Conservation Commission Meeting Minutes – 10/7/19

Members Present: Laura Hayes, Lewis Shelley, Alicia Flammia (Chair), France Menk, Steven Dumont (Recording Secretary), John Peska (Vice Chair), Jackie Kensen


Alternates Present: Elaine Heleen, Peter Palmiotto


Members Absent: Kelli Wilson, Gary Speed, Myra Mansouri


Others Present: Peggy Pschirrer (Selectboard Representative), Connie Burns, Paula Burdick, Jeff Littleton (Moosewood Ecological)


Call to Order: Alicia called the meeting to order at 7:31 PM. 


Seating of Alternates: none required.


Lew mentioned that in the previous minutes, Old Business, item 4. Town Roads, Michael Nerrie installed the gate with Lew helping. Lew voted to approve the minutes as amended. Laura seconded. All in favor.


Public Business:

1. Treasury: Alicia does not have the account balances.
2. Correspondence:
a. Cheshire County Conservation District Annual Meeting – October 29th. Tom Beaudry is being honored.


New Business: 

1. Easement Property List: Alicia asked if anyone would like to dig into the files and the spreadsheet to see what easements are under the responsibility of the WCC for monitoring and or reporting. No one was interested. Decided to wait until next month.
2. Second Mill Pond Trail Work Day: discussed the need for removing the downed tree and some additional treadwork on the upper part of the trail. Lew is very busy but he will try to get out when he can to at least remove the tree. Peter mentioned he can help. France also offered assistance.
3. Walker Road Property: Jeffry Littleton from Moosewood Ecological was in attendance to discuss the idea of a pollinator garden at the Walker Road property. Jeff wanted to meet with the WCC to discuss priorities, answer and ask questions, and discuss the process before he provided a proposal. You can seed or plant an area, depending on the look you are trying to achieve. Alicia discussed the layout and soils of the property, and the three separate fields. Jeff would first go do a site visit to see the layout and examine the existing plants, review the solar layout, etc. Jeff can use a standard seed mix or provide a custom seed mix depending on the wants/needs of the commission. He suggests using a standard mix. There is also the process of preparing the site. This can be done with chemicals or done organically. The organic route usually takes a season for the site prep alone. Peter mentioned that we would most certainly use the organic route. Jeff would do a soil analysis to help him determine the mix. He also recommends a shrub border around the exterior of the fields. Lew asked about the Surry project and if the path was installed before the field plantings or the other way around. Jeff mentioned the path was laid out before and he planted around it. Jeff discussed the maintenance requirements, specifically watering. If you install “plugs” you get immediate results but the watering requirements are more frequent. Moosewood can contract to do watering/maintenance or the WCC could do it. Jeff mentioned that fall seeding is the best. There would need to be a full season of plowing and site prepping before the seeding. If we went with plantings, that could take place in June or July of next year, after site prepping. If we are to go with Jeff and his company, he would need a vote and approval to proceed with a planting plan. The site assessment and planting plan would be around $2,000 – $2,500. After, depending on the mix, the plantings and the scope the actual planting, costs are variable. The site also needs to be prepped. Jeff prefers to work with a local farmer or worker to prep the site. A budget from the WCC is also needed. For plantings, Jeff needs to place an order by December of this year. Peter asked for Jeff to send him a copy of what a planting plan looks like. Jeff will send a copy of a plan. Jeff mentioned that seeded fields do not need watering, only natural watering. It also does not need any mowing, just need to keep watch for woody plants growing in. For this year, Jeff needs a contract to spend up to $2,500 for a planting plan. The actual site work would begin next year. Alicia asked if anyone would like to pass a motion to get Jeff started. There was no motion. The WCC asked for more information, including a sample planting plan, and would like to discuss further. Jeff will send and Alicia will share with the WCC ahead of the next meeting,


Old Business:

1. Harold Putnam Memorial: Lew presented the following verbiage to the family; “In honor of Harold S. Putnam and his vision for conservation in the town of Walpole” or “In honor of Harold S. Putnam and his vision of conservation for the town of Walpole”. Both have been discussed with the family. The cost of the bench is $445. The lettering is $569.25 and the installation/delivery is $598 for a total of $1,612.25. If we accept soon, the bench could be installed within the next month. Jackie made a motion to fund the full amount of the bench, in the amount of $1,612.25. John seconded. All in favor. The final location of the bench needs to be determined. Lew will also discuss the location with the Hooper Institute.
2. Town Website: Kelli is not in attendance. France reached out to Sarah Downing.
3. Reservoir Dam Work Update: John spoke with Ben Northcutt from Fuzzy Brothers for an estimate on the three options for the culvert. He is still working on it. There may be a discount if he buys through the state. John also noted that Brian Vincent is no longer employed with Fuss & O’Neill, and he has been our contact person. John and the town need to setup a meeting with the new representative from them. John also let Ben know that we will not have a lot of funds for the project since it is coming from the Forestry account of the WCC and not any specific town funds. John believes he will have estimates within the next few weeks. He will send them out ahead of time if they come in.
4. Membership: waiting for word on Duncan’s membership.


Other Business:

1. Tools: Lew bought tools for trailwork, specifically loppers. The amount was $43.98. John made a motion to reimburse him and Jackie seconded. All in favor.
2. Kiosk at Walker Road: The posts are in. The question was asked if we settled on a name. Steven noted that on July 1 we discussed “The Walpole Gateway” but we did not come up with a final decision. After discussion, it was decided to be “The Walpole Gateway”. Lew then asked if he could incorporate a piece of curved live edge cherry for the name. The consensus was yes. Lew also asked about the lexan panel on the face. Lew will install a sliding panel that can lock in place.
3. Steven mentioned that he would like to step down as the recording secretary, but would still like to be on the commission as a member. Steven will email Sarah to let her know. He will remain on until a replacement is found.


Adjournment: At 9:02 John made a motion to adjourn the meeting. France seconded. Meeting adjourned.

Next Meeting: Monday, November 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 November 4, 2019.

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