Conservation Commission Meeting Minutes -2/4/19

 

Members Present:

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

 

Alternates Present:

Elaine Heleen, Myra Mansouri, Peter Palmiotto, Duncan Watson

 

Members Absent:

Gary Speed, Kelli Wilson

 

Others Present:

Cheryl Mayberry, Alex Barrett (Long View Forest Management), Michael Neerie, Eloise Clark 

 

Call to Order: Alicia called the meeting to order at 7:32 PM. 

 

Seating of Alternates: No seating of alternates required.

 

Review and approve minutes – January 7, 2019. John Peska was in attendance at the January meeting. John would like to add that a public hearing for the Walker Road Property would be held after the town meeting in March. Lew voted to approve as amended. John seconded. All in favor. Minutes approved as amended.

 

Public Business:

1. Treasury: Conservation fund savings is $9,179.96, PDIP is $92,291.60. Forestry savings account is $2,271.18, PDIP is $56,758.30. The Mason expendable fund $370,185.79.
2. Correspondence:
a. Note from Monadnock Conservancy thanking the WCC for the $1,000 contribution.
b. NH Planning and Land Use Regulation manual came in and is being left in the meeting room.

 

New Business: 

1. Michael Neerie: Michael came two discuss two items. They are putting two properties under easement, 37 acres in Walpole and 21 acres in Alstead. The WCC contributed money to fund the Walpole project. It is on hold because they are under discussion to acquire 30 acres to include in the easement from one neighbor and another 25 acres from a different neighbor. They are going to the planning board to get a lot line adjustment. The additional land is being added to the easement. The second thing he would like to discuss is a land owner collaborative project that is based on a project in Norwood, New Hampshire. There is an area of land in Walpole and Alstead that feeds the Great Brook, the Ashuelot River and the Cold River. They would like to contact all the landowners in that area to let them know about the collaborative and ask landowners what they would like to learn about their property or what they would like help with. This would include things like invasive species training, forestry suggestions or help and information on conservation easements. Michael will keep the WCC updated on both projects.

 

Old Business:

1. Hooper Forest Rapid Assessment: Alex Barrett from Long View Forest Management was in attendance to discuss the assessment he did on the Hooper Forest. Eloise Clark from the Hooper Institute was also in attendance. Alex discussed the walk he completed with members of the WCC and his approach to doing rapid assessments. There are five main types of forest on the property, including oak, white and red pine, mixed woods and a forest swamp. There is also a lean-to which is used by the Hooper Institute. There are some invasives, specifically bittersweet. Alicia asked about taking care of the invasives. Alex noted that Long View can treat the invasives, or they could put together a request for proposals to send out to others. The treatment would be done over the course of a few years. Alicia asked if Eloise had any comments or anything she was looking to be done to the property. Eloise was happy with the report. She would like the red pine around the shelter to be left untouched. She thinks some other areas could use some patch cutting. Alex mentioned that Long View can do forestry work themselves, or they can put together a comprehensive request for proposals for other foresters to bid on. Peter mentioned that any monetary proceeds from forestry goes to the Hooper Institute, and he questioned who is responsible to pay for any services the forest needs, like invasive work or forest management. Alicia agreed that before anything is done we need to study that. John is concerned that the amount of money we are spending lately, with the reservoir dam and other projects, is very high and that we need to keep an eye on our funds and prioritize. Lew mentioned that we also have a lot of other forests which could use work, including rapid assessments. Alex discussed the list of forests and the priority level of each that the WCC identified when Long View was first hired. Long View has now done 4 out of the 9 highlighted forests. Alex discussed the Reservoir Forest. The northern boundary is not well defined. There are some sections which could use some forest management. John filled Alex in on the reservoir dam project. Alex recommends that Forest Management Plans generally be done at most every 10 years but that is not done very often. Steven thinks it’s a good idea to get the big picture on all the town forests before the WCC starts a forestry project. Cheryl suggests that the WCC starts doing rapid assessments. Alex suggests 3 or 4 rapid assessments. He suggests the Reservoir Forest, the Fanny Mason and the March/Nelson forest. The WCC will get in touch with Alex after the March meeting to let him know what they decide. 
2. Walker Road Property Update: Alicia got in touch with the selectboard about the savings account. They are okay with the Walker Road account being set up, and if there is enough money we could add a PDIP account. Under $10,000 they suggest leaving as savings. She also called the town attorney’s office and left a message with them asking for guidance on the deed language. Alicia noted that the attorney’s fee is $245/hour. The WCC does not have a legal fee line item so it would be billed to the town and the WCC would reimburse. Alicia found out that the WCC has a budget worksheet which she had never seen before. Lew and John remember seeing them and discussing them annually. Any funds not used in a budget year get rolled back into the general fund. Alicia told the lawyer’s office that the WCC would like him to meet with the WCC in person or via email to discuss the language. She is awaiting a reply. John spoke with Fish & Game. He understands that if there is interest in a boat launch or river access, the Fish & Game could take over the property. Lew asked if we could pick a date for the public tour. It was decided that the public tour/open house be held on Saturday May 11th. Alicia mentioned a gentleman that was volunteering to plant wildflower seeds in the upper field. Members of the WCC did not think it was a good idea as the field is currently setup for organic hay. The WCC discussed again the process which a landowner can lease land from the town as long as they pay taxes on the portion of land they are using.
3. Community Farming Initiative: tabled until next meeting.
4. Reservoir Dam: John has not gotten the updated report from Fuss & O’Neill. He will forward to the WCC if he gets it before the next meeting. There is an invoice from Gove Environmental Services in the amount of $1,244.95 for wetlands delineation. John made a motion to pay the invoice and Duncan seconded. All in favor. Money to come from the Forestry savings account.
5. Fannie Mason Feasibility Study: Lew sent a revised report to Alicia. Alicia to send out to WCC members. 
6. Watershed Town Forest Management Plan: no update.

 

Other Business:

1. Trail Work Day: Saturday April 13th at 9:00 AM. Work to start on the Mason forest, rest area parking spot. 

 

Adjournment: At 9:10 Duncan made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Alicia seconded. Meeting adjourned.

Next Meeting: Monday, March 4, 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 March 4, 2019.

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