Town of Sutton Selectmen Meeting Minutes

TOWN OF SUTTON

Sutton Conservation Commission

Draft Meeting Minutes

Wednesday,  July 8, 2020

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

Members of the public present: Lynn Wittman.

This meeting was held remotely via GoToMeeting due to the Covid-19 emergency. Debbie volunteered to be the contact person for members of the public having difficulties connecting, and gave her phone number.

 

Call to order: Henry Howell called the meeting to order at 6:37 pm. He stated that the meeting was being held remotely because of Covid-19, and summarized the rules for conducting remote meetings. Every person attending identified him/herself by name, gave their location, and listed other people that were or might be present.

 

Previous Meeting’s Minutes: Henry made a motion to approve the minutes from the 6/10/2020 meeting, and Debbie seconded. As there were no issues found with the minutes, a roll call vote was taken, with all members present voting to approve. Amy abstained since she had not attended that meeting.

 

Financial Report:

Debbie had sent out a financial report to the SCC members before the meeting. It reported that in June, SCC spent $100 in dues (NH Lakes).  YTD expenses are $669 out of the full year budget of $7,537.  The June report did not yet reflect the 10% reduction requested by the town. The balance in the Conservation Fund was $150,502.59 at month end and $2,771.55 was in the KHR fund.  The SCC Capital Reserve has a balance of approximately $50,299.  Henry stated that since the Admin account is our most active account, he would like to see a more detailed accounting of expenditures at the monthly meetings, particularly the Special Projects account. Answering his question, Debbie said that $75 has been spent from Special Projects so far this year. Debbie said that nothing has been expended from the Secretarial Services account and asked Bonnie to submit her timesheets as soon as possible. Henry said he has already spent some money on trail-related materials and will be submitting the receipts for reimbursement from the Special Projects account.

Correspondence

  • Thank you letter response from Henry and Wally to the Astle family for their $100 donation.
  • Letter from Matthew Churchwell with a check for $100 for SCC, which came from fundraising for his Eagle Scout project.
  • Email from Betsy Forsham regarding Japanese knotweed eradication and parking at Hominy Pot Rd.
  • Letter from Shane Csiki, Flood Hazards Program Administrator from NHDES informing the town that interns will be doing stream assessments on culverts in Central NH this summer. The long-term goal of the stream crossing initiative is to collect comprehensive data regarding culverts relative to flood risk, watershed-based aquatic connectivity, and the hydraulic vulnerability of culverts at a range of flows.
  • Email letter from Gabe Roxby, Field Forester with SPNHF, giving status on the timber harvest in the Black Mountain Forest affecting the Lincoln Trail, and including a map showing where the cuts are relative to the trail.
  • NHACC June 2020 eNews, with info about grant and educational opportunities, news about conservation land acquisition.
  • Email notice from NHACC about an online training program offered by UNH Extension: Covid-19 Safety Training for Outdoor Volunteering.
  • Letter from NH Lakes thanking the SCC for the $100 membership contribution.
  • NH Forest Health Update from NH Forests and Lands. Email forwarded by Don Davis. Hemlock Woolly Adelgid has now been confirmed in Sutton.
  • Announcement from NHACC that applications are now open for Community Conservation Cohort Training, from September through November.
  • Announcement from UNH Extension that the NH Wildlife Action Plan maps have been updated for 2020 and can be viewed online. Bonnie will put this link on the website.

 

Review of Wetland Applications and Issues:

Copy of Confirmation of Complete Forestry Statutory Permit-by-Notification (SBN) sent by NHDES to the SPNHF. File no. 2020-01341.

A special Sutton wildlife area (guess its location…).Henry displayed a beautiful picture taken while kayaking on Cascade Marsh, off Cotton Rd in NE Sutton. Chuck said you can also access it from Labsphere on the other side. There is about a mile of paddling, with various inlets. This is a rich area for wildlife.

 

Review of Intents to Cut and Logging Issues:

  • Rossman, Birch Hill Rd, 35 out of 48 acres, T/L #01-698-531, Paul Mulcahey, forester.
  • Boynton, Jr, Rt 114, 12 out of 12 acres, T/L #09-822-416, Chuck Rose, logger. There are wetlands on the north end. Chuck said he has seen no activity here yet. Don said he would take a look and let Henry know if a phone message needs to be left.
  • A copy of a letter from NH Forests & Lands to Roland Lemire was received, stating that a variance was granted to allow removal of more than 50% basal area from along 800 ft of Foothills Rd in T/L #02-830-262. Bonnie expressed concern about this. Don said it may have some historical precedent, as that area used to be open fields.

 

Old business

Report from Property Advisory CommitteeThe Property Advisory Committee reported on two Sutton properties for sale that are in a high wildlife priority area for our region.  It was determined that we should have a property value assessment done on one of the parcels.   Henry made a proposal to authorize spending up to $2,000 to assess the property’s market value with 13 acres subtracted and public access provided to the remaining land. Barb seconded. It passed unanimously.

 

Review of Sutton Conservation Properties to be monitored by Sutton – Don did not have a full report on this, as he wasn’t sure what his charge was. He said he went through the list of properties: some have easements on them, and some, such as the O’Neil parcel, we have an interest in. On some, such as Bowers and Emerson, we have a secondary interest in. We do not need to monitor these unless the primary easement holder goes out of business. He will give a more complete report next month.

 

Report of SCC website enhancements – Bonnie reported that Barb came up with the idea of adding seven new pages to the existing SCC web page on the town website: News, Properties and Trails, Board Members, Minutes, Strategic Conservation Plan, Resources and Links, and Volunteer Opportunities. Because of  the structure of the existing website, and to maintain consistency, Bonnie left the Board Members and Minutes where they are now, and added five new pages, which are accessed via a dropdown menu off the “Conservation Commission” menu item which hangs off the “Boards and Committees” main menu item. She asked Henry to display the website on screen for the members to view it, and the reaction was positive. She put some preliminary content on each of the new pages that can be added to and enhanced with time. Henry gave permission for his contact info to be used on the “Volunteer Opportunities” page, until we get a dedicated SCC email address. Bonnie asked Elly to create one for us, to be monitored by the SCC secretary. Bonnie invited the members to send her anything that they would like to post on the site. Amy said she would send Bonnie some material about the Sutton Butterfly Society to be added to the site, and Henry said he would send pictures of the new boardwalk at Webb Crowell.

 

Status of parking areas at Horse Beach and at jct of Hominy Pot Rd and Kezar St — Wally said he has attended the last two BOS meetings to discuss this. The town is trying to put an easement on the land and NSIS doesn’t want one. There was a meeting of DES, the Sutton highway department and NSIS about drainage issues. NSIS is the road block. They are responsible for the area but don’t have any money. The delays are all about where the runoff is to go. Wally said if the parking lot is leveled, the runoff will be evenly distributed, and a French drain could be put in on the back side to take up the water and keep it from running into the wetlands. Wally expressed frustration about the delay in fixing this problem. People keep asking him about it, and he said 30 cars were parked at Horse Beach over July 4th. There is also an issue with shrubbery impeding visibility at the intersection there. He wants to attend the next NSIS meeting and Lynn Wittman said she would notify him about it. The other parking lot needs to be addressed, also, and Wally said he is going to stick with this until it’s done. Henry suggested the town declare it a public hazard and take it over. Chuck asked if we could speed things up by offering to take all the runoff on to our own property (KLNA), and planting a rain garden. Wally said this was a good idea, and didn’t think there would be a problem with the snow plowing. Lynn Wittman said she has asked all her friends to join the NSIS, and she asked about the SCC. Wally said she is welcome to come to any of our meetings and make comments.

 

Smiley Grove water celery situation update Bonnie said she and Donna Catanzaro pulled six bags of water celery out of the stream on June 14th. There is still a lot more in there. She said she realized afterwards that the best technique for containment is to work on the edges, rather than try to tackle the densest areas, and she wondered if it would be best to work in the area closest to the lake, but she didn’t know how to get at it, since it is impossible to walk along the shore at that point. Don suggested accessing it from a canoe. He said an old map, preferably from before 1910, would be helpful for finding the inlet.

 

Sundell Natural Area Review – Betsy Forsham forwarded us an article about using half-inch hardware cloth to control Japanese Knotweed. If the cloth is fastened down tight to the ground before the knotweed comes up the spring, it will grow through the grid and girdle itself, and successive sproutings will get weaker and weaker. It takes at least two years to have an effect. Bonnie said she may try this on her own land in the spring, and will report back how it works. Wally is very interested in trying this at Sundell, and has already run it by the select board. 500 to 1000 square feet of hardware cloth would be needed. He asked the BOS if we cut down the knotweed, would the town transport it to the dump and burn it, and the answer was yes. He will get back to us next month with cost information, and dates. Chuck said the plastic version is much cheaper than the metal hardware cloth, but might fall apart.

 

NH DOT Notification – Chuck said our ARM list and questionnaire response has been submitted to the DOT, and he has been in contact with Meli Dube there. She is in the planning aspect of the project now, and Chuck will continue to maintain contact with her. He is going to ask permission for us to access property owned by the DOT in order to hike from the north end of KHR to Hominy Pot Rd.

 

New Business

Webb/Crowell Eagle Scout boardwalk completion and celebration – Henry showed pictures of the completed boardwalk, which is designed with a seat in the middle. Amy and Chuck both have walked there and seen it, and reported that it is very well built. Amy heard positive feedback about it from others. Henry wants to have a celebration, with social distancing, and August 1st was chosen as the date. Chuck suggested it be limited in scope to just the SCC and the Eagle Scout.

 

Presentation by LSPA of watershed management plan – Debbie said that Geoff Lizotte of the LSPA gave a summary of their management plan to ASLPT, and it was very informative, and relevant to other lakes. Part of Sutton is in the Lake Sunapee watershed. Debbie asked if the SCC would like to see this presentation (virtually), and it was agreed that we would schedule a 10-minute version of it in next month’s meeting.

 

Trail Maintenance and Development

 

Trails Advisory Committee Report

“Work Day” Report – Don used his new tractor to mow walking paths in the middle of several KHR trails, including White Rabbit and Queen’s Run, and he saw a lot of butterflies. He also put down some gravel in a wet area at the junction of the Hominy Pot and Lyon Brook trails. He plans to put down some more, but right now there are trees in the way. Don, Chuck and Wally installed the kiosks at the trail heads, but the roof supports were not built correctly and will need to be fixed before the roofs can be finished. Henry is acquiring routing equipment in order to rout the lettering on our signs. He also mowed up as far as the historical marker signs on Mock Turtle, and said there is debris around the cellar holes that needs to be cleaned up. He stated that trail maintenance is a lot of work, and that he, Don, Chuck and Wally have put a lot of work into this, and he feels that it is very important that the public benefit from all this work. He’s hoping the website will help with this. He asked if we would consider getting metal directional signs that would be placed on the roads, pointing the way to the trails. A sign for Webb/Crowell could be placed near the S. Sutton post office, and directions should also be posted on the website. Don said the prison used to make metal signs for a nominal cost. Henry said he has used a sign maker in Concord. Bonnie expressed concern that these signs will bring in people with dirt bikes and ATVs. Amy said we need to make it clear that it’s a walking trail. Henry said we need to have clear signs at the trailhead showing what uses are allowed. Bonnie said ATV people ignore signs.

 

Parking at Sutton Conservation Lands

Don thinks there is room for diagonal parking at the Hominy Pot Rd lot. We just need to decide how many cars we want, and what the purpose is. Diagonal parking would be the most efficient. Henry said this is a question of money and priorities. He proposed that the SCC set aside a budget of $5,000 for parking issues in general. This could include $3,000 for Hominy Pot, $1,000 for Maple Leaf, and $1,000 for a gate at Webb/Crowell instead of the boulders. Henry asked where we should take the money from. Don said Hominy Pot might not require this much money. He thinks he might be able to move the entrance with his tractor, and there are drainage ditches there that could be filled in to create more space. Regarding Lefferts, Don said he thought there was a space for one car on 114 there, but it’s not really a parking space. Henry asked again where the money should come from. Don suggested we figure out the cost first, then figure out the money, since it might not cost that much. Wally said he and Don will look at Hominy Pot and get an estimate from a contractor. He asked what the second priority would be, since there is a lot involved with doing Lefferts/Enroth. If it’s Maple Leaf, then he and Don can take care of it themselves. Don said the size of the parking lot there is restricted by the deed

 

Meeting location – Wally would really like us to meet at Town Hall next time, and asked everyone to think about it. He said if even one person doesn’t feel comfortable with it, we won’t do it.

 

Adjournment: Barb moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:38, and Wally seconded. The meeting was adjourned at 8:46 PM.

Next Meeting:  Wednesday, August 12th, 2020, at 6:30 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Bonnie Hill, Secretary