Cooperatove Conservation Project

Quabbin to Cardigan Collaborative

Cooperative Conservation in the Monadnock Highlands (NH-MA)

Location: Northeastern/Mid-Atlantic Region: New Hampshire

Project Summary: The Quabbin to Cardigan Collaborative is a multi-state, public/private effort to protect and connect large unfragmented forests in the Monadnock Highlands of Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
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Resource Challenge

The Quabbin to Cardigan (Q2C) region encompasses more than 3,000 square miles in the Monadnock Highlands of central Massachusetts and western New Hampshire Thanks to a long history of farsighted private and public land protection and stewardship, the region contains one of the largest remaining areas of intact contiguous forest in central New England .  Mountain peaks, farms, and a network of small cities and towns punctuate the area’s extensive forests.  The region is the watershed boundary between the Connecticut and Merrimack River valleys, making its still-pristine rivers and streams an important source water area for both basins.  The Highlands provide habitat for many species of migratory birds and wide-ranging wildlife—animals that are in decline elsewhere in New England due to habitat fragmentation.  The area’s forests also form the basis of a vibrant tourism, recreation and forest products economy, and provide a unique quality of life for residents.      

     Today an unprecedented combination of factors—ownership turnover of private forest land, growing subdivision and development pressure, and sharply rising land values—threaten the future of the region’s forested landscape and way of life.  The members of the Quabbin to Cardigan Collaborative have come together in the shared belief that a carefully focused, well coordinated effort must begin now to protect the region’s forested landscape.  Combining the resources and expertise of the region’s public and private conservation actors in a coordinated effort, the Collaborative is working to conserve large unfragmented forest blocks while they are still in relatively large ownerships, and secure links between new and existing conservation lands to form a continuous corridor of conservation and working forest land.  In keeping with the region’s traditions, land is being conserved strictly on a willing-seller/donor basis through a combination of conservation easements and fee acquisitions, and managed by private owners, conservation organizations and public agencies. 

     Membership in the Q2C Collaborative is voluntary, and has to date been funded soley from private sources and in-kind contributions from member groups.  The full Collaborative meets quarterly, and an informal executive committee coordinates on an ongoing basis.  Organizational coordination and GIS mapping services are provided by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, a state-wide land conservation non-profit organization.



Examples of Key Partners

The Quabbin to Cardigan Collaborative currently comprises 23 public and private partners engaged in land conservation, planning, or resource managment in the Monadnock Highlands region.  

Appalachian Mountain Club

Audubon Society of New Hampshire

Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust (NH)

Franklin Regional Council of Governments (MA)

Harris Center for Conservation Education (NH)

Harvard Forest (MA)

Land Trust Alliance

Massachusetts Audubon Society

Mass. Dept. of Fish & Game

Mass. Dept. of Conservation & Recreation

Monadnock Conservancy (NH)

Montachusett Regional Planning Commission (MA)

Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust (MA)

Nature Conservancy, New Hampshire Chapter

New England Forestry Foundation

New Hampshire Division of Forests & Lands

New Hampshire Fish & Game Dept.

Society for the Protection of NH Forests

Southwest Regional Planning Commission (NH)

Trust for Public Land

The Trustees of Reservations (MA)

Upper Valley Land Trust (NH)

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Results and Accomplishments

Since its intitial organizational meetings in late 2003, the Q2C Collaborative has:

  • Established consensus among member groups on priority resource values for strategic conservation planning;
  • Completed region-wide GIS natural resource co-occurance mapping based on these consensus values;
  • Identifed sub-regional focus areas for fine-grained GIS conservation plans, or "greenprints," to guide strategic land conservation;
  • Established a regular forum for information exchange, coordination and joint advocacy on land conservation work by Q2C member groups;
  • Member organizations have completed numerous individual conservation projects throughout Q2C region; including the 7,000+ acre Pillsbury-Sunupee Forest Legacy project in New Hampshire; 
  • Two Q2C member projects successfully competed for Forest Legacy funding in President Bush's FY06 budget:  the 2,100-acre Quabbin Corridor Connection project in MA, and the the 1,700-acre Robb Reservoir/Willard Pond project in NH.

Key features of the Quabbin to Cardigan Collaborative: (1) landscape-scale, multi-state effort; (2) true, ongoing public and private collaboration; (3) emphasizes consensus planning and coordinated implementation; (4) integrates best-available scientific data, and state-of-the-art analytical methods to guide strategic conservation.

Project Contact
Chris Wells
Coordinator, Q2C Collaborative
Society for the Protection of NH Forests
54 Portsmouth Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603) 224-9945


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