Minutes for the regular meeting of the
Walpole Conservation Commission
Monday, January 4, 2016
Present: Gary Speed, Tom Beaudry, John Peska, Kelli Wilson, Myra Mansouri (alt.), Peter Palmiotto (alt.), Lewis Shelley, and Alicia Flammia
Not Present: Sharyn Tullar (alt.), Duncan Watson, Whit Aldrich (SelectBoard representative)
Mr. Beaudry, chair, called the meeting to order at 7:31 PM.
No alternates were needed to achieve quorum.
Mr. Speed moved to accept the minutes for the December 7, 2015 meeting as presented. Ms. Mansouri seconded, and the motion passed with all in favor. It was noted that Mr. Peska was listed as both Present and Non-Present. He was indeed Present at the December meeting.
As of November 30, 2015, the balance in the Conservation account is: $53,183.96 and in the Forestry account: $12,347.88 which includes a deposit of $2,000.00.
- Mr. Palmiotto is stepping down from his position on the SWRPC. Ms. Flammia is interested in the position. Mr. Speed moved to recommend Ms. Flammia as the representative to the SWRPC. Mr. Peska seconded, and the motion passed with all in favor. Mr. Beaudry will present the recommendation to the Selectboard.
- Michael Nerrie of Distant Hill Gardens spoke about vernal pools documentation in the Monadnock region. The Ashuelot Valley Environmental Observatory (AVEO) has created a map of currently documented vernal pools: https://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=00813910980f4b1a931697e2a27c58d6
- Mr. Nerrie will be holding a class on 4/29/16 to teach how to recognize the obligatory species (mole salamander, wood frog, fairy shrimp). Details can be found on his website: http://www.distanthillgardens.org/2016-hours-events/2016-workshops Additional locations of vernal pools are needed.
- The Stoddard Conservation Commission is against the opening of a trapping, hounding, and baiting season on bobcats by the NH Fish and Game Commission. The SCC invites the Walpole Conservation Commission to join them in protesting this action. Speed, as a member of the group recommending the season, added information:
In 1989, the number of bobcats had decreased so much that a moratorium was put on trapping them. Five to six years ago, the numbers of calls complaining of bobcats attacking bird feeder & pets had increased so much that Fish & Game was asked to do a survey to determine the actual population. The study was done by Fish & Game, UNH, and NH Trappers Association. Although Walpole was not in the original study which caught 24 cats in Cheshire County, a 37lb adult cat was trapped on Brewery Road. The cats were tagged, had a tooth removed for aging, and released. The tags broadcast to UNH every time the cat passed a cell tower. Fish & Game determined that there were sufficient numbers for a limit of 70-75 cats in a season. Since there is never 100% in a hunt, it is likely that only 50 cats of the more than 1,000 in the state will be killed. Every surrounding state has a bobcat season. The cat from Brewery Road ended up being killed 2 years later in Vermont.
The letter from Stoddard had additional references. Ms. Flammia moved to table the discussion until the next meeting to investigate all the information. Mr. Peska seconded, and the motion passed with all in favor (except Mr. Speed who recused himself).
- Academy Ravine behind the Town Garage would not make a good Scout project. It has been worked on in the past and gets flooded out. The soils are not conducive to good trails due to the shale slopes. Mr. Shelley will discuss this further with Ms. Tullar.
- No activity yet in the Water Co. Forest. The deadline is April 1st.
- The Vose Conservation Easement is moving forward.
- Monadnock Conservancy letter about the Reservoir Town Forest regarding the Hooper Hoppers snowmobile trail. They want to relocate the trail to avoid some wet areas.
- Per a Selectboard member, the Jack Franks/Avenru Development Current Use money will be paid and the Conservation Commission will get $25,000 for 2015. The $25,000 for 2014 is in question because it was paid in 2015 but it seems likely that WCC should get some of the 2014 money.
- Tullar wants to start a process of putting an Easement on property that will be coming up for sale on Prospect Hill. This property would almost connect the Academy Ravine with Hooper.
- Annual dues for NH Association of Conservation Commissions was previously approved for payment and will be submitted to the Town for payment. Nick Coates has resigned as Executive Director; his interim Director Emily Lord has also moved on.
- The Hooper Institute has taken down a gate and is offering it to the Conservation Commission. Shelley and Mr. Palmiotto believe that it would be useful at the Fanny Mason Forest. The Trustees will be notified of this opportunity; as well as the building of a kiosk at Fanny Mason.
- Research on Class 6 roads has revealed that Scoville Road was discontinued from Society Gate to the Surry line in 1928 by Maryanne Tatum. Also the Stage Road was discontinued quite a long time ago.
- Merriam Farms was sold and closed 12/31/15 to Dan Morgan, abutter, except for two 3 acre lots in Surry. He put it all under Conservation Easement.
Mr. Speed moved that the meeting be adjourned at 8:59pm. Mr. Peska seconded, and the motion passed with all in favor.
The next meeting will be Monday, February 1, 2016.
Elaine Heleen, Recording Secretary
NOTE: These are unapproved minutes with corrections to be found in the minutes of the next meeting.