Your Fisheries Habitat Fee
Restoring and Conserving Fish Habitat in New Hampshire
When you buy a fishing license in New Hampshire, $1 of your license fee goes into the Fisheries Habitat Account. This account has funded many restoration and land conservation efforts over the years. Typically, it funds about 10–20% of completed fisheries habitat projects. To meet the goal of providing diverse fishing opportunities, the Fisheries Habitat Program restores and conserves habitat. For fish habitat restoration projects in streams and rivers, fisheries managers have learned from a body of large scientific studies that fish populations do best when their habitat is most like that which would naturally occur, so our projects mimic natural processes.
That typically means we are restoring riverine processes, things that create diverse habitats such as riffles and pools, with a particular focus on the restoration of instream wood, which has largely been removed from our rivers and streams. Instream wood is a natural part of streams and rivers. It forms deep pools and creates excellent shelter for all sizes and species of fish. It also can help reduce the nutrient load moving downstream; microbes such as bacteria and fungi live in the complex structure of instream wood (logs, sticks and leaves), and they use a large amount of the nutrients dissolved in the flowing water.
The Habitat Program conducts restoration projects with many partners across the state, representing the spectrum of conservation interests. Excellent relationships with our partners are vital to the successful completion of these high-priority projects. Typically, the program provides technical assistance, scientific analysis and recommendations to projects, and sometimes funding from the Fisheries Habitat Account.
Since 2000, the Habitat Account has been used to restore and conserve fish habitat across the state, and by a number of means. Much of this work has been done in streams and rivers, by strategically placing trees and boulders to restore natural river processes and aquatic habitat. Some examples are the Nash Stream and Indian Stream Restoration projects. Those two initiatives also included another activity: restoring the ability of fish to move throughout a watershed. Think about this in your life; you need to get to school, work, the grocery store, etc. Movement is especially important for fish to fulfill their life cycles and have healthy populations. We have focused on removing barriers, specifically culverts under roads, and replacing them with structures that do not impede the movement of fish. Another significant activity is the long-term preservation of the aquatic and nearby terrestrial habitat through land conservation.
The account has provided funds to a number of high-priority projects, such as conservation of a property along the Connecticut River in Pittsburg that secured about five miles of habitat along the river, another land conservation project that protects more than a mile of the Ammonoosuc River in Bethlehem as well as providing angler access to it, and the restoration of brook trout habitat in the Nash Stream watershed, which is one of the largest fish habitat restoration projects in the Northeast.
Are you a Landlocked Salmon Angler?
Anglers can help to conserve our landlocked salmon fishery through responsible catch-and-release angling practices, including the use of rubber nets, careful removal of hooks, and minimizing the time fish are held out of water. By pledging to be a dedicated steward of New Hampshire’s limited landlocked salmon fishery, you can make a real difference in sustaining this valuable resource. Check fishnh.com for more info and download a brochure.