Harrisville Conservation Commission
Wednesday, January 4, 2023
Meeting Minutes

The Harrisville Conservation Commission held a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, January 4, 2023 at town offices and via zoom.

Attendees: Harry Wolhandler, Les LaMois, Ralph Zingaro, Kathy Scott, Don Scott
Members of the public: Winston Sims

Agenda – Members approved the agenda.

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

Follow up on proposed subdivision on Wood Road – The abutter who last month raised questions about the presence of wetlands on a proposed building lot informed the HCC that he believes his primary concerns were addressed at the Planning Board hearing in December.

2023 Projects – The Chair aims to set up timetables for achievement for particular projects.

Rain Garden maintenance – Don Scott is looking into a grant for $1,500 for plantings; otherwise will seek donations of plantings for planting a day this spring.

Common Threads – The submission deadline is Jan 20.The HCC will include an invitation for new members as well as save the date information for activities as follows:
Salamander Crossing – March/April first warm rainy nights; Earth Day pickup- April around Earth Day, April 22;Rain Garden party – Saturday, May 6, for spring cleanup and spring planting at the Harrisville Pond Rain Garden adjacent to the boat ramp; March 14 – Town Meeting.

The HCC will submit content throughout the coming year as the newsletter printing dates coincide with the various events or issues: Feb/March – save the date, new member invitation; April / May – Earth Day, Salamander Crossing, Garden Party invitation/plant donation and “NoMow May” to encourage growth of pollinators; June / July – Aquatic water protection, plants to watch for; August / Sept – Land invasives; Oct / Nov – Heat/energy efficiency; Dec / Jan -To be determined. Storm water Management tips and photos will be included throughout the year.

Land invasives – Ralph Zingaro noted the optimal timing for treating knotweed, buckthorn and bittersweet, with members discussing the recommended approaches. Mr. Zingaro recommends treating knotweed in fall, buckthorn in the hottest months and bittersweet when it is actively growing.

The HCC hopes to encourage and help educate landowners on how to manage these land invasives. The state is encouraging management by towns an homeowners as well. Mr. Zingaro will continue to research so the HCC can plan treatment trials and help educate landowners.  Members discussed offering a workshop to train interested homeowners and believe it would make more sense to do so following the trials, sometime in 2024. The HCC noted that the state reimburses town for herbicide spray cost. Mr. Zingaro will get quotes for herbicide purchase, which would come under the budget line of  invasive management.

Rain Garden signage, continuedThe HCC voted unanimously in favor to approve the invoice in the amount of $275 for Silver Direct for sign design. Separately, the Chair noted the cost of the production for a metal sign, 1’x 8’, would be $400.

Rain Garden maintenance – The HCC noted it will ask lake hosts to keep an eye on what needs maintaining, expected to take minimal time. Mr. Scott will draw a diagram, after which the HCC will approach the SB for maintenance support through the groundskeeping budget.

Climate readiness – HCC listed the following issues of interest/concern: Storm water management, including runoff, drought resiliency, fire prevention. No additional specifics discussed.

Amendments to Wetlands Ordinance (Article XII) – The HCC will review the ordinance at February meeting to consider recommending amendments to the Planning Board.

Hazard Mitigation Plan Update – EMD Jeff Cady invited Harry Wolhandler, as HCC Chair, and other board and committee chairs and community organization leaders to participate in the kickoff meeting  on Tuesday, January 17, at 1:00 pm at town offices. The Hazard Mitigation Plan update is supported by Southwest Region Planning Commission SWRPC and through FEMA and Homeland Security. The plan was last updated in 2017. The chair will attend. Members of the public also are invited.

NHACC – In its December e-newsletter, NHACC announced an upcoming series of Wetlands Training Workshops during 2023. Most will be via zoom, and a different topic will be discussed each month.

Reports on actions of other committees:
Select Board – will discuss an ordinance surrounding e-bikes and their use on town roads and town-owned trails. The Road Work Committee is developing a plan for improvements along Church Street, School Street and Church Alley.

Historic District Commission – The HDC considered a preliminary plan for rehabilitation of St. Denis Church, on Church Street, as a community center. HHI is hiring a surveyor with drainage improvements to be part of the project proposal.

Community Power – The Energy & Electric Aggregation Committee (EEAC) anticipates approval from the PUC of the updated Community Power Plan, and hopes to launch this summer.

The meeting adjourned at 9:00 pm.