Harrisville Conservation Commission
Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Members present: Harry Wolhandler, Kathy Scott, Les LaMois, Don Scott, Winston Sims, Andrea Polizos

Members of the public: Deirdre Oliver, Scott Oliver, Wes Tarr, Pegg Monahan

Meeting opened at 7:05 pm.

Public Hearing – Proposal for Rain Garden at Harrisville Pond Boat Ramp
The meeting opened with a public hearing on the HCC’s proposed project for a Rain Garden, adjacent to the Harrisville Pond boat ramp, to mitigate stormwater runoff. Harry Wolhandler and Don Scott described the proposed project and exhibited a draft plan. They described the proposed location and how the rain garden would help address the flow of water from heavy rains from both directions on Prospect Street and across Silver Road. The rain garden also would protect the boat ramp from erosion. HCC members also described how the project could serve as a valuable education tool, demonstrating to residents a method for enhancing infiltration and mitigating damage from stormwater runoff. Members addressed questions about parking areas, pointing out ways existing spots for vehicles could be maintained to accommodate both boat and kayak traffic. Don Scott described how a channel drain also could be installed between the rain garden and the pond.

The purpose of the hearing was to obtain feedback, which the HCC received. Given the positive response, the HCC considered that the next steps would be to prepare cost estimates for materials and labor and how these might be shared between the HCC and the town, finalize a design plan, and determine the timeline. The HCC hopes to coincide the work with repairs to the Prospect Street culvert, planned for late September or early October, according to the Road Agent.

Winston Sims suggested that a perc test be done before work begins. Harry Wolhandler and Don Scott noted the gravel bed is the important feature and that the goal is to treat the runoff for a long enough period of time so sediments have a place to rest rather than enter directly into the pond. Mr. Scott will provide the Road Agent with calculations for yardages based on the depth of the water table. Members noted a test pit can be done without a permit.

With no further questions or discussion, Les LaMois moved that the HCC proceed with the Rain Garden Project, including with the shoreland permit application. Members voted unanimously in favor.The group thanked Don Scott for all his work.  Later in the meeting, Mr. Wolhandler shared an email sent by Eric Swope to two contacts at DES to connect them with the HCC and notify them of the Rain Garden Project in the event of any partnership opportunity.

Minutes of previous meeting 5/1/2019
All voted to approve as written.

Old Home Days – Organization and Staffing
Members discussed topics for displays/information sharing. These will include: Keep Harrisville Pristine; Aquatic and Terrestrial Invasive ID and reporting; and Rain Garden Project and Runoff  Education. Group discussed staffing and preparation of materials on booth topics. Mr. Sims will provide tents and watershed maps. Mr. Scott will prepare a poster on the Rain Garden. Andrea Polizos will check with Brett Thelen about a poster, brochure or photos on salamander crossings. Members noted their vehicles must be moved before 9 am on set-up day.

Summer Celebration – Town Beach Party Saturday, July 20, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm for those who help keep Harrisville beautiful.
HCC will provide ice cream and sundae fixings. Grills will be available for any food attendees would like to bring. Les LaMois will bring charcoal. BYO hamburgers and hotdogs. HCC will provide napkins, cones, cups, and spoons.

Weed Watcher Training Promotion. Sat July 13, 9-11 at town offices
Les LaMois will draft quarter-sheet notice.

Ordinance Review Committee update– Mr. Wolhandler and Mr. Scott noted that wetland setbacks for structures and roads are a priority consideration. Don explained options for different layers of possible requirements, based on the value of the wetlands. For example, the first 20’ would have significant value. He noted this could be a substantial burden on a homeowner because property owners would have to hire a wetland soils expert to delineate buffers. Other possible amendments include changes related to building on class VI roads, solar energy use, ADU language, and stormwater runoff management, possibly via a Grading Permit.

Trails Committee update– Don Scott noted that a temporary bridge was installed in Mosquito Bush and that the committee’s next project is the Chesham Road bridge.

Next meeting of the HCC is Wednesday, July 3.


Other business:

The HCC moved and voted unanimously in favor to reimburse Andrea Polizos $19.92 for expenses related to Salamander Crossing Training.


Members voted unanimously for HCC to reimburse attendees for 2019 Lakes Congress program at total approximate cost of $160.00.


Meeting adjourned at 9:13 pm.