Harrisville Conservation Commission
Wednesday, November 2, 2022
Meeting Minutes

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

Agenda and minutes – Members moved to approve the agenda and to accept the October minutes as written.   

Climate change – The HCC discussed what role the HCC might fill in helping combat climate change – e.g., steps that can be taken locally and/or that the Town could take. The HCC would act in its usual role as an advisory board only.

Kathy Scott spoke to the work the Highway Department has undertaken to replace and enlarge culverts to manage storm water runoff from increasingly heavy rains.  She also described the ongoing drainage and flooding in the areas of Church and School Street and sections of Main Street, with water sheet flowing across roads into basements of houses in the neighborhood. The SB and Highway Department have discussed a warrant article for Town Meeting 2023 for roadwork on Church and School Streets, but a larger drainage issue will involve more in-depth, and costly, improvements and would involve the state for any proposed improvements across Main Street. Discussions also will involve Historic Harrisville.

Winston Sims continued to encourage the HCC to address more storm water management issues, again advocating for a community conversation on the subject to engage homeowners. Mr. Sims wondered if a subcommittee could help support HCC members.

Rain Garden- signage and maintenance
Signage – Members reviewed proposed changes to text and images on the Rain Garden interpretive signs at the Harrisville Pond Boat Ramp. Kathy Scott advocated for less information at this location and instead repurposing details into other media – e.g., a pamphlet or Common Threads articles. Chairman Wolhandler wants to emphasize the rain garden as an example of an effective storm water management technique; he strongly encouraged maintaining much of the educational aspect within the interpretive signs. Members did not reach an agreement.

Turning to longer term care and maintenance around the rain garden, the Chair requested that the Town assume maintenance around fence, which may involve just occasional weed-whacking. Following discussion the Chair moved that HCC request town assume responsibility for clearing around fence and road edges, maybe three times/year. Don Scott will draw areas to clarify exact sections of the site. The HCC will continue discussion next week, tabling a vote on the motion.

Japanese Knotweed – Members raised the idea of Ralph Zingaro’s securing a NH license for knotweed treatment, as he already holds a California license. Mr. Zingaro is looking into it. This would be for town roads only, upon approval of the Select Board.

Reports on actions of other town boards and committees and environmental groups
SB – The SB has requested that board and committee chairs and department heads review their 2022 budgets to date and to consider any budget changes for their departments in 2023. HCC members discussed some of their budget lines, particularly for weed watching and lake host programs, and agreed the HCC should reach out to the various lake associations with their thoughts about funding for last summer and for next year.

Planning Board – groups are reviewing the 2014 Master Plan to make it more reader-friendly. Topics are being synthesized with shorter text and graphics.

Trails Group – The HCC noted the tremendous volunteer effort to rebuild the bridge off Hancock Road on the Eastview Trail with pressure-treated wood. The project was completed October 22. In addition, sand and gravel were added to the Aldworth Trail off Chesham Road to help fill in holes as possible. A 6-‘ wide walkway, which the Trails Group will work on in the  coming weekend, will facilitate pedestrian travel. They plan to do some grading and ditching on the town rail trail as schedules allow.

Historic Harrisville – HHI recently held their annual meeting; they’ve also hired a new coordinator for the Archives, resuming archiving of materials and researching climate-controlled storage

EAC – The Electric Aggregation Committee has nearly completed its plan revisions to present to the Select Board and the PUC.

Meeting adjourned at 8:34 pm.