Harrisville Conservation Commission
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Meeting Minutes

Members Present: Harry Wolhandler, Les Lamois, Diana Shonk, Earl Horn, Andrea Polizos, Don Scott and Kathy Scott

Members of the public: Winston Sims

Agenda and Minutes
HCC members moved and voted unanimously in favor to approve both the agenda and the meeting minutes of November 4.  Andrea Polizos abstained due to absence.

Planning for 2021
The chair reviewed the proposed budget for 2021 noting that, to date, HCC expenses have totaled $285.00 with $881 remaining out of the original $1,166.00 budget. Members discussed allocating $800 in remaining funds toward expenses for the Rain Garden project. Following agreement by other members, the Chair moved to put $800 from its budget toward the expense of the Rain Garden. Les LaMois seconded. Members voted unanimously in favor.  The HCC anticipates a total expenditures of approximately $3600 for the Rain Garden project.

The Chair then reviewed the history of the Land Conservation Capital Reserve Fund, established in 2008, including its purpose and fund balance and potential future uses of funds, such as retaining an appropriate balance for an emergency need. He further explained that the Conservation Fund is funded by tax on lands taken out of current use (Land Use Change Tax or LUCT), from which the HCC receives a portion equal to 10% of the tax collected.

Turning to the HCC’s proposed budget for 2021 , Mr. Wolhandler proposed level funding, recommending this based on review of HCC expenditures over the past several years.

Projects for 2021
Continuing projects include Rain Garden signage, Salamander Brigade, Homeowner landscape and water retention education, Environmental trail markers and signs, including walkthroughs of ecological areas for identification purposes, with input from the Harris Center. Andrea Polizos recommended Antioch’s Environmental Studies program as another potential collaborator. Weed watcher training for town ponds and lakes is also a continuing project.

New project ideas – The Chair highlighted theTrail on Petersen Property (renamed Zophar Willard Woods), which would extend from Skatutakee Lake through the woods to town.  Don Scott creating an orienteering map for Historic Harrisville. There is a separate trail now that goes from the bridge on Hancock Road to the back of the mill buildings.

Another project idea, mentioned by Winston Sims, is the Lake Smart program, a certification program run by NH Lakes, as way to get lakeside property owners to understand how steps taken on their property to enhance and protect water quality. Mr. Sims noted that the program standards are rigorous and NH Lakes provides a written report on a variety of criteria.

Earl Horn then spoke of the Electric Aggregation/Community Power initiative with its long-term goal of creating a reserve fund to help homeowners weatherize their homes. He wonders if, possibly long term, the HCC had a role or could have a role in this? Members noted that education efforts about energy efficiency make sense as a relevant contribution.

Wetlands – Ordinance Revisions per the Planning Board
The Chair mentioned the Public Hearing scheduled for Wednesday December 10, at 7:00 pm and that updates of the proposed Ordinance Amendments are available on the homepage of the website.

Trail maps & Trailhead signage
A MAST grant was awarded by SWRPC for reimbursement for trail head signage. The Select Board will discuss and review the paperwork with the Trails Committee and Transportation Committee representatives tomorrow night.  Separately, Mr. Horn continues working with landowners when private lands run with the trails system, as well as on trailhead signs, trail junction signs, locations of blazes, parking where available, and signs for private landowners for any limitations on use.

Kathy Scott reiterated the need for the Chair, or a member the Chair designates, to attend the HCC meetings at Town Hall. Les LaMois offered to be on site if needed.

The meeting adjourned at 8:00 pm.