Andover Conservation Commission
January 13, 2021
Present: Jesse Schust, Tina Cotton, Jenny Bodwell, Nancy Robart, Alan McIntyre, Jerry Hersey, Lee Wells.
December Minutes: Nancy moved to accept the minutes as amended, Alan seconded: all in favor.
Correspondence: As of last Monday nothing there.
•ASPLT has a quarterly outreach committee meeting. It is a quarterly meeting, a rep from each of the local conservation commissions attend, and a couple of foresters from Sullivan and Merrimack Counties. Meetings: 3 on a Monday. It is very informative to see what other ConComs are doing. Nancy and Lee are interested and can rotate attending.
•More easements are being acquired; some of the properties are owned by ASLPT, which is something new for them.
Shared Chair Role: Nancy and Jesse have talked it through, they are happy to work as co-chairs. Quite a few ConComs do this. Jenny moves that Jesse and Nancy co-chair the Conservation Commission, Jerry seconded: all in favor.
•Vicky Mishcon is willing to monitor the Elbow Pond Deceiver, Jesse or Alan will be in touch with her to help her know what to look for.
•Jon Champagne has decided that the Elbow Pond BD is unworkable and needs to be removed. He assured us that he would not take it out until he informed us. Jesse told Michelle Lambert, who owns the land with Joanne Edgar. She clears the BD out twice a year. She helped fund the BD when it was first put in in 2006. Michelle and Joann have helped maintain Skip’s BD, and as the landowners, they do not want to have the BD removed.
Bill Bardsley, who owns the land on the other side of the road also doesn’t want to have it removed. Bill reported that truckloads of fill went in to build up the road and prevent flooding, and that since the BD went in, it has been much better.
Jon is concerned about the debris, the town won’t let him remove it for liability reasons, but the landowner removed the debris and it functions fine. If we can make a record of that and have a way of communicating it, it would help to solve the problem.
Jesse showed the before and after pictures of the Elbow Pond BD. The “after” pictures are very impressive. Michelle’s clearing made a dramatic difference – the Select board needs to see the documentation, Jesse will show them the pictures at the next meeting. Michelle did all of this clearing in 3 hours.
Jesse also spoke with John Thompson, who was appalled at the idea of removing it, because it has saved the town so much trouble in the past. John T was initially against BDs, but after seeing how it works he felt it was important to keep.
We have been trying to get costs of clearing culverts from Jon Champagne, but haven’t heard back.
Action Item: Jesse will speak with Vicky, and go to the Selectboard – we believe they have the final word on town equipment/property and not the road agent.
Trapping the beavers out on Elbow Pond is not an option as the landowners do not allow hunting or trapping on their land.
There is a season for beavers, if they are seen as a nuisance they may be trapped, but on private land it is up to the landowner.
For the record: Jesse has met with Lenny Caron twice. Lenny was concerned about the way he was reported in the minutes in the last Beacon. While he did remove the BD, the whole story was that the BD was partially removed by the road agent (John Thompson) when they replaced the culvert, and he was supposed to place it back in. Lenny saw that the BD had been partially removed and that it was holding back pine needles, he removed it because of the risk of flooding his land. He did not “remove it” but removed what was remaining.
Official recommendation to Select Board re: Elbow Pond BD: The CC recommends that the town postpone removal of any BD until maintenance has been performed and evaluated by the Selectboard, Road Agent, a member of the Conservation Commission, and a volunteer or hired professional/arbitrator. Proposed by Jesse, seconded by Nancy, all in favor.
Action item: Jesse will contact John Warzocha, an engineer with Horizon Engineering, to see if there are measurements/observations we can make to make assessing the BD and culvert better and easier.
We should ask landowners if they have done maintenance before and will they continue, or would they be interested in learning how to do it.
Jesse spoke with people at Watermark, they go into the water in all temperatures to repair docks. They might be interested in clearing BDs.
Monitoring obligations 2020 and records: Nancy and Mary Anne went through the folders. Jerry has done the Newman easement assessment. Mary Anne showed her the proper way to file these reports. What is missing is a database of the current easements. It hasn’t been updated since 2018-2019. There are shared documents in pages, Alan can convert it to a word document.
Budget: Jesse submitted a proposal based on the 2020 budget. $1,300 was requested.
Nancy went to Sutton’s CC website: it has all the members listed, when the terms expired, who the correspondence secretary is. Elita Reed maintains the Andover website, we can ask her to update. Alan is in charge of our website and will update it. Alan will work on the easement spreadsheet, convert it to a word document.
Beacon Articles: White Oak article in the future. Lee will be in touch with Dave Blinn about the history. Paul Currier may have some information as well.
Town Report: Jesse made a motion that we accept the annual report for the town as prepared by Tina, seconded by Alan: all in favor.
We should work on some kind of lecture/presentation for this spring – especially now when we can do it over Zoom and get a speaker that would be difficult to have in person. Could members reach out to possible speakers?
Jesse moved that we adjourn, seconded by Jerry: all in favor. Meeting adjourned at 8:38.