criteria for prime designation, but there needs to be more time dedicated to further analysis.

Out of 234 New Hampshire towns, only 34 have adopted prime wetland designations. Of those, only two of our neighbors, New London and Enfield, have prime wetlands. It should be noted that New London designated only three prime wetlands (Philbrick-Cricenti Bog, Goose Hole Marsh and Esther Currier Wildlife Management Area). No major body of water with a populated shoreline was included.

Prime wetland designation is not something that should be done swiftly. The current proposal is an unrealistic and unreasonable burden to place on residents. Shoreline areas are already protected by the state with buffers and overlays. Adding regulations will potentially decrease values on properties and reduce tax revenue.

These efforts are headed in the right direction, and I commend the Conservation Commission for its good intentions, but there should be more planning and careful consideration before proposing an official wetland map and any prime wetland designations in the future.

Tara McIntire