Harrisville Conservation Commission
Wednesday, May 1, 2024
Meeting Minutes

Members present: Harry Wolhandler, Ralph Zingaro and Don Scott
Absent: Andrew Maneval, John Sandri
Attendees: Winston Sims

The Harrisville Conservation Commission held a regular meeting on Wednesday, May 1, 2024 at Town Hall, 705 Chesham Road.

The meeting opened at 7:00 pm.

Agenda, minutes of 4/8 – Members approved the agenda and the minutes of 4/8 and 4/22

Town Rail Trail Project, Updates – Harry Wolhandler shared that the Trails Group, having secured adequate private funding for repairs to the Town Rail Trail, offered to repair the trail at its expense and no longer requires financial support from the Town or the Conservation Commission for the project.

Separately, Mr. Wolhandler noted he and Don Scott had met with one of the bidders, Home-Land Landscaping, who offered to fill in the trail from his property on the trail to the culvert, and to fill in the sink holes. Mr. Scott will discuss the possible beaver dam issue with Mike Wilder and how to take preventative measures to protect the area from erosion.

Mr. Wolhandler also noted he separately is pursuing the prospect of handicap accessibility to the trail, either by improving the entry off Main Street and/ or creating a more easily accessible route to a “pocket park” along Sanford Pond.

Following additional discussion, the HCC moved to terminate the bid process since the Trails Group has come forward with their own funding and oversight of the project. All voted in favor.

June 5th Joint Meeting HCC and Select Board – Next month the two boards will meet with Lake Association members and representatives to discuss issues related to town lakes and ponds, include Lake Host programs, weed watching, boat traffic, budgets, water quality, VLAP assessments and more.

Hemlock Disease – Update on Woolly Adelgid and the Laricobious Beetle Project – Members reviewed an article describing how this predator beetle can be collected and released in areas where Woolly Adelgid is harming and killing off hemlock trees, and the best times and conditions to do so.

The Conservation Commission has funds for the project and noted the most desirable locations are where groups of hemlocks have grown outward like hedges. Ralph Zingaro shared suggestions from a scientist in North Carolina with whom he’s been consulting who has been successful with the beetle. The HCC moved and voted in favor to move forward with the Laricobious Beetle project in Harrisville and to identify costs and develop a plan.

Knotweed Eradication Program – The HCC again discussed a timeline for further action to combat knotweed, suggesting the scheduling and promoting of public hearings for education and feedback, reporting on results and subsequently identifying resources for an eradication program. The HCC Chair reviewed Dublin’s experience and best management practices, which is to wait until flowering is over, in the fall prior to treating. Members suggested that before Highway Dept removes brush along roads, existing knotweed be sprayed to prevent spreading seeds.

Other business – Property owners at the end of Westside Road have received a Shoreland Permit to replace a cabin in a location further from Silver Lake. The project has been reviewed and approved by the Zoning Board and DES.  The Conservation Commission raised no concerns or objections.

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 pm.