Harrisville Conservation Commission
Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Town Hall and Zoom
The Harrisville Conservation Commission held a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 at town offices and via zoom.
Members present: Harry Wolhandler, Earl Horn, Kathy Scott, Les LaMois, and Diana Shonk
Members of the public: Winston Sims, George and Bonnie Lowrey, Dwain Hammett, Sarah Kendall, Jeff Grosner, Peter Desrosiers, Jack Calhoun, Teresa Morris, Beth Healy, and Chris Danforth
Weed Watcher and Lake Host Programs – Possible warrant article
Attendees introduced themselves, spoke to their membership in the town’s lake associations and to their involvement in weed watcher and lake host programs. All expressed interest in doing whatever they can to protect all the water bodies in Harrisville. The HCC is considering proposing a warrant article to establish a capital reserve fund to cover the cost of an infestation of invasive species within Harrisville’s waters. Although DES provides a mitigation team when an outbreak occurs, and the state pays for investigation and initial management of the infestation, the town must provide matching funds for infestation management follow up. 90% of the outbreaks are found to occur near boat ramps, which is why the Lake Host program is so important.
Kathy Scott noted the Select Board would want to know what the Lake Associations’ interests are and what the Conservation Commission’s interests are. Currently, there is $61,000 in the Conservation Fund, which can be used for this purpose. Jack Calhoun emphasized the importance of protecting water quality throughout the town as the town and community are financially vested and have a shared interest in protecting all water bodies. Chairman Wolhandler asked the association representatives to share their costs to run their programs and what resources they need from the town. Sarah Kendall offered to share budget information for the Harrisville Pond Association, whose annual costs are roughly $3,000, partially raised through dues and assessments but not enough to cover the lake host program. The HCC will contact Silver Lake and Russell Reservoir groups since they were not in attendance.
The Skatutakee Lake Association had 17 volunteers last year. George Lowrey stated he believes NH Lakes gives $1,750 to the SLA to help cover costs of the lake host program. He believes funding should be on as as-needed basis and proposed the possibility of the town’s allocating funds to the HCC, which could then allocate money to each association as needed. Ms. Kendall agreed it would help to have a reliable source of income so the association boards don’t have to constantly ask their members for contributions.
Sharing ideas for weed watching, Bonnie Lowrey explained that the SLA divides the lake into quadrants, which volunteers survey. They receive helpful support on plant identification from Amy Smagula at DES. Many species come and go in cycles. Mr. Lowrey raised the idea of hiring someone, in addition to keeping volunteers, to scout all the lakes perhaps once a month. The group discussed whether this should be done by the HCC or the town given certain water bodies have no lake association or organized group. Mr. Lowrey suggested a marine biology intern through DES or an area college. Kathy Scott stated the Select Board would hope the lake associations could identify and apply for grant opportunities to fund this. A spring training session for weed watching will be scheduled again in 2022.
Wetland permit application – 153 Eastside Road
Attendee Chris Danforth spoke to an application, submitted for 153 Eastside Road, for minimum expedited review from DES. The property owners propose to repair and shore up the existing deteriorating wall and to improve access to the water through a perched beach of 250 square feet to be built into the bank with access via 6’- wide stairs. They have received a shoreland permit for temporary access. Landscaping will be temporarily removed then restored. The contractors are trying to work during drawdown this winter. With no additional questions from the board, the HCC Chair signed the application.
HCC Budget for 2022
Members discussed a proposed budget for 2022 and whether or not an increase or decrease was needed. The HCC concluded it will submit the same budget in the amount of $1,166.00.
Reports from other committees/boards
Recycle Center Committee -Earl Horn noted the committee awaits a scheduled start date from from SB.
Select Board – Kathy Scott reported that the SB has requested letters of interest for filling out Jay Jacobs’s term until Town Meeting when an election for a one-year term will be held in addition to the regular election for a 3-year term. She also noted that budget and warrant article preparation are under way.
HDC – The Community’s Church’s application was approved by the HDC, as well as the ZBA. The HDC will lose three members and is actively recruiting.
Trails – Earl Horn and Alison Weber hung trail blazes along Zopher Willard Woods trails; Mr. Horn and Don Scott also installed blazes on all but a small portion of the Aldworth Trail. Most of the work funded by the MAST grant from Southwest Region Planning Commission is finished.
Warrant article con’t
Returning to discussion of the content and language for a possible warrant article, Kathy Scott stated she doesn’t support establishing another fund, but instead drawing on existing Capital Reserve funds. Members discussed potential allocations to each association and will work to finalize the warrant article by the January meeting.
Members moved to approve the minutes of the November meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 8:50 pm.