Town of Sutton Selectmen Meeting Minutes


Sutton Conservation Commission

Draft Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Present: Henry Howell, Co-Chair; Don Davis; Barbara Hoffman; Debbie Lang; Amy Highstrom and Bonnie Hill.

Absent: Wally Baker, Co-Chair; Chuck Bolduc. Bonnie sat in for Wally.

Call to order: Henry Howell called the meeting to order at 6:05 p.m.

Previous Meeting’s Minutes: Debbie made a motion to approve the minutes from the 12/11/2019 meeting, and Don seconded. As there were no issues found with the minutes, the vote was unanimously in favor.

Tribute to Dan Sundquist: Henry read a moving eulogy for Dan that was written by a high school classmate of Dan’s named Michael Fitzgerald. He said Dan passed over the Rainbow Bridge peacefully and painlessly. He was a week away from turning 72.

Financial Report:

Debbie reported that the SCC spent $4,431.90 in 2019, out of a budget of $5,568.00. The TD bank statement for December 31st showed that two checks had been paid: one for $5,000 to Rob O’Neil and one for $2549.45 to the Town of Sutton to reimburse the town for the unpaid LUCT money from Cormier. The ending balance in the Conservation Account was $147,502.62 and the ending balance in the KHR account was $2,763.71. Henry said we need to give Lorri the ID number of the relevant account when we ask her to cut checks, per Elly’s request. Debbie said she would supply this info to people who need it. Don said he has a bill for $75 for cleanup at the Enroth parcel and an emailed bill for NHACC dues that was inexplicably sent to him. He gave these bills to Lorri. Henry said he was able, with help from Amy and Don, to get some historical marker signs made and paid for out of the 2019 budget.  There are four signs, on thick aluminum stock. Three of the historical sites are on our property at KHR, and the 4th turned out to be on private property. Henry will donate that sign to the landowner, to alert them that they have a historical site in their back yard. Henry said the materials for the KRHS’ bridge over the gulley on the Lyon Brook Trail will cost $800 to $900. In the past he has gotten donations from Belletetes and the Lumber Barn, but he is reluctant to ask them for money a third time. Cyr Lumber was mentioned as another possible source. If SCC pays for it, the consensus was that it should come out of Special Projects and not out of the Conservation Fund.


  • Letter from FOMS (Friends of Mount Sunapee) thanking SCC for $50 contribution. There was some discussion about the status of Vail’s plans for expansion of the ski area. Don pointed out that there is old growth forest in that area.
  • Email from Nature Groupie regarding upcoming programs: Pollinators 101 on January 15th in Kingston, and Wildlife Tracking on January 18th in Atkinson.
  • Notice from Fish & Game announcing that applications are now being accepted for the Coverts Project training workshop, which will be May 13-16 at the Barbara C. Harris Conference Center in Greenfield.
  • Notice from ASLPT regarding a “Trails for People and Wildlife” program on March 25th at 6:30 PM at the Tracy Library in New London.

Review of Wetland Applications and Issues:

NHDOT “Top Ten” list for ARM grants re: I-89 repaving – Chuck submitted the final list to NHDOT before the end of the year. Amy asked if there is anything else we need to do regarding this, since this was the answer to only one question out of the eleven questions on the DOT’s questionnaire. Barb said that Chuck had already responded to the DOT on the other questions, and at this point, we don’t yet have enough information to know what needs to be done next.

New NHDES wetlands rules: Henry spoke of the new rules that take effect in 2020. He said they do not change our role; we still have the power to “intervene” or make comments during the permitting process. DES needs to be notified within 14 days of a permit being filed. A Permit by Notification (PBN) will now be processed faster by DES – within 5 days, and a signoff by the Conservation Commission is required. He read aloud some of the rule change information to the members. He asked if someone would volunteer to review the new rules. Debbie asked what about the fact that we only meet once a month? Barb volunteered to study the rules and get back to us at next month’s meeting with a plan for how to conduct reviews. Amy said if we adopt a set procedure for these reviews, we can treat each case in a fair and impartial manner.

Review of Intents to Cut and Logging Issues:


Old business

Strategic Action Plan – Henry handed out copies of Roger Wells’ Conservation Plan Review, which contained six suggestions. Some of these involved the definition of “protection”, and providing more transparency around the sources of data and the use of scientific terminology. He said Roger wants our comments by June. Barb questioned why the Planning Board needed our comments by June, and Debbie explained that the Strategic Action Plan will be incorporated into the Master Plan, and the Planning Board wants to finalize the Master Plan in June. Henry said that he would like some of the SCC members to look over Roger’s comments and see how they could be incorporated into the plan. Some of this requires technical expertise (regarding GIS, etc) that most of us do not have, with the exception of Chuck. Barb asked if it was all right if she emails Roger to give us some clarification on what he means, and the members agreed. Amy said that farming had been brought up as a topic of interest during the Planning Board’s presentation, and that the SCC needs to define, as a group, what we mean by “farming” in Sutton. As someone who comes from the Midwest, she has seen the impacts that farming can have on the environment. She said there are many types of farming, and some of them are extremely destructive. Henry asked whether we have any active farms in Sutton other than Muster Field, and Don said there is the Kearsarge Gore Farm. Debbie said this is really a zoning issue. Don said the SCC has been approached by people wanting to graze their livestock on conservation land (KHR), and that we said no. Barb said if more than three people want to review Roger’s comments, then a special meeting should be held and posted, since that would constitute a quorum. It looked like there would just be three people doing this: Barb, Don, and Chuck (volunteered in absentia because of his GIS expertise).

Horse Beach parking issues – Henry asked who will make sure that the warrant article regarding the maintenance agreement will be going on the town warrant, and Don said he will ask Wally about it.

New Business

Report on SCC for Town Report – The members had all received Barb’s final draft, which included everybody’s suggestions, edits and photos. Since Wally and Chuck were absent, we did not take a picture of the SCC members. Henry read us a memo from Elly describing what the purpose of the report is. It is meant to say what was accomplished during the year, and will become a historic document. Henry commended Barb’s work on the report.

Sutton Butterfly Society – Amy reported that the meetings are going well, with 8 to 12 people attending per month and 15 or so in regular communication. Heidi Holman, a biologist from NH Fish & Game’s Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program, has been in regular attendance. She and Amy will be doing a joint presentation at the Saving Special Places conference this spring, and Amy is going to donate the curriculum that she developed to Fish & Game, as a model for a statewide program. Amy will be training the trainers for it. This summer, when the butterfly data count is to be done at KHR, F & G staff will be coming to guide the participants who are gathering data. Amy is going to ask that the Sutton name be kept on all of the educational materials. She said that this kind of program is very accessible to people of all ages and abilities. Henry asked if the health of the butterfly population is representative of the health of pollinators in general. Amy replied that they represent insects in general, but they are not actually the best pollinators. The greater value to the ecosystem is in their caterpillars. Henry asked if it is possible to create a butterfly garden in a 10 foot by 10 foot square area. Amy said yes, and that it could be both a nectar source and a place for host plants. Henry is on the board of directors of WHIM, a group which exists to get disabled people outside, active, and interested in life. He asked Amy to submit a list of what would be needed to create a small (maybe containerized) garden like that that would enable disabled people to participate in observing and gathering data on butterflies and caterpillars.

Trail Maintenance and Development

Historical Markers – Henry thanked Amy for her help with getting the latitudes and longitudes for the locations of the historical markers for KHR. He said there are many more possibilities, and he’d like to put some in Lefferts, Webb/Crowell, and on Eaton Grange Road. Don and Amy have been working on this. Henry would also like to put up markers for natural habitat features. Amy said she has imagined having a brochure that superimposes information about butterflies upon information about native and medicinal plants and their historic uses. Don said the brochure for the Philbrook-Cricenti Bog in New London does something similar to this.

Trail Work Day – Henry wants to have a big work day in the spring, mustering all our volunteers, to install the kiosks that were built at the trailheads. By then, the high school students should have completed the GPS contour maps for Webb/Crowell and maybe Lefferts, so they can be mounted in the kiosks. He would like them to list both good loop trails and good spotting trails (one-way walks that require spotting a vehicle at each end). Amy observed that when walking our trails, it is very difficult to find a place to sit. She suggested that those doing trail work keep an eye out for well-placed logs or stumps that could be utilized for seating.


PFOA in Middle School Well – Don learned of this at the ASLPT outreach meeting. He said that site shouldn’t be contaminated as it had not been previously developed. He said the only source of contamination he could think of was the use of mercury and lead for painting the ends of the logs knocked down by the hurricane of 1938 and submerged in Gile Pond.

Parks & Recreation Committee – Amy asked about this. Don said it does not actually exist, and in order for it to exist it would need to be voted on at Town Meeting. He is on the Grist Mill Rd committee, and said that the committee keeps getting told that certain things will be taken care of by the Parks & Recreation Committee, which does not exist.

Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 7:39 PM.

Next Meeting:  Wednesday, February 12th, 2020, at 6:00 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Bonnie Hill, Secretary