Harrisville Conservation Commission
February 6, 2019
The Harrisville Conservation Commission met for its regular meeting on Wednesday, February 6, 2019 at Town Offices, 705 Chesham Road.
Members present: Harry Wolhandler, Winston Sims, Kathy Scott (from 8:50 pm), Les LaMois
Members absent: Andrea Polizos
Members of the public: Don Scott
Members unanimously approved the agenda with addition of a discussion of Earth Day.
Minutes of 1/2/2019
Members voted unanimously to approve as submitted.
Conservation Fund Warrant Article
Members reviewed Mr. Wolhandler’s draft handout explaining the Conservation Fund Warrant Article, information which will be made available for all voters on Town Meeting Day and before that via hard copies at the Town Offices and via posting on the website. The HCC reiterated that the purpose of the Warrant Article is to ease restrictions on the use of the existing funds in order to better fund conservation commission initiatives enabled by NH RSA 36-A. Members moved, seconded and voted unanimously to approve Mr. Wolhandler’s draft, with the repositioning of one section to the forefront of the document.
Discussion of HCC submission to Town Report
Mr. Wolhandler also shared adraft HCC Report for 2018 for submission to the Annual Town Report. The draft includes highlights of the year’s activities and accomplishments and objectives for 2019. All voted in favor to approve the draft report as written.
Amphibian Crossing Program Promotion– Given Andrea Polizos’s absence, the group limited discussion to ideas for placement of posters around town and on the website to promote the program, as well as email notification prior to the training in June. HCC will continue to discuss at its next meeting.
NH State Wetlands Rules Revisions
Winston Sims updated members on discussion surrounding legislative action, particularly surrounding issue of setbacks in wetlands areas. Deadline for public comment was January 18. Group discussed that ordinance setback requirements in other towns vary with depending on the proposal. Currently, Harrisville’s only requirement relates to septic systems, for which 70’ setback is required. Don Scott noted that most towns in Massachusetts have requirements anywhere from 20 feet to 100 feet, with major construction required to be beyond 100 feet. Mr. Scott will share with the HCC language from MASS rules, as the Ordinance Revision Committee in the coming year will consider possible revision to Harrisville ordinances. The final legislation proposal in NH expected in April.
Planning for Local Effects of Climate Change
Mr. Wolhandler attended the recent Resilient Water Features presentation. A link to presentation is here: http://www.communityresilience-center.org/webinars/built-environment-resilient-water-features/ The HCC discussed what can happen during heavy rains and ideas for how culverts and mitigation design can manage overflow. Mr. Wolhandler suggested that, for roads like Venable Road, possibly cutouts or emergency escape ditches along the sides of the road could be engineered to take overflow into wooded areas and off the road. Mr. Sims suggested that individual property owners consider managing runoff on their own properties, with infiltration basins or other techniques, rather than using roads to distribute water. Mr. Scott suggested additional mitigation options.
Regarding the culvert inventory RFP, drafted by Mr. Scott and which also addresses ditches, Kathy Scott noted that SWRP is reviewing it but that it isn’t likely anything will be done until after Town Meeting. Members also discussed resources for wetland delineation and it was noted that anything more detailed than what already exists, and is available through NH Wetlands Mapper and National Wetland Inventory, needs to be done by a soils scientist.
The question arose about how much regulation the town wants regarding development on or near wetlands. No definitive position taken.
Aquatic Invasive Prevention
The HCC hopes and expects all existing Lake Host programs will be up and running again this summer. A state biologist will conduct weed watcher training at town offices on Saturday, June 22, at 9:00 am, for approximately 1½ hours, with the goal of training boaters, kayakers and fishermen how to identify invasive weeds. Winston Sims recommended looking into DES’s Lake Restoration Fund for funds and resources for the program, which Mr. Wolhandler will do. HCC will advertise the program closer to its occurrence.
Update on easements –none available
HCC Membership & Community Outreach to Conservation-related organizations
Members discussed potential organizations and individuals in town with whom it makes sense to coordinate, including the Agricultural Commission, Rails to Trails, Historic Harrisville and, as occurs, with the Planning and Zoning Boards. The group further discussed ideas for recruiting new members to its commission.
Reports on other town committees
SB – Budget Hearing Tuesday, February 12, at 7:00 pm.
PB – no update other than proposed ordinance amendments prepared for Town Meeting
Earth Day and Roadside Pickup
All agreed bags should be made readily available at various locations in town. Members also discussed ways all roads could be cleaned by keeping a map and a list of street names and program kickoff at the Recycling Center. The HCC aims to have maps and the list of streets available by early April and will prepare and post a project plan and submit it to Common Threads. The item will be put on next month’s agenda for further discussion.
Concern about emails– Kathy Scott requested that no emails related to personal issues be sent as group emails and that all email be restricted to scheduling matters given Right to Know Laws. As Select Board representative, Ms. Scott also stated that professional tag lines or signatures are acceptable.
Meeting adjourned at 8:58 pm.