Harrisville Conservation Commission
Wednesday, August 10, 2021
Meeting Minutes

The Harrisville Conservation Commission held a public meeting on Tuesday, August 10, 2021 at town offices and via zoom.

Harry Wolhandler called the meeting to order at 7:23 pm.

Members present: Harry Wolhandler Chair, Kathy Scott, Don Scott, Les LaMois, Earl Horn, and Diana Shonk

Members of the public: Anne Howe, Winston Sims

Agenda – Members moved and voted in favor to approve the agenda as written.

Minutes of June and July meetings – Members moved and voted in favor to approve the meeting minutes of June and July as submitted.

HCC expenditures
Following an explanation from the Chair, members moved to approve the invoice for VLAP water sampling at Child’s Bog in the amount of $60.00. All voted in favor.

Following a brief discussion, members moved and voted unanimously in favor to purchase two traffic cones for The Harris Center, at an estimated cost of $38, to replace the cone that went missing during the Salamander Brigade crossing.

Resident concern about runoff
The Chair discussed a concern raised by a resident about possible runoff from a logging site. The occurrence followed very heavy rains. The testing was ultimately not conducted as it was determined that the runoff was natural flow.

Dock permitting
Winston Sims reviewed dock regulations and the rights of property owners in the context of state regulations. If a proposed dock has dimensions of 6’x30’ or less, it can be reviewed under Permit By Notification (PBN) procedures; otherwise a standard wetland permit from the state is required. Mr. Sims suggested that the HCC help educate the public on the process for dock permitting, noting that the state owns all the water bodies, and all shoreline is considered wetlands. Homeowners are required to get approval whether through the expedited route or the longer review process. Members agreed this is a good idea.

Recycling Center Ambassador Program
Kathy Scott shared information from Env-SW 1602.02b, state requirements for any volunteers, which includes that volunteers (1) “engage only in activities that are essentially non-hazardous, such as providing information to facility users and sorting recyclable materials; (2) The volunteers work under the supervision of a certified operator; and (3) The facility owner provides training and safety equipment for each task to be performed that is adequate to ensure that the purpose of these rules, as stated in Env-SW 1601.01, is met.

HCC members discussed at length the type of help they’d be comfortable offering, as well as the mission of the ambassador program. They agreed they would like to help educate visitors about best practices and acceptable recyclables, but not police activity. Earl Horn, Diana Shonk and Don Scott will create helpful visuals with suggestions for how to use them in the education process.

Members believe they should be guided by Recycling Committee, which will start up in September.  They believe their role should be to observe only now. Members would like to hear from SB what their thinking is on a plan for ambassador program. Harry Wolhandler proposes a more active educational role to help promote goals of the Recycle Center and prevent contamination problems. He sees the ambassadors as observing at first, but then expanding their role.

Further discussion focused on the recycling process and whether or not the town recycle program involves any economic cost; in other words, if bins are contaminated, does the town lose money? Kathy and Don Scott explained that the more materials that are recycled properly, the more cost containment is possible by the town’s vendor, which ultimately means lower costs to the town. There are hauling and fuel costs associated with the trucking of contaminated recyclables as these travel further away to landfills.

It was further explained that Harrisville’s recyclables become part of a regional load, so it is not our load specifically that gets rejected. Members briefly speculated on the future of the recycling market and the future of the recycling process in the northeast.

Earl Horn offered to attend the upcoming Select Board meeting to get the go-ahead for the ambassador program to begin scheduling representatives to observe and distribute current guidelines for people who would like them. Members agreed he would address the first phase of the program. All voted in favor.

Trails Committee
Earl Horn suggested markers instead of placards along the trails. The markers would point out noteworthy habitat features. The Scotts shared design ideas from their recent trip to Maine.

Meeting adjourned at 9:15 pm.