Harrisville Conservation Commission
Wednesday, October 5, 2022
Meeting Minutes

The Harrisville Conservation Commission held a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, September 5, 2022 at town hall and via zoom.

Members present: Harry Wolhandler, Chair; Diana Shonk, Kathy Scott, Don Scott,
Members absent: Les LaMois, Ralph Zingaro
Attendees: Jon Richardson, Winston Sims, Deborah Abbott, Charles Sorenson, Laurence Saunders

Agenda and Minutes of September meeting – Members approved the agenda with the following amendment: the addition of Winston Sims’s suggested topic of storm-water management.  Members deferred approval of the September meeting minutes given lack of a quorum.  (Don and Kathy Scott were not present in September and thus could not vote.)

Japanese knotweed/Invasive land plants – Members largely deferred the topic to next month due to lack of key interested parties, particularly beekeepers, who have much to contribute to the conversation. However members did discuss the following:

  • Examples of other invasives include buckthorn, bittersweet, autumn olive, tall grasses
  • Saunders noted areas of concern along Tolman Pond Road, where he has removed some. He would like to get property owners involved. The HCC Chair spoke to the expertise of member Ralph Zingaro, not in attendance, and the recommendations for removal. Mr. Wolhandler reiterated that the best time to treat the knotweed was in the past few weeks, when the plants flower.
  • Attendees also expressed concern that brush-cutting along the roadsides has contributed to seed spreading. Kathy Scott will discuss with the Road Agent.
  • Debbie Abbott spoke to effects on bees, noting that native pollinators are in greater danger from eradication of knotweed than honeybees, as the latter are domestic livestock and are managed in hives. The HCC noted the goal of eradication is to allow native plants to thrive to feed native pollinators.

Shoreland and wetland permit applications, 9 Island Street (Map 32 –  Lot 24). The property owner filed two applications with DES to expand the driveway and to restore the beach and wall along the shoreline. Concerns were raised about Mr. Garland’s proposal for driveway expansion, specifically concern about different grades and materials for what would be 3 single lane driveways. Mr. Scott, who prepared and submitted the applications to DES on behalf of the property owner, confirmed that the height of the existing driveway would not change and that a curb would run between the lawn and the new section of driveway. For the wetland application, Mr. Scott stated that the property owner opted to restore the existing beach by adding ten yards of fresh sand, rather than creating a step beach. The applications are currently under review by DES.

Shoreland application, 49 Eastside Road (Map 72 – Lot 16). Owners applied for a Permit by Notification to replace an existing walkway to the lake with a pervious surface. No issues raised by the HCC. Members feel the proposal is an improvement.

Storm water management – The HCC noted the culvert replacement work in progress, or completed, around town, with the new culverts larger in diameter. In addition, the Town is working with the Southwest Region Planning Commission on a culvert inventory to map the location and condition of every culvert in town. Regarding management of drainage and ditching, the SB defers to the high level of expertise of the Highway Department/Road Agent.

The HCC and Winston Sims discussed the importance of ongoing educational outreach to property owners about storm water management techniques to prevent flow onto others’ property or onto the roads. They discussed that the Rain Garden project at the Harrisville Pond Boat Ramp was implemented as a model to help raise awareness and that the rain garden technique is one option to help treat storm water flow. Don Scott spoke to the increasing number of property owners who are including infiltration improvements into their projects.

Rain garden signage – This discussion also was deferred to the November meeting, when content and implementation/durability of materials will be addressed. In the meantime, Mr. Scott shared samples of signs he observed elsewhere.

Reports on actions of other town committees and environmental groups
Trails –
Mr. Scott noted that Saturday, Oct. 15, a group will spread gravel at the base of the Aldworth Trail, off Chesham Road to fill in and level existing ditches.

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 pm.