Nature scene

RINDGE — The town of Rindge was recently awarded three state grants to help buy and conserve a large expanse of land.

Awards of $175,000 and about $117,600 were made by the N.H. Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) and the N.H. Drinking Water and Ground Water Trust Fund, respectively, the organizations’ websites state.

Rindge is also receiving a $10,000 N.H. Moose Plate grant, according to David Drouin, chairman of the town’s conservation commission.

To lay out its plan for the property and to have the grants officially accepted by the Rindge Board of Selectmen, the commission is holding a public hearing today at 6:15 p.m. The meeting will be in the Rindge Town Office, at 30 Payson Hill Road.

Along with other money that’s been lined up, the grants put the commission at 70 percent of its fundraising target, which the panel expects to hit through additional donations and grants by the end of 2020, according to a Dec. 13 news release. The total budget for the project is $725,000, Drouin said.

Protecting the parcel, which Drouin said is officially known as Rindge Stone and Gravel, would establish an uninterrupted connection to other conserved areas — Converse Meadow, Annett State Forest and the Massachusetts Audubon’s Wildwood Camp — according to the commission.

It would also afford residents recreational opportunities, preserve “vital natural resources” and help safeguard the area’s “small-town rural character,” the release says.

“It’s an important project, and it’s for the future generation of Rindge citizens,” Drouin said.

The property is also of interest to the commission because it has wetlands and trees that are more than 200 years old. Ensuring the land stays undeveloped, the release says, would also protect two aquifers — bodies of permeable rock that can contain or transmit groundwater — to preserve water quality.

The area is home to many animals, such as black bears, white-tailed deer, snowshoe hares, moose and foxes. Two rare species — the Blanding’s turtle and the blue-spotted salamander — have also been found in the area, according to the conservation commission.

“It’s just a remarkable piece of wildlife habitat,” Dijit Taylor, executive director of the N.H. Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, said Tuesday.

In addition to today’s meeting, the commission is planning information sessions to hear input from town residents, including suggestions for the property’s future name.

Olivia Belanger can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1439, or Follow her on Twitter @OBelangerKS.