Conservation Committee Meeting Minutes – 4/2/18

Members Present:

Alicia Flammia (Chair), Jackie Kensen, Lew Shelley, Laura Hayes, John Peska (Vice Chair),

Alternates Present:

Myra Mansouri, Peter Palmiotto, Elaine Heleen,

Members Absent:

Gary Speed, Kelli Wilson, Duncan Watson

Others Present:

Peggy Pschirrer, (Selectboard Representative), Steven Dumont (Recording Secretary), Holly Gowdy (Guest)

Call to Order: Alicia Flammia, Chair, called the meeting to order at 7:34 PM.

Seating of Alternates: Myra Mansouri was seated as a regular member.

Review and approve minutes – March 5, 2018. No corrections. Lew made a motion to accept the minutes as written. John seconded. With all in favor, the minutes were accepted.

Public Business:

1. Treasury: Alicia has not emailed Tom for the PDIP account balances but will for next month. The Conservation fund has $148.92 and the Forestry account has $1,502.66. The Fanny Mason Forest accounts (2) have $311,604.70 and $12,343.78.

2. Correspondence:

a. Garland Lumber sent a check to the Town of Walpole for $765.90 for the remaining timber tax invoice.

b. Peter Rhodes second and final bill was approved.

c. Request for mowing at Cranberry Meadow.

d. Monadnock Conservancy Newsletter.

New Business:

1. Holly Gowdy was in attendance. She purchased the Ballam Farm property, about 30 acres, which is under a conservation easement. This property also includes about 4 acres around the town well. It is a certified organic farm, and she has been bringing in good soil to improve the fertility. This land was previously operated by tenant farmers and has been in decline. The woodlands around the fields have been growing into the fields for many years and have not been maintained. Holly is looking for advice and approval to bring in a forester to clear the trees back to their original position and restore the fields. This also includes invasive species removal. There are dangerous trees which are rotting and have the possibility of falling down in a storm. The cleanup and removal process is more than they can handle themselves, which is why they need a professional. After the clearing, they will be able to maintain the fields themselves with small equipment. The WCC holds the easement and the county forester got in touch with Alicia. Alicia reviewed the easement documents and it allows for clearing out trees for maintenance needs. The discussion is whether logging is allowed. Jackie has walked the easement and also reviewed the easement language. It allows for maintenance and clearing but does not allow commercial logging. Holly is not looking to do commercial logging or make a profit from the proceeds. The wood that is removed would be payment to the logger (Chris Ricci) to cover his costs for the work. The work would be out of the area of the shoreline protection act boundaries. Peter pointed out that there are ostrich ferns in that area close to the river as well. Holly has taken note and will make sure to stay clear of any sensitive areas. Jackie made a motion to allow the Gowdy’s to clear the land in accordance with the easement requirements and to improve the agricultural aspects of the property. John seconded. All approved.

Old Business:

1. Reservoir Dam: John has heard back from Nobis engineering out of Concord NH. They are interested in doing a proposal. They recommend we hire them as a “town engineer” to do the interface with the NH DES. They believe the remediation work may be in the $200,000 – $300,000 range. Dubois & King previously submitted a proposal for about $18,000 for the assessment work only. Haley Aldrich, M&W Soils & VHB have all declined. Lew would like to clarify that the “town engineer” role is not a permanent role, and is for this project only. John will email the proposals out to all members. The WCC has been getting letters of deficiency from the NH DES since about 2011, and Peggy noted the dam is high on Walpole’s hazard mitigation list, so there is a need to move forward with this work.

2. Walpole Easement Database: Laura has spent time going through the files in the file cabinets and is working on the report. She will send a list of easements she does not have files for. Some agencies are going away from paper copies of records so there may be some missing information. The files are also not well marked so it is taking some time. Laura would like some folders and other office supplies. Alicia asked Laura to send her a list and she will order them for her. Laura would also like a copy of a key for the conference room so she can spread out files and work more efficiently. Alicia will get her a copy.

3. Fannie Mason Feasibility Study: Lew has done two walks and has started the mapping. He should have a draft report to review for the next meeting.

4. Long View Forest Walk: Scheduled for Thursday April 26th, 1:00 – 3:00 PM.

5. Bill Callahan Land Survey: Alicia gave approval for Eric Peabody from Greentop Survey to do the survey work.

6. Town Conservation Maps: Peter has given this to Laura to work on them.

7. WCC Appointments: John and Myra submitted letters to the selectboard. It is unknown whether Kelli has submitted.

8. Cold River Land Donation: Donald Rounds has retracted his offer of donating land to the town and is looking at selling the land to a neighbor.

9. WCC Outing Day: Meet May 5th at 9:30 AM, at the end of Scoville Road just before the tower. Should take about 1 ½ – 2 hours to walk both loops. Members and families are welcome.

10. Trail Work Day: Scheduled for Saturday April 28th, 9:00 to 11:00 AM. Meet at Mill Pond parking lot. Lew thinks the Walpole School, the Boy Scouts and potentially a local mountain bike group may be interested, along with the WCC. Lew would like approximately two people from each group to limit the attendees. It is also the same day as the Walpole Green Up Day. Lew recommends long pants and shirts, gloves and some tools. After the meeting, Lew sent out an email with more detail.

Other Business:

1. Discussion of upcoming April 10th Zoning Board meeting regarding variance requests for new gas station and coop projects, and whether at this point the WCC should take a stance on the proposals. Peter noted that based on the Natural Resource Inventory, the areas that would be affected are areas of concern. Peggy noted that the WCC has every right to make its collective opinion known and take a stance on the merits of the projects. Peggy noted that as Walpole residents we also have the right to make personal opinions known. Laura noted that the USDA has an online soil mapping tool available. Peter noted that the NRI also has that information. Peggy mentioned that if someone is to speak at the coming meeting, to identify yourself and speak clearly. Alicia thinks it would be prudent to draft a letter from the WCC stating their position, and submit it at the next meeting.

2. Steven asked again about becoming an alternate member on the WCC. Alicia suggested writing a letter of interest to the selectboard to start the formal process.

Adjournment: John made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Lew seconded. Meeting adjourned.

Next Meeting: Monday, May 7, 2018 at 7:30 PM.

Respectfully submitted; Steven Dumont, Recording Secretary

Note: These are unapproved minutes. Corrections, if any, will be found in the minutes of May 7, 2018.

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