Conservation Commission Meeting Minutes – 10/1/18

Members Present:

John Peska (Vice Chair), Jackie Kensen, Laura Hayes, Steven Dumont, Lewis Shelley

Alternates Present:

Elaine Heleen, Kelli Wilson, Duncan Watson was 4

Members Absent:

Peter Palmiotto, Gary Speed, Alicia Flammia (Chair), Myra Mansouri

Others Present:

Peggy Pschirrer (Selectboard Representative)


Call to Order: John called the meeting to order at 7:35 PM.

Seating of Alternates: No seating of alternates required.

Review and approve minutes – September 10, 2018. Kelli noted that she was in attendance at the meeting. Lew voted to approve the minutes as corrected. Laura seconded. All in favor.


Public Business:

1. Treasury: No information from PDIP or Savings accounts. Printout from Fanny Mason Trust funds was passed around. There is record of a transaction of $1,292.50 removed from the Conservation account. This was for Peter Rhode’s invoice. John noted this should have been removed from the Forestry account. John will correct with the bank.
2. Correspondence:
a. Cheshire County sent a deed for the Callahan property, dated August 27th. Transfer of property is complete. Now a part of the Fanny Mason Forest.
b. NH Association of Conservation Commissions is holding a conference on the 3rd of November. Information passed around.
c. NH Big Tree Program sent a letter congratulating the town of Walpole for possessing the Cheshire County Champion Black Oak. It is in the Mill Pond area. The parameters and specifications of the tree are listed. A map was also included. A certificate of appreciation is included addressed to the Town of Walpole. For a $20 fee they will provide a 5×7 engraved sign to place on the tree. There are two other “significant” trees in the Mill Pond area. John asked if we invest $20 for a sign. Decision tabled for further discussion.
d. NH DES Drinking and Groundwater Supply Lines within the Source newsletter was distributed.
e. John gave Steven all the files on the dam property for him to start a folder.
f. Kelli Wilson’s appointment notice has been sent back to the WCC and it is now official.


New Business:

1. Forest Society Easement Monitoring: Steven read an email from the Forest Society to Alicia reminding us that we need to monitor two properties, the Aldrich, Wright Hudson easement and the Graves easement. They have an online process to submit the reports. Needs to be done before Dec. 31. The Forest Society has executory interest and the WCC has primary interest. Jackie has walked the Aldrich easement but has not yet completed the form. She has not walked the Graves easement but is happy to do so. Laura would like to accompany her. Jackie will contact Laura. Connie Colton is the contact. Lew will contact Connie to determine where the easement is located.
2. NH DES sent a Minimum Impact Forestry Notification approval for a property in Walpole, tax map 11 and lot number 50. Property on March Hill Road. Application is for wetland work and is already approved. Applicant did not apply for an expedited permit. 
3. Connecticut River Joint Commissions, Wantastiquet Subcommittee; 2 open positions. Alicia noted in an email that Jennifer Palmiotto is a good candidate but she’s unsure of her interest. No other ideas for candidates. 
4. Cold River Local Advisory: open position. Duncan served for a couple years but is quite busy and said he is not the best candidate. Duncan has recruited people before. He knows some neighbors that he could ask to see if they’re interested. They have river frontage. Duncan will inquire around.
5. Request from Marcy Galloway for someone to speak with the Walpole senior group about trails, easement etc. Marcy was a member of the WCC for many years. Lew volunteered and will be talking with them in November. 


Old Business:

1. Great Brook Farm Easement – Monadnock Conservancy: no update from John. Steven read an email from Stacy to Alicia asking for an update on the $10,000 request for funds for the Graves property. Stacy would like to know soon so they can pursue other funds if we decide not to contribute. John reminded the commission of the discussion we had at the last meeting, including putting a cap on funds we contribute to projects like this. Elaine reminded the commission that putting a cap on these contributions could handicap us in the future. John mentioned his hesitation to contribute funds towards stewardship given the large amount of funds the MC has for stewardship. Peggy does not think the fund is a great deal of money if you take into account all the easements they are monitoring and tasked with protecting. Peggy noted she is on the board of directors and may be biased but she believes stewardship is one of the most important parts of the process. Steven noted that Stacy was asking for 4% of the total they need to raise, and that she did not specify what it was going towards specifically. Kelli wanted to know how many other possible projects we may have to contribute towards in the near future. John noted that we have not been consistent with what we have contributed towards easements, and that we don’t have a set policy. Lew noted we have had an unwritten policy to contribute to surveys and legal fees only. Steven asked how often our conservation fund is contributed towards and Peggy noted that every year we potentially get $26,000. Duncan said it’s unfortunate that we couldn’t tap into the Fanny Mason funds for easements like these. Peggy noted that the Mason agreement was amended in the year 2000 and has two amendments. The first is for abutting lands and the second is for other nearby land. There was question on who has the authority to withdraw funds from the Fanny Mason trust funds. Duncan put forth a proposal to donate $1,000 from the Walpole conservation fund for the Graves easement and pursue funding through other sources, not to exceed $9,000. Elaine seconded the motion. Lew asked how much we have in the conservation fund total. Steven & John noted it is about $100,000. Lew asked if anyone would consider $5,000 from the conservation fund and $5,000 through other sources. Steven and Laura would consider. Peggy found the wording for the Mason funds. Reading from the document, it says “the trustees of the trust funds are authorized to use the Mason funds to purchase lands directly abutting the Mason forest for the purpose of gaining access to the Mason forest for forestry management, protection of wildlife, protection of the watershed for Great Brook and the Connecticut River, and increase recreational and educational programs, opportunities, use the Mason fund to purchase land and/or conservation easements on lands surrounding but not necessarily abutting the Mason forest for the purposes listed above, and any such purchase contemplated in paragraph A & B, shall be accomplished with the advise and consent of the Walpole Conservation Commission and the board of selectmen”. The recommendation to the trustees falls upon the WCC and the selectboard. Duncan’s motion was brought back before the commission. All are in favor. Motion approved to donate $1,000 from the Walpole conservation fund for the Graves easement and to pursue funding through other sources, specifically the Mason fund, not to exceed $9,000. Steven will email Alicia and let her know to email Stacy.
2. Great Brook/Boggy Meadow: No update as Alicia was not in attendance.
3. Reservoir Dam: John noted that on Sept. 19th, a preliminary inspection was conducted. The final work by Mark Houghton was completed prior to the inspection. Fuss & O’Neill has to come back to finish some assessment work and will compile recommendations in a report.
4. Walpole Easement Database: Laura will recirculate the spreadsheet. She is looking for input on easements that are not on the list. Steven suggested the list is a living document and the commission can add potential easements or easements that are in the works.
5. Fannie Mason Feasibility Study: Lew to update in November.
6. Town Conservation Maps: No update from Peter.
7. Event Reminders: Cheshire County Conservation Commission Potluck, Oct. 2, & Cheshire County Conservation District Annual Meeting, Oct. 24.


Other Business:

1. Peggy noted a woman who walks behind the RN Johnson barn across from the Bellows Walpole Inn has expressed concern that the road has been blocked by cars being parked in the road. Lew will touch base with her.
2. Trail Work: Lew mentioned the end of November might be a good time to get some trail work done. Date and details TBD at next meeting.
3. Walker Road Property/D&C Transportation: Discussion about upcoming Planning Board meeting. John made a motion for Alicia to re-read the letter from the WCC to the planning board. Duncan seconded. All in favor.


Adjournment: At 8:52 Duncan made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Steven seconded. Meeting adjourned.

Next Meeting: Monday, November 5, 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 November 5, 2018.

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