Conservation Commission Meeting Minutes 9/9/19

 

Members Present: Laura Hayes, Lewis Shelley, Alicia Flammia (Chair), France Menk, Steven Dumont (Recording Secretary)

 

Alternates Present: Peter Palmiotto, Myra Mansouri, Elaine Heleen, 

 

Members Absent: John Peska (Vice Chair), Kelli Wilson, Gary Speed, Jackie Kensen

 

Others Present: Cheryl Mayberry (Selectboard Representative),

 

Call to Order: Alicia called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM. 

 

Seating of Alternates: none required.

 

Laura voted to approve the minutes of August 5, 2019. France seconded. All in favor.

 

Public Business:

1. Treasury: PDIP account balances as follows; Conservation – $132,201.16. Forestry – $36,328.02. Walker Road – $4,461.67. Mason Trust Expendable – $408,072.39, non-expendable – $17,057.27.
2. Correspondence:
a. Jackie and Peter appointment letters.

 

New Business: 

1. Tucker Burr Conservation Agreement: there was an email from a realtor about the Tucker Burr property. There was an easement on the property, but no information on our spreadsheet or on the NH Granite system. It is on our conservation map. Prior to the meeting, the WCC found the paper file in our records. The paperwork is from 2001. It is a conservation agreement, not an easement, between the town and the owner. It was noted the WCC needs to notify NH Granite whenever we enter into an agreement on a property for an easement where we are the main easement holder. The Monadnock Conservancy, for example, notifies the state when they enter into agreements. Sarah Downing asked us if we have a master list of properties which we are the primary easement holder, and what our responsibilities are on those easements. This is why Laura was contracted to develop the database. The WCC is supposed to monitor the Tucker Burr property annually. The property is supposed to be maintained for farm or forest uses. We do not have to submit paperwork to anyone but should write an annual report. The realtor should be able to find the agreement when they do a deed search. Alicia discussed the need to have a master list of easement properties with our responsibilities. This list would be separate from the database Laura has come up with. It could be an annual checklist for the WCC. Need to add an agenda item for next month.
2. NH DOT Church Street Bridge: the state is doing work in 2020, and is asking for any concerns relative to the project, specifically if we have any preferred or priority mitigation efforts that the DOT should use to evaluate their project if there are mitigation steps that need to be taken. Alicia noted that Nashua NH for example has guides for specific types of work. She asked if Walpole has any guidelines. The answer was no. Alicia asked if she should send them our conservation plan? The state is using their own guidelines. They are redecking the bridge. Alicia will respond and let them know we do not have any guidelines.
3. Hooper Forest Invasive Species: Alicia was in contact with Alex about the three remaining rapid assessments. Alicia received one and will forward it. Alex reminded Alicia that if we want to do invasive species removal at Hooper, now is the time to think about scheduling and a budget. Alicia looked back at her notes and saw that we wanted to get an idea of the dam work costs before we address invasive species. Steven added that we also want to look at all the forests and see if there are any priorities or other invasives before we tackle one forest. Lew noted he has sent Alex GPS files of the trails for the Mason Forest. Alex also wants to come in on a quarterly basis and keep us updated and answer any questions. Alicia will contact Alex. Cheryl reminded the WCC that any costs relative to maintenance of the Hooper Forest will come from Hooper funds, not from the WCC. If the WCC needs to cover costs of invasive removal at Hooper and get reimbursed by Hooper that can be looked at. 

 

Old Business:

1. Harold Putnam Memorial: the family is discussing language for the bench.
2. Mill Pond Trail Work Recap: the work was done. All the trail was cleared and some new trail cut. Further work will be needed. Some tread work on the upper end is needed. Maybe another morning of work. This year would be preferable. There is also a massive tree that fell after the WCC did work. Steven mentioned we may want to schedule at least one trail work day annually for every trail that the WCC maintains. 
3. Town Website: Steven mentioned that it sounds as if Ryan will be helping Kelli with the website. France has spoken with Sarah and let her know that she would be willing to do the website for a fee, if Sarah can get her some budget information. She is looking into it.
4. Reservoir Dam Work Update: Fuzzy Brothers are submitting three quotes for the culvert work, for three different options. Partial culvert replacement, slip lining the culvert and a concrete spray epoxy. Estimates should be ready for the next meeting. The permit can be submitted after the scope is decided. Cheryl suggested the estimates get sent out to members ahead of time so they can be looked at.
5. Membership: Duncan needs to write a letter and swear in.

 

Other Business:

1. NH Charitable Foundation Robert P. Hubbard Conservation Commission Conservation Fund: Peter researched the fund. Once a year we will get a report and statement. Last February there was about $225,000.00 in the account. In started in 2001 with $100,000.00. Another $100,000.00 was added in November of 2015. It is a completed gift, which cannot be changed. It is for the purpose of raising money for the WCC. Last year the disbursement was about $7,000.00. In 2019 we got $9,150.00. The disbursement is calculated by a percent averaged over 20 quarters. Any money over the average goes back into the fund. Any money under the average goes to us. Their fee is .07% of the fund value. In 2018 it was about $1,591.00. Over the life of the fund so far the WCC has gotten over $100,000.00. The funds go into the Conservation account. They are sent out in February.
2. Walker Road Property: Peter noticed that he heard the Fletchers are not interested in haying. He mentioned Larry Britton was interested in either haying or putting it back into corn, but needs to know asap. Alicia mentioned Chuck also knows someone interested in haying but is not a town resident. Pete’s Stand is also interested in commercially growing vegetables but Alicia mentioned the need to pay taxes. Alicia asked if we are still interested in keeping it organic. She also asked if we are okay with manure, pesticides and herbicides close to the river. The WCC consensus was that we would like to stay away from that, or at least follow best management practices for activities around wetlands and waterbodies. Lew had an idea for a pollinator garden. He recently worked with a company that did a large pollinator garden in Roxbury. It could include a trail through the flowers, with informational signs, or we could include information on the kiosk. Peter showed pictures. It would be a beautiful idea for the Walpole Gateway. Peter made a motion that the WCC ask Moosewood Ecological for a proposal for a pollinator garden in the upper, middle and lower fields. France seconded. All in favor. On a side note, Lew mentioned the kiosk timbers have been ordered.
3. Tools: Lew noted we need to replace a pair of loppers. Cheryl asked if we had the budget spreadsheet. We had reviewed it earlier this year. There is a line item for tools. Steven made a motion to fund a couple new pairs. France seconded.
4. Town Roads: Lew was discussing the recent issue of an old road in town. Lew installed a gate there in the 80’s because he was told the owners owned both sides of the road and therefore the road. Turns out the road is still a Class 6 road and it cannot be locked. The owners would like to see the road remain locked. However, if it is unlocked it could be classified as a class A or B trail which does have restrictions. A neighbor would like to ride a dirt bike on the road. The selectboard is still trying to determine the classification of the road.

 

Adjournment: At 8:41 Lew made a motion to adjourn the meeting. France seconded. Meeting adjourned.

Next Meeting: Monday, October 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 October 7, 2019.

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