Harrisville Conservation Commission
Wednesday, September 7, 2022
Meeting Minutes

The Harrisville Conservation Commission held a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, September 7, 2022 at town hall and via zoom.

Members present: Harry Wolhandler, Chair; Ralph Zingaro; Les LaMois; Diana Shonk
Members absent: Kathy Scott, Don Scott
Attendees: Winston Sims

Agenda and Minutes of August meeting – Members approved the agenda as presented.  Members approved the August meeting minutes as drafted.

Invasive land plants
Japanese Knotweed update – Harry Wolhandler and Ralph Zingaro spoke to the Health Officer and property owners abutting the Chesham Depot trail. They confirmed that knotweed had been cleared by the Trails Committee along portions of the rail trail. Certain areas near trail will be fenced off so trail areas can be treated and replanted with goldenrod, echinacea, aster and white clover, milkweed and other native plants. Within fenced pastures, sheep can graze and remove knotweed naturally.

HCC members returned to discussion of knotweed eradication more generally, and to the best strategy for targeted management or removal primarily along roadsides in town.

The HCC agreed to start with targeted applications of organic solutions that are less than toxic than glyphosate to test their effectiveness. Members noted these solutions are best applied in fall after the knotweed flowers and plants begin to store energy down in the roots. Some organic solutions, Mr. Zingaro explained, are more effective in hot weather. Based on the effectiveness of the tested solutions, the next step would be applying low amounts of glyphosate.  Mr. Zingaro also recommended combining different herbicides for greater effectiveness. Members again cited Doug Cygan’s guide on best management practices for knotweed removal (https://www.agriculture.nh.gov/publications-forms/documents/japanese-knotweed-bmps.pdf) as a helpful resource.

Buckthorn, bittersweet and autumn olive are additional invasive plants that are of concern.

The HCC will invite area beekeepers to next month’s meeting to discuss a plan and treatment options. This meeting would be followed by a wider/town-wide conversation. Mr. Zingaro will contact DES for any information or feedback they may have.

The group reiterated that the HCC’s ultimate goal is removal along the roadsides, with the goal of helping native plants, insects and bees to flourish and to prevent them from being driven out. They further noted that the best way to dispose of cut knotweed is to pile it in place and burn it with brush.

Rain Garden Signage – Members reviewed proposed edits to the Harrisville Pond boat ramp rain garden signage. Les LaMois shared suggestions for simplifying and highlighting important elements, with more images and less text. The HCC will continue discussion next month.

Recent Shoreland Permits (no wetland permits) – An application to DES from Camp Road residents proposing walkways to the water is under review.  Two new applications will be discussed next month.

Child’s Bog Water Sampling Approval- Sara Steiner, VLAP Coordinator from DES, emailed the HCC Chair to request the HCC’s willingness to cover costs of water quality sampling at Child’s BogResidents abutting Child’s Bog are interested in continuing testing, which in the past has been done and paid for by the HCC. Following discussion, Chairman Wolhandler moved to continue paying for water sampling on Child’s Bog, Diana Shonk seconded. All voted in favor.

Interesting reading – On the topic of acid rain, Ralph Zingaro reminded members about the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem study, Watershed 1, a study of the effect of calcium replacement on reforestationhttps://hubbardbrook.org/experimental-watersheds-research-sites/watershed-1/

The meeting adjourned at 8:35 pm.