The region was first explored in 1603. After a 38-period of union with Massachusetts, New Hampshire was made a separate royal colony in 1679. Although they were technically independent of each other, the crown habitually appointed a single man to govern both colonies until 1741. The French and Indian Wars had prevented colonization of the inland areas, but after the wars a land rush began. By the time of the Revolution many of the inhabitants had tired of British rule and were eager for independence.
New Hampshire was the first colony to declare its independence from Great Britain and to establish its own government in January 1776. New Hampshire became the ninth and last necessary state to ratify the new Constitution of the United States in 1788.
Well forested, New Hampshire supports an abundance of elm, maple, beech, oak, pine, hemlock, and fir trees. Among wild flowers, several orchids are considered rare. Three New Hampshire plant species are considered threatened or endangered, the small whorled pogonia, Jesup’s milk vetch and Northeastern bulrush.
Among native New Hampshire mammals are the white-tailed deer, the muskrat, beaver, porcupine, and snowshoe hare. 9 animal species are now considered threatened or endangered, including the Karner blue butterfly, bald eagle, finback whale, and leatherback sea turtle.
The Air Resources Division (ARD) is responsible for achieving and maintaining air quality in New Hampshire that is protective of public health and the natural environment. It is committed to promoting cost-effective, sensitive strategies and control measures to address the many complex and inter-related air quality issues facing the state. These issues include, but are not limited to, ground level ozone, small particle pollution, regional haze, mercury contamination, climate change, acid deposition, and air toxics. The ARD recommends the use of biodiesel as a clean burning alternative fuel. It is biodegradable, nontoxic, and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics.
In New Hampshire, environmental health-related programs and services are provided by a number of state agencies including the Department of Environmental Services. The specific focus areas of the DES Environmental Health Program include health risk assessment, toxic air pollutants and radon. It takes an active role in providing information to New Hampshire citizens on how chemicals in the environment can impact health, and in helping to identify and address environmental health concerns in communities where toxic substances may have been released into the environment. Health education ranges from publicizing air quality action days to conducting public information meetings on health impacts of contaminated sites.
The Waste Management Division is working to promote responsible waste management and ensure wastes/regulated materials are properly handled and disposed. It conducts prompt remediation to restore contaminated sites to productive uses while protecting the environment and public health.
The Water Division ensures that New Hampshire’s lakes and ponds, rivers and streams, coastal waters, groundwater and wetlands are clean and support healthy ecosystems, provide habitats for a diversity of plant and animal life, and support appropriate uses.