Conservation Commission Meeting Minutes – 11/5/18

Members Present:

Alicia Flammia (Chair), Steven Dumont, Lewis Shelley, Jackie Kensen, Duncan Watson

Alternates Present:

Peter Palmiotto, Kelli Wilson, Elaine Heleen,

Members Absent:

Gary Speed, Myra Mansouri, John Peska (Vice Chair), Laura Hayes

Others Present:

Peggy Pschirrer (Selectboard Representative)

Call to Order: Alicia called the meeting to order at 7:28 PM. 

Seating of Alternates: No seating of alternates required.

 

Review and approve minutes – November 5, 2018. Peter made a motion to approve as written. Duncan seconded. All in favor.

 

Public Business:

1. Treasury: Alicia did not have balances for the local accounts. As of Oct. 31, the expendable portion of the Fanny Mason account is $445,451.13. The non-expendable fund is $15,566.16.
2. Correspondence:
a. NH DES Drinking & Groundwater Newsletter.
b. Monadnock Conservancy Newsletter.

 

New Business: none.

 

Old Business:

1. Walker Road Property: Alicia wrote the letter to accept the land and dropped it off. Alicia also submitted a request to the trustees of the trust funds for up to $100,000 from the expendable Fanny Mason account. Alicia also submitted the request for $9,000 from the Mason fund, to go to the Monadnock Conservancy, for the conservation easement for Peter Graves land. Peter noted that we may not need the total $100,000 from the Mason fund for the Walker Road Property, and wondered if it comes back to the conservation commission. Alicia stated that she needed to submit a number, so she requested the full amount. Steven presented a printout of the Go Fund Me page for the property. Steven pointed out that he was concerned that there may not be incentive to raise over the $280,000 if the fundraising reaches that amount, and so the Mason fund may not get back money. Also he asked how the page works, as Go Fund Me takes out a very small portion of every donation and a percentage of the total donations. Peter said that there have been lots of discussions within the fundraising group, and they do believe they will raise over $280,000 regardless. He also believes we need to be honest about the total amount we have raised. He stated that direct donations to the town do not have fees taken out by Go Fund Me, and that the majority of the funds raised have not been through the website. The fundraising has been successful so far and they are pushing to get more donors. Peter has been speaking with multiple people, including Ryan Owens from the MC, as well as the head of the NH Association of Conservation commissions, about the best way to protect the land. The consensus seems to be that because the deed to the town discusses conservation, and because some of the funds used to purchase the property came from a fund that is to be used for conservation, the land is protected enough. Peggy noted that there are other RSA’s that protect the land as open space, and there is not a need for a conservation easement.
2. Peter Graves Easement/MC: Alicia submitted $9,000 request for funds from Fanny Mason, and will request $1,000 from the conservation fund via Rich Kriessle. Alicia notified Stacy and let her know they are coming.
3. Great Brook/Boggy Meadow Farm: Alicia updated the lease agreement with input from the last meeting. She also updated the agreement with information from Marcus and is meeting him on Thursday to finalize the agreement. Alicia included Marcus’s lease agreement with his tenants. Alicia would like to finish this off but is looking for final input. There was some concern about the language in Marcus’s agreement about clearing out the outlying woodlands, specifically “encroaching timbers”, and what is maintenance vs. what is small logging. The agreement does mention that the maintenance be done annually. Alicia will discuss the the specifics with Marcus and report back if it needs further clarification.
4. Reservoir Dam: John is not in attendance but the WCC had approved invoices from last meeting. There has been some communication between the engineers and Mark Houghton which John would understand more fully.
5. Town Conservation Report/Maps: Laura not in attendance but Peter reminded us that there is a shared Google document that has the easements listed. Peter mentioned there are acquisition dates added which can help us track progress. He presented a wall map again, which he would like to update annually. Peter has added roads and waterways, and also conservation lands around Walpole. The background parcel map is a little out of date but is the best that can be done. They have also added school, cemetery, and town owned land to the map. Peter mentioned there is some missing information from North Walpole that Gary had discussed at the last meeting. It is a larger plot of land off Main Street. There is also the North Walpole Village Park which could be added. Steven mentioned that if we have some town owned land on the map, we should include all. Peter asked that if anyone has any information to reach out to him or Laura and it can be added. Steven volunteered to track down lands in North Walpole. Duncan made a motion to pay Antioch for the amount of $330.50. Lew seconded. All in favor.
6. Fannie Mason Feasibility Study: Lew has completed the study and handed out copies. It is feasible to build trails on the property. Lew split the property into three different areas. There are some existing trails that would be easy to piece back together. On the southern end there are some larger streams which would be more difficult to cross. Lew’s biggest recommendation is to focus in the trails that are there for now with an eye towards expansion at a later date. Lew would like to see an adjacent property, the Whitcomb property, be included. Alicia presented an invoice from Lew to the WCC in the amount of $850. Duncan made a motion and Steven seconded. All in favor. Lew will send out a PDF copy electronically. Steven to leave the study on the agenda to discuss what to do now that we have a plan.
7. Forest Society Easement Monitoring: Jackie submitted the reports. 
8. Champion Black Oak, Mill Pond Signage: Kelli went to visit the tree. She posted some pictures and mentioned that there was quite a bit of interest from other residents. She thinks the sign might be a good idea. Lew made a motion to purchase the sign. Steven seconded. Steven will contact the Big Tree Program to have the sign made.
9. Nelson Town Forest Easement Monitoring: Rebecca from the MC walked the easement. Did not notify the WCC so no assistance was needed.
10. Open Positions: Connecticut River Joint Commissions, Cold River Local Advisory: Positions still open. Sarah may have publicized somewhere. Alicia will reach out to Lil and Ray for publication in the Clarion and the Walpolean. Kelli suggested that the CRLAC and the CRJC do the legwork in regards to getting the information to publishers. 
11. Trail Work: pushed out until February.
12. NHACC Membership dues: put off voting and submission for payment until January.
13. Barry 4-H Conservation Camp: no update. John to reach out to student from last year and see if he’s still interested. 
14. Watershed Town Forest Management Plan: Alicia has baseline easement documentation and some other information but does not have a forest management plan, which has been requested from the MC as part of their easement documentation. She is also not sure where any files went regarding the recent timber harvest. Alex from Longview Foresters is looking for that information. Peter P. will call Peter R. and see what he has. 

 

Other Business:

1. Alicia just got the rapid assessment report for the Hooper Forest. She handed out copies. Longview is looking for review and comment, and if the assessment is ok, they will send an invoice for payment. Peter noted that there is a grid of points on the assessment map and he was unsure of what they are for. He would like to know more about them for the next assessment. Lew and Jackie described where they went. Steven thinks it is a well written assessment and a great document to start off with for a relatively small amount of work. Alicia will ask about what the points are used for and ask him to describe what his methods. Peter would also like to know if we go ahead with management, what the next steps are and what the efforts would be. Peter remembers a rapid assessment being a good start but was wondering if we now have a full management plan done or do we stick with the assessment, and if/when we would do logging. Steven pointed out he has included some dates and sections which could be logged. Alicia will follow up the questions.
2. Steven found some paperwork from Peter Rhodes regarding the logging of the Watershed Town Forest. There is a letter from January 2018, mentioning Peter mailed the final stumpage payment to the selectboard office. The final payment brings the total timber harvest value to $56,000. It mentions a letter from April 2017 with other details about the harvest. It also reminds the WCC to contact Peter as he has a large number of files which can go to the next forest manager. Peter P. to track down.
3. Peter P. asked if anyone could name the dairy farms in Walpole. Jackie named the five dairy farms still in town. Peter mentioned that the conservation plan discusses active farms, and is wondering if the WCC should lead discussion and protection of the dairy farms. Alicia recommended that we expand it to all farms and farming activities. Peggy mentioned Stacy from the MC focuses on farms and helping farmers keep their properties. Alicia can speak with Amanda Littleton who is involved with the Monadnock Farm & Community Coalition. Someone from their organization may be able to come and do a presentation to a broader audience, not just farmers. Elaine mentioned the Hooper Institute is also a good resource. Duncan mentioned the High School could also be involved. Further discussion at the next meeting.
4. Brownfield Cleanup: Peggy briefly discussed the process and grants being applied for at the brownfield site in downtown Walpole. Alicia offered help in reviewing/drafting the grant paperwork. Peggy to discuss more at next meeting.

 

Adjournment: At 9:12 Duncan made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Alicia seconded. Meeting adjourned.

Next Meeting: Monday, January 7, 2019 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 January 7, 2019.

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