Harrisville Conservation Commission
Wednesday, May 4, 2022
Meeting Minutes

The Harrisville Conservation Commission held a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 at town offices and via zoom.

Members present: Harry Wolhandler, Ralph Zingaro, Les LaMois, Diana Shonk
Attendees: Dave Thompson, Winston Sims

Minutes – Members moved and voted in favor to approve the minutes as submitted.

Chesham Beach – Harry Wolhandler and Dave Thompson of the Friends of Russell Reservoir (FORR) reviewed the proposal to replenish Chesham Beach on South Road with 17 cubic yards of sand. The Town will submit the DES Wetlands Permit application with Mr. Thompson as agent.  Mr. Thomspon is working with Pat Gagne of the Chesham Beach Committee to prep the beach area and they will receive support from the Highway Department to haul the sand once the project is approved. The group also is addressing proliferation of sand bees, which has occurred over the past couple of years. The beach has not been replenished since 2005.

The HCC also raised ideas to Mr. Thompson for possible future improvements, including creation of a step beach, with stones along shore or possibly a natural stone wall or curbing around the area.  Mr. Thompson noted that about 25 households use the beach.

With no further discussion, the HCC moved to support replenishment of Chesham Beach with 17 cubic feet of washed sand. Ralph Zingaro seconded. All voted in favor.  Mr. Thompson hopes to move to a perched beach and will talk to the Chesham Beach Committee and FORR.

HCC support for Lake Hosts – The Chair and members reviewed options for supporting prevention of land based invasive species through boat inspections conducted by Lake Hosts, and other weed-watching efforts. They have $5,000 in their budget for invasive species management. The Chair noted he hopes this will be an annual item in the town budget given the value of the town’s water bodies.  Members also discussed educational efforts, including an article in Common Threads.

The Chair then proposed allocating $3,000 among the three pond/lake associations running Lake Host programs. Mr. Wolhandler moved to contribute $1,125, to the Silver Lake Association specifically to support paid help on Fridays not currently covered, as well as $1,125 to the Skatutakee Lake Association and $750 to the Harrisville Pond Association based on data for boat traffic and existing lake host and volunteer staffing. All voted in favor to distribute the amounts above to the Lake Host Programs of each of three lake associations.

Further discussion focused on the types of milfoil and invasives weed watchers should look out for. The Chair requested a specific Conservation Commission email address so people could send photos when they spot potentially damaging weeds. This email address could be included on brochures/flyers that the HCC could hand out or mail out. Mr Wolhandler will work with Diana Shonk on this. The HCC would like to include everyone in the shoreland district in the distribution.

Spring/summer programs and issues – The Chair noted the HCC previously discussed revisiting knotweed and options to help mitigate this invasive along various roads. Beekeepers, the health officer and some residents raised concerned about environmental effects and potential harm from glyphosate. The HCC proposes holding two meetings: one with beekeepers to propose replacing knotweed with native populations/flowers/plants and another with the general public to discuss potential risks and risk assessment, and to discuss, if not glyphosate, substitute or other organic herbicides or compound that might be tried, focusing on best management practices.

Old Home Days – Members discussed ideas for the HCC booth and will discuss further in June.

NH Lakes Conference – The annual conference date is Thursday, June 2, and Friday, June 3, in Meredith on Lake Winnepesaukee if anyone is interested in attending. 

Reports from other boards and committees – The Trails Committee will meet with the HCC at the HCC’s June 1 meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 pm.