Town of Sutton Selectmen Meeting Minutes


Sutton Conservation Commission

Draft Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Present: Henry Howell, Chair; Don Davis; Debbie Lang; Lynn Wittman; Chuck Bolduc; Jim Morris; Wally Baker and Bonnie Hill.

Absent: Barbara Hoffman.

Members of the public present: Thomas Carr, Martin Gross.


Call to order: The meeting was held at Town Hall. Henry Howell called the meeting to order at 6:37 pm.


Previous Meeting’s Minutes: The minutes from the 8/11/2021 meeting were approved unanimously.

Financial Report:

Debbie had sent out a financial report before the meeting. In August there were no new charges against the SCC Admin budget. YTD total spending is $1139.88 out of a total budget of $7537. At the end of August, $10,100 in LUCT money had been deposited to the Conservation Fund, bringing its balance to $158,304.96. The King Hill Fund had $1,708.47.  The Capital Reserve balance is $50,570.65.  Chuck said there will be plowing expenses and possibly mowing expenses coming up. Henry has spent some special project money as well. The SCC will be meeting with the budget committee on October 25th at 6:15 PM.


  • Email from Elly Phillips with 2021-202 budget meeting schedule for town departments.
  • Email from Davis Brush of the Student Conservation Association’s NH Conservation Corps regarding crew/project requests for 2022 and 2023 seasons. Several members attested that this is a wonderful organization, and hiring them for a project is something to keep in mind.
  • Email exchange with Elly Phillips regarding a Mountainside lot abutting KHR.
  • Email exchange with a Cape Cod resident looking at property in Sutton and asking about hiking on Dodge Hill Rd and swimming in the Lane River.
  • Email exchange with Nancy Robart, chair of Andover CC regarding using our Bioblitz article and having a joint meeting in future.
  • Email exchange with Elly Phillips, Kimberly Hallquist (New London Town Admin) et al regarding Japanese Knotweed eradication.
  • Email from NHACC announcing the fall Lunch & Learn Zoom series, with presentations on laws regarding eBikes, ConCom Fundamentals, recruiting new members, assessing glyphosate use, and more.
  • NHACC August eNews announcing 50th Anniversary Celebration, citizen science opportunity for beech leaf disease study, grant opportunities and more.


Appointment 7:00: Thomas Carr of Meridian Land Services

This is in reference to tax/lot 09-668-062 on Shaker St. The property owners are planning to build a house on the site and have engaged Meridian for a wetlands restoration project. The site had numerous wetlands violations as a result of logging and construction by the previous owner. Tom Carr gave a presentation which explained the history of the parcel and the methods used to restore the wetlands. A blocked stream is now free-flowing, and three areas of wetlands buffer have been restored.  He will meet with the Planning Board seeking a conditional use permit, and then with the ZBA for a zoning variance (to retain fill in the wetland, as there was no alternative site for the driveway.) The commission members voted in favor of accepting the restoration plan for lot 09-668-062. Chuck abstained, as he is a member of the Planning Board. Henry commended the property owners for taking action to restore the integrity of the wetlands, and Meridian for its exemplary job of wetlands reclamation.


Review of Wetland Applications and Issues:


  • Copy of NHDES Emergency Authorization Verification sent 8/5/2021 for repair to the Blaisdell Lake Boat ramp. File # 2021-02482. Amended copy sent 8/20/2021 with more details regarding dredging. Debbie reported that this repair is finished.
  • Jim Morris’ summary of NHDOT I-89 Dredge & Fill application #2. Jim reviewed the application and had fewer concerns about it than he did regarding application #1.  One of the concerns is regarding the long-eared bat, which the application states will be negatively impacted by the highway project. Because of this impact, the contractor is required to follow certain guidelines. Henry asked, where do these guidelines come from, and who would be overseeing this? Is there anyone we can talk to? We really shouldn’t ignore this. He asked Jim to look into who is following up with this. Jim mentioned his concern with the amount of tree removal that was specified in application #1. This is supposedly being done because of sight lines, but it is unclear why this is thought to be necessary. The work being done in the Warner stretch of the highway shows just how extensive this tree removal is. If the tree removal is the primary threat to the long-eared bat population, then we need to question the necessity for it.  Jim also pointed out that the amount of impervious surface is going to increase. Some of this will be cancelled out by a decrease in impervious surface in the rest area, but there is still a net gain. This application specified $109K in potential ARM funds. Chuck said that he called the contact person given in the application but didn’t get through to him. Henry reminded us that Chuck had listed ten potential ARM projects in our response to the DOT’s questionnaire last year, and said we need to find out what we should be doing in the meantime. Wally mentioned the culverts on Shaker St that need to be replaced. Chuck told us that there is an interactive map on GRANIT of all the culverts in the state, including pictures.


Review of Intents to Cut and Logging Issues:

  • None


Old business


NH Bioblitz status: publicity, posters, current participation – Don designed a poster to publicize the Bioblitz and passed it around for review. He will make the suggested changes and email it out. Henry will get it into the schools, Lynn will make laminated copies to put up in the trailhead kiosks, and Bonnie will put it on the website. Bonnie reported that Sutton has quite a few observations entered so far, thanks mostly to Jane Williamson, who has been observing in KHR. Bonnie and Donna have also entered quite a few observations for Webb/Crowell. A publicity effort was made at the KLPA anniversary party, with a table, handouts and demos.


Focus projects for SCC in 2021 – Henry called our attention to the list of ideas that he distributed. He mentioned some large-scale efforts such as forming an energy group like New London has, or solarizing town buildings. He spoke of the work Amy Highstrom is doing with butterflies and how this ties in with an effort in Vermont and Connecticut to create 40,000 acres of pollinator corridors along highways, farmlands, etc, with research being done on seeds for pollinator plants. Don said there is a man in Northern NH who is collecting native wildflower seeds and giving them out for planting. Henry asked us to continue to think about projects.


Donation system for KHR to help with mowing, plowing and maintenance costs – Chuck said that we need a website for people to be taken to when they use their phones to donate. He has a friend who has offered to create and host a website for us at no cost to us. Lynn said that the KLPA uses Donorbox and Stripe, and these take a big piece of every donation. Chuck said there are many types of software, and some are oriented towards non-profits. As for Venmo, Lynn said it can’t be used by a business or non-profit – only by individuals. Chuck said Paypal and Applepay are convenient for people to use. Henry reported that he saw a sign for donating by phone to SPNHF at the Andrew Brook trailhead recently.


Status of Horse Beach KLNA: 1) engineering designs and 2) landscaper designs – Wally talked to Peter Stanley about whether we need to get an engineer involved in the parking lot plan, and the answer was no. Nor do we need to go to the Planning Board. Wally will draw up a plan for the parking area. As for the landscaping, Lynn would like to pursue this. She is going to ask Ernie Brake for a design. Once we have a design specifying the types and locations of the plants, it is a matter of finding volunteers to implement it. She is hoping people will be willing to donate the plants, as they did for the high school’s rain garden.


New Business


Possible meeting with NH Fish & Game in October concerning grants for stream-related projects – Bonnie said there is a large amount of grant money available from the Merrimack River Watershed Council for water quality-related projects, and NH Fish & Game wants to meet with local conservation commissions to discuss projects that could benefit from this. Land conservation is a possibility, especially if the parcel had a stream running through it that was a habitat for native brook trout. Don said Trout Unlimited has some money for grants, too. Chuck said he attended the Lunch & Learn about the NHDES Source Water Protection grants, and there is money available there, too.  Chuck now has access to the source water data from DES, and we can use this when we apply for grants.


Property sales:

Mountainside lot abutting KHR — The property owner was considering donating the lot in exchange for tax relief on an abutting parcel, but this is not something the BOS can authorize. This lot is priced too high for the SCC to purchase, and in addition, there would be road maintenance issues.

Fundraising for land purchases – Jim said money can be raised through offering the purchase of memorials, such as benches. If the bench is in an especially nice spot, this can be substantial. A plot of land can also be purchased as a memorial to someone. He offered to do some research on this. Debbie said there is an organization called The Conservation Fund that will provide temporary funding to organizations that are trying to purchase land and need a little more time to get the money together. She offered to find out more, like whether they charge interest, etc.


Trail Maintenance and Development

Trails Advisory Committee Report

>Mowing at KHR – Chuck talked to the mower and the mowing can’t be done now because it is just too wet. Chuck told him to do it when he can, but it may not happen, and Chuck said we may need to re-think our mowing strategy, since it gets skipped too many years. He said that every time of year has drawbacks for mowing, but it is something that needs to be done nevertheless.

>Forestry at KHR – The boundaries need to be marked for the forester, and Chuck wanted to piggyback this effort on the easement monitoring, since the monitors will be walking the boundaries. He is planning to use flagging in the woods, and signs along the Mountainside boundary.

>GIS map of KHR – Chuck sent a draft to Henry, and he will send it out to the rest of us. Henry talked to a Colby Sawyer professor who teaches GIS and needs a place for his students to do GIS projects. This could yield maps of all of our properties, not just KHR.

>Mowing at Enroth Gift – Don was contacted by Jerry Gagnon, who is still interested in mowing. The group agreed to have him do it.

>Summertime trail clearing and maintenance – Bonnie reported that she and Donna sawed through a large hemlock that fell across the trail at Webb/Crowell. The rest of the trail was in good shape.

>Washout at KHR – Chuck suggested using some Special Projects money to fix an area all the way up at the base of the old triple. The washout has deeply eroded the soil at the foundation of an old building there. The group voted to authorize spending up to $1000 to have someone bring in an excavator to fix this. Chuck will arrange for it.

>Plowing at Hominy Pot trailhead – Chuck has spoken with Travis Perkins about doing this.


Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned around 9:00 PM.

Next Meeting:  Wednesday, October 13th, 2021, at 6:30 PM, at Sutton Town Hall.

Respectfully submitted,

Bonnie Hill, Secretary