Andover Conservation Commission Meeting – December 9, 2020

December 9, 2020
Condensed from approved minutes

Present: Lee Wells, Tina Cotton, Alan McIntyre, Nancy Robart, Jesse Schust, Jerry Hersey

Chair Role: Jesse proposed that he and Nancy co-chair the commission.  Jesse and Nancy will discuss it further, and the entire commission can vote on it in the near future.

Jesse proposed that we pay membership dues to ASLPT and NH Association of Conservation Commissions if we have the funds remaining in this year’s budget; seconded by Alan, all in favor.

Wetland Delineation at White Oak Pit: On December 2, Lee, Nancy, Jesse, Ken Wells, and Earle Chase, a wetland scientist, marked the wetland boundary and 50-foot buffers of both wetlands. His charge came within our budget.  Earle recommended that we get in touch with the Andover, Massachusetts Conservation Commission about their signs. Action item: Lee will follow up with ASLPT and Andover, Massachusetts about signage.

Earle enjoyed working with us and is willing to be a resource. He said some towns have a wetland scientist retainer included in the budget to be used if needed.

The buffer zone is in good shape for the most part. A sand pile has been moved into a section of the buffer. The Road Agent was concerned about the buffer markings. Action item: Jesse will be in touch with Jon Champagne and let him know that the sand pile should be moved and/or at the very least a silt fence should be put in there and at the other corner (Route 4 and the Rail Trail) to prevent incursions into the wetland.

Beaver Deceivers (BD): Our monitoring pictures are very helpful to Alan when submitting reports to the Select Board. The main concern is that the western BD at Elbow Pond will fail. The photos showed the BD during a major rain event, and it appears to be overflowing, but seeing how quickly it drains is more important.

There are two misconceptions about BDs in Andover: one, that the Beaver Deceivers don’t work and two, that they are “maintenance free.”

There has been no record of what past maintenance has been done, and Skip did not always submit bills for the maintenance work that he had done, so the impression exists that no maintenance has been done.

Alan suggested training the road crew to do the maintenance. 

Another concern is funding for BD. Todd Goings asked what Alan thinks the Town should be doing. 

Select Board has tasked Alan and the Conservation Commission with three tasks:
1. Find someone willing to be contracted to maintain the BD regularly. Skip would be happy to train someone to do this.
2. How should we be managing the beavers (as opposed to managing the BDs).  Should there be trapping/removing/releasing elsewhere?
3. We hire or get a wetland specialist to be the impartial voice/verdict on the debate of whether or not BDs work.

Other issues/concerns: Are fish not getting upstream because of the BD and is it impacting fishing in Andover? There is a general lack of knowledge about benefits of beavers and wetland creation – help to reduce flooding if they are located upstream.

Beaver Deceivers are in keeping with Conservation Commission goals of supporting biodiversity and preserving rural character of town. Is keeping culverts clear more involved and expensive than maintaining a BD?


$2,500 investment on Bridge Street BD was lost when the BD was removed.

There hasn’t been good record-keeping on this – we need data and documentation. Skip did a lot of work without documenting it or submitting bills for his work.

Elbow Pond Road is already a wetland; the road backs up the water. Problems not caused by BDs.

It’s important to realize that the washing out of Elbow Pond Road was due to a major flooding event and not due to the BD.  Andover would not have received FEMA funding to replace the road if the damage had been done by the beavers.

Conservation Commission can make recommendations as to when these interventions/maintenance should happen; the responsibility for budget goes to the Nown.

We need to be able to work with Jon Champagne. We can ask him for an estimate of the cost for him to clear the culverts. Jon feels that some places are very suitable for BDs and others are not. It would be good to avoid having people align as pro- or anti-BDs.

BDs are supposed to keep things out of culverts, which they do, but the screens need to be cleared out.

Watermark Marine Construction is a marine company that installs docks, helps people get permits they need to install docks, etc. They might be willing to do this kind of work. Action item: Alan will get in touch with Watermark, Jesse will provide contact info. Skip may know what other towns are doing to maintain BDs.

Jerry reports that they are trying to trap the beavers at Valley Road. Wildlife scientists report that when a beaver is removed, another will take its place.

Skip has made recommendations for BD work on three deceivers in the upcoming year at a cost of $7,500 and after that, $1,000/year for maintenance, which was presented to the Select Board at their last meeting.

Vicky Mishcon might be willing to help by monitoring the Elbow Pond BD monthly. Action item:  Jesse will be in touch with Vicky.

Easement Monitoring: The Newman property – Derek did some this past spring. No motorized vehicles signs were posted on this property, which could be part of the monitoring. Action item: Nancy will try to get in touch with Derek to see if he can report on what he has done. Jerry will be in touch with Jim McKenna to see if there have been any changes or if there are any future changes planned.  Nancy will check with Derek about the database and what outstanding responsibilities we have for monitoring.

Wetlands Ordinance: Work on it in the coming year.

Bog Pond: Jesse, Nancy, and Lee re-marked the wetland boundary.  Signs are in good shape, but need to add signposts and signs in some gaps. Need to work on establishing an easement there.  Debris was pushed into the wetlands by Road Agent’s crews a while ago. Jay Aube from DES has stated that removing the debris could cause more damage than leaving it there. His recommendation was to leave it as is. Earle Chase feels that it should be removed.

Beacon Articles: Could put in an article and/or photo on marking White Oaks area.

Issue for Planning Board: Truckloads of concrete debris are being dropped off at property across the street from the Transfer Station and near the Rail Trail. Is this all above board? Does the owner have a permit for receiving all of this concrete waste?  Is he using his land as a dumping site?  If he leaves town, will the Town need to deal with clean up?  Planning Board needs to be asked if this is something they need to look into.  Action item: Jesse will ask Nancy Teach about it.