Natural Resources Planning

GMCG is pleased to be a part of Ossipee Watershed Natural Resources Planning. Promoting well thought-out land use plans for future town growth across town boundaries while protecting the region’s clean water and natural resources resonates with GMCG’s mission.

Resources for Watershed Towns:

Natural Resource Inventories:

Additional Resources:

  • Information about natural resources inventories on the Taking Action for Wildlife website
    • In particular, look at the Wildlife Data and Maps, and the Natural Resources Inventory categories, but you will also find many other useful resources in the other categories in this list.
  • GRANITView online mapper
    • Using this mapper, you can view a variety of natural resources data layers and information. Maps can also be printed at a variety of scales.

NRP Pics 11-6-14 01On Nov. 6, 2014, GMCG hosted an introductory and refresher workshop on the Natural Resource Planning Guide (NRPG) for local municipal officials, planning board and conservation commission members, local stakeholders and interested residents.  A copy of the NRPG drafted by regional professionals under the guidance of GMCG has been presented to each town in the watershed as a reference to be used during the Master Planning and regulations development process. Read more about the development of the NRPG below.

Steve Whitman of Resilience Planning and Design led the workshop. The objective was to re-energize the community and provide cross-town participants who share natural resources in the Ossipee Watershed (Ossipee, Tamworth, Madison, Eaton, Effingham, Sandwich, Freedom) and surrounding communities the chance to network with each other, find out what projects are being worked on, listen to challenges, and to get a new infusion of how to think about guiding town growth while protecting the watershed’s shared natural resources for our future.  A matrix of the status of town regulations was distributed for towns to review and update.

As an outcome of the workshop, GMCG was encouraged to plan and facilitate future cross town discussions on such topics as “properly functioning and situated septic for waterfront properties,” town protections for large water “extraction” and shared “energy” infrastructure. The notes for this meeting may be found here.

Background – Ossipee Watershed Coalition

The Ossipee Watershed Coalition was a partnership of municipal officials, community and business leaders, and other concerned citizens. Its mission was to sustain and protect our shared resources through cooperative natural resource-based planning.

Starting in 2004 to approximately 2008, GMCG and the Ossipee Watershed Coalition hosted numerous workshops on natural resource based planning. GMCG hired Environmental Planner Steve Whitman of Jeffrey H. Taylor & Associates of Concord with funding from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation to engage local residents, municipal officials and state and non-profit organizations in watershed-wide natural resource based planning. The Coalition promoted the concept of planning for our shared growth while still protecting our natural resources.
In 2006, GMCG and the Ossipee Watershed Coalition (OWC), worked in partnership with over 35 volunteers from many different state and local agencies, published the Ossipee Watershed Natural Resource Based Planning Guide.  This Guide provides information on natural resources, area maps, template ordinances and information about balancing development with protection of the Ossipee Watershed’s natural resources. Rural Planning needs to be an active process and new chapters in this Guide need to be added overtime as new information becomes available. If you would like to read or download this Guide you may do so at: Ossipee Watershed Natural Resource Guide.

Population Growth Rates 1990-2000: NH’s population is growing rapidly, with the population of Carroll County predicted to increase 50% by 2020. Ossipee Watershed Coalition Towns are considering water resources, open space, wildlife habitat, agricultural land, forests, viewscapes, wetlands, sustainable economies and many other factors to try and balance development and natural resource protection.Community members and town officials from Madison work on visioning for the future of their town using resource maps and strategic planning.

In 2008, GMCG also produced the Ossipee Watershed Municipal Ordinance Book which we gave to town planning boards. Each town’s natural resource ordinance is included in the guide as well as a matrix describing what towns have in terms of natural resource ordinance.  The Ordinance Book encourages watershed towns to review each other’s ordinances and see ways to improve their own.  Through the creation of this Book, a watershed ordinance matrix was created, which indicates the status of natural resource ordinances across the watershed.  This matrix is used to provide town officials and citizens with a method to review the status of these ordinances and see where potential upgrades may be needed.

In 2010 the OWC was actively involved in a new project in partnership with Lakes Region Planning Commission (LRPC), to help watershed towns update or develop aquifer protection ordinances. OWC members worked with an LRPC planner to help ease the burden on planning boards to develop these ordinances along with use of existing model ordinances.  Four of the six towns passed upgrades and/or new ordinances in response to this effort in 2011.

If anyone would like to help out or get their planning board more involved, please call the GMCG office at 603-539-1859

If towns would like to pursue additional projects with help from natural resource planners, they can also contract:
Steve Whitman at Resilience Planning and Design, (603) 381-1798.

Lakes Region Planning Commission, 103 Main St., Suite #3, Meredith, NH 03253. (603) 279-8171

Quick Links:
Ossipee Watershed Natural Resource Guide

Town Links to Zoning Regulations:

Eaton Zoning Ordinance
Effingham (Article 22 of the Zoning Ordinance) Groundwater Protection Ordinance
Freedom(Article 5 of the Zoning Ordinance) Groundwater Protection Ordinance
Madison (Article 7 of the Zoning Ordinance) Groundwater Protection Ordinance
Ossipee (Article 20 of the Zoning Ordinance) Groundwater Protection Ordinance
Sandwich (Article 17 of the Zoning Ordinance) Groundwater Protection Ordinance
Tamworth (passed in 2023, Article IV page 4): Groundwater Protection Ordinance

Power Point Presentation: Enacting Zoning Ordinances

Power Point Presentation: Aquifer Protection

Ossipee Watershed Matrix

Ossipee Watershed Matrix Data

Aquifer Information

Dark Skies Resources 

Sustainable Communities Presentation June, 2007

GPS & PCS Inventory Presentation January 31, 2008

GPS and SWP Presentation

Planning for Wildlife:

Wildlife Corridors Workshop Recording 12.13.2023:

Wildlife Corridors Resources:
NH Fish & Game Wildlife Corridors Map:
-NH Wildlife Sightings website:
-NH DES Aquatic Restoration Mapper:
-USD, Natural Resources Conservation Service NH Service Centers:
-Carroll County Conservation District:
-USDA Farm Service Agency  State Offices:
-UNH Landowner Resources:
– Conserving Your Land Publication:
– Wildlife Corridors Brochure (link): To receive copies of the new UNH Cooperative Extension Wildlife Corridors brochures, please contact Haley (see contact information below).
-Taking Action for Wildlife, a partnership between UNH Extension, NH Fish & Game and NH Association of Conservation Commissions that supports communities, conservation groups, and individuals with resources, tools, and training for conserving New Hampshire’s wildlife and habitats –