Proctor preserve a unique place

LYNDEBOROUGH – The new Proctor Preserve in North Lyndeborough is a unique natural place, and that has made it the recipient of a U.S. Forestry grant through the Merrimack Rivers Council. The grant has allowed the Piscataquog Land Conservancy to do riparian planting along an old pasture. The preserve includes portions of Scataquog and Cold Brooks, and is home to one of the area’s native brook trout populations.

“The Merrimack River Council approached us last spring,” said Jordan Bailey, stewardship coordinator for Piscataquog Land Conservancy. “They had some grant money from the Forest Service, and we happened to be one of 20 plots the matched the criteria.”

At that point, PLC had not completed the purchase of the Proctor property.

“They waited for us,” Bailey said.

The grant was used to improve shade along the brook and to control erosion. Native trout require cold water.

The first of two parcels are a 41-acre lot that was purchased last year and a 71-acre tract that was acquired last spring. The land borders the Rice Preserve and contains glacial eskers. The Proctor family was among the original grantees of the town, when it was a grant known as “Salem-Canada,” in 1735, and they have always lived in North

Lyndeborough.

“The water corridor was very open,” Bailey said. “Cattle had grazed on both sides of the brook. The vegetation will filter (run-off) to improve water quality. The field is in very good condition, and we are still deciding how to manage it.”

PLC planted 14 trees and 59 shrubs, Bailey said. Trees planted included balsam fire, silver maple, pin oak, northern white cedar, yellow birch and, “just for esthetic reasons,” American plum. The plum is a showy, early flowering variety.

Shrubs included witch hazel, black chokeberry, red twig dogwood, viburnum, spicebush and winter

berry.

The trees were planted Sept. 8 by a group of volunteers.

While Scataquog Brook harbors trout, the upper reaches of Cold Brook does not because of the Senter Falls, a long cascade down the mountainside, mostly preserved by the Rice Preserve.

“Research done some years ago found enough native trout populations to study,” Bailey said. Preservation of the fish is “part of the greater plan for conservation

areas.”

That plan also looks at connectivity, the corridors where wildlife tends to move, she said, noting “how a new parcel fits into the large picture.” If a proposed purchase or easement fits into the larger plan, they will move forward with it.

The PLC is a private, non-profit conservancy founded in 1970 in New Boston. It has so far conserved more than 105 properties in 23 communities, or in excess of 6,900 acres. Its mission is to conserve landscapes in the Piscataquog, Souhegan and Nashua River watershed.

Additional information is available online at https://plcnh.org.

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