The Harrisville Conservation Commission held its regular monthly meeting at Town Offices at 705 Chesham Road on Wednesday, October 4, 2017.

Members present: Winston Sims, Andrea Polizos, Jay Jacobs Selectman
Members absent: Harry Wolhandler and Les LaMois

The meeting opened at 7:00 pm.

Following Winston Sims’s request to move the third item up to item #1, the group approved the agenda.

Meeting Minutes of September 6, 2017
Andrea Polizos moved to accept the minutes as written. Jay Jacobs seconded. All voted in favor.

Don Scott presentation of proposal for Silver Lake shoreline improvements and erosion control
Seaver Silver Lake Land Trust seeks to make improvements to the shoreline bank to correct erosion and hired Mr. Scott to seek the necessary approvals and conduct the work. In approaching the board and presenting his plan, Mr. Scott expressed hope the Conservation Commission could contribute to the cost. He noted he awaits a Wetland Permit signature from the property owner as well as the state and that there is some confusion in this process regarding ownership of the particular parcels.

The group discussed which portion of the property was town-owned, and which was state-owned, and what permissions that would require. They also discussed that the purpose of the project is to control the public access point to the lake in order to prevent further sediment runoff into the water and to maintain a stabilized shorefront. Mr. Scott explained that the public access points via the two sets of stairs would remain open but that a proposed split-rail fence and revegetation would protect the sloped area currently eroded. Jay Jacobs encouraged Mr. Scott to discuss the proposal with the Select Board before proceeding with the necessary applications. Further discussion involved possible funding options, whether through the Seaver Silver Lake Land Trust, the HCC and the town or a combination, should the town be agreeable to the project. Mr. Scott later noted that some funding has already been provided by the state through its program, SOAKS.

Mr. Scott then provided further details of the proposal, including using terraced timbers, reestablishing the boulder-lined shorefront, with the boulders providing steps into the lake, and adding a graveled pathway and planting native plants to stabilize what had been a grassy area to improve filtration, control runoff, and prevent straight-line access to the lake.  The group discussed which areas currently are more stable than others and where the public tends to access the water. They also noted the state’s objectives regarding access to waterfront. Mr. Scott stated he would identify the proper parties at the state level from whom he needs approvals, as well as approach the Select Board, before returning to the HCC.

Community Conversation – Report on Water in the Public Trust
Mr. Sims noted that the report has not yet prepared.

LSA Request for Funds under Warrant Article
Winston Sims explained that the Skatutakee Lake Association, given its expenditures this year to repair the dam as well as its outlay of $1,080 for the Lake Host Program, is seeking relief through outside funding to defray expenses. Given the $3,000 allotted through the Warrant Article to the Conservation Commission to combat invasive species, which is the goal of the Lake Host Program, Mr. Sims asked members if they agreed a contribution to SLA was a good use of the appropriated funds. They unanimously agreed. All voted in favor to contribute $1,080 of the Warrant Article funds to the SLA to cover the cost of its outlay for Lake Host staff.

Culvert Assessment
Andrea Polizos and Winston Sims updated the group on a recent meeting of the NHACC, at which the topic of river connectivity was discussed; specifically, the design of culverts, where possible, to allow for movement of water species between lakes and rivers and streams. The idea is in the preliminary stages, and nothing further was discussed.

Permitting Process
Jay Jacobs noted the subject will probably arise at Land Use Board Heads Meeting but that he didn’t think the agenda for that meeting was available. Mr. Jacobs referred to the town’s Land Use Policy document, drafted and approved in April 2013, stating it was a guide developed for residents navigating the planning and zoning process.  Mr. Sims then asked Mr. Jacobs in what ways he believes the HCC could be useful to the Select Board in the permitting process, Mr. Jacobs stated that, in certain cases, the HCC could serve in an advisory capacity on an application, but that he doesn’t feel that being part of every application was necessary or advisable. Andrea Polizos voiced her concern that the HCC serves as the only voice of conservation and protection and she sees the HCC’s role as advising boards on conservation matters in ecologically sensitive areas. Jay Jacobs expressed concern that more involvement doesn’t necessarily mean an improved, or more efficient, permitting process.

HCC By-laws
Concerning a proposed set of by-laws for the HCC, Andrea Polizos and Winston Sims noted the subcommittee has met twice and the project is in process.

Meeting adjourned at 8:25 pm.