New Hampshire Considers New Avenues for Biodiversity Protection
March 13, 2023
The New Hampshire Senate recently passed S.B.164 which would increase considerations of biodiversity in a statewide investment program for natural resource protection. New Hampshire is one of at least four states in 2023 considering legislation to improve protections for the diversity of life on Earth, i.e. biodiversity protection.
- Why it matters: One million animal and plant species currently face extinction due to habitat destruction, overexploitation of wildlife, climate change, the introduction of invasive species, and pollution. This loss of biodiversity threatens not only critical wildlife species and ecosystems, but also the health, security, and economies of human populations everywhere. The United States is one of the only nations currently without a unified federal strategy to combat biodiversity loss, making state-level policies to restore and protect biodiversity crucial.
Key Components S.B.164
S.B.164 recognizes New Hampshire’s need to maintain biodiversity and its duty to conserve and protect the state’s natural resources for the benefit of all people, including future generations.
The bill would help to fulfill this duty by adjusting the scope of the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP), an investment program aimed at conserving the state’s most important natural, cultural, and historical resources. If enacted, the LCHIP’s governing statute would be amended to:
- Include a definition of biodiversity
- Include biodiversity conservation in the eligibility criteria for proposed conservation easements
- Add biodiverse areas as “eligible resources” for protection under the LCHIP
Bill Sponsors and NCEL’s Impact
The primary sponsor of S.B.164 is New Hampshire State Senator David Watters. In December, Senator Watters was a member of NCEL’s first state legislator delegation to the United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15) where they exchanged ideas with leaders across the globe working to protect land, water, and wildlife.