Harrisville Conservation Commission
Wednesday, April 7, 2021
Meeting Minutes

The Conservation Commission held a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at town offices and via zoom.

Members present: Harry Wolhandler, Les LaMois, Earl Horn, Diana Shonk, Don Scott and Kathy Scott
Members of the public: Winston Sims, Barbara Watkins, Brett Thelen, Skip Borelli

Agenda & Minutes – Review / approve
Members approved the agenda with the clarification that Harrisville Trails is not a town-sanctioned organization but a group of volunteers.

Congratulations & Thanks
Harrisville Trails  – Chairman Harry Wolhandler commended the committee for its work on the map project and terrific results. The map was intentionally not dispersed electronically or posted online by the Trails Committee and won’t be.

Environmental Signage on public hiking trails
Discussion with Brett Thelen – Brett Thelen recommended engaging Antioch to help with signage related to natural history interpretation. She also encouraged the HCC not to include plant identifier signage on trails as habitats change. Instead, this type of information could be included in a trails brochure, which also may be a more appealing way to educate hikers who prefer exploring trails that are free of signage.

Earl Horn noted that most of the trail head signs are ready to go and will be put up this weekend. He agrees the fewer the signs the better, and he recommended looking at good models used elsewhere. The Harris Center is one example of very selective signage. Mr. Horn shared what other trails groups have done regarding communication with landowners. Sara Bockus is the internship and practicum coordinator at Antioch.

The consensus of the HCC is that a numbering system is the best approach to identifying trails with interpretive notes provided on maps. For now, Barbara Watkins and Earl Horn will be focusing on trying to open up more trails.

Election of Conservation Commission Officers for 2021-2022
Kathy Scott nominated Harry Wolhandler to continue as Chair. All voted in favor. Les LaMois nominated Don Scott as Vice Chair. All voted in favor.All voted in favor to reappoint Les LaMois as Secretary.

Town Meeting Results – Wetlands Ordinance approved. The Chair thankedDon Scott for the information booth at Wells Memorial to answer voters’ questions.

Review of Shoreland Permit Application on South Road
Don Scott described the proposal submitted on behalf of South Road property owner Skip Borelli. Mr. Scott and Mr. Borelli described the site and proposal to build two retaining walls, improve drainage, and rehabilitate the house and property.  Mr. Scott explained the current drainage patterns and the plan to ameliorate the runoff issues and stabilize the terrain. The application is currently with DES.

Project Tasks & Assignments
Rain Garden signage / Homeowner landscape & water retention education – Diana Shonk and Harry Wolhandler, leaders on the project, will meet next week and have storyboards to present to HCC members next month.

Salamander Brigades continues – The Chair noted the first brigade occurred a couple of weeks ago and more are expected with the next rain, possibly over the coming weekend.

Earth Day Roadside Cleanupis scheduled for Saturday, April 24, 2021(Earth Day is 4/22). The Chair asked for volunteers to staff a table at the Recycle Center on April 23 and 24 to facilitate sign up and cleanup locations for volunteers. He will send out the agreed-upon schedule.

Reports on actions of town committees
Selectboard – Kathy Scott noted that the SB will be overseeing a Recycling Center Committee, with Jay Jacobs as lead, and urged the HCC to nail down how it wants to help as far as the ambassador program it discussed. One possibility is a letter-writing campaign to companies that package in unrecyclable plastics. Earl Horn will be serving on the RC committee.

Zoning Board of Adjustment – There is an upcoming application hearing for a special exception on a parcel affected by the new wetlands ordinance.

Historic District Commission – Kathy Scott noted that the new HDC regulations are likely to be approved by the end of the month. The HDC will share with the HCC.

Community Power – Warrant Article at Town Meeting is on track for consideration.

Other business
Andrea Polizos submitted her resignation as HCC member. The Chair and members all thanked her for her contributions and service.

The meeting adjourned at 9:00 pm.