Andover Conservation Commission Minutes – February 10, 2021

By Lee Wells

Condensed from approved minutes

Present: Jesse, Nancy, Alan, Tina, Jerry, Jenny

Budget/expenses (signage): Nancy will call ASLPT about our dues, and she’ll look into our dues with the NH Conservation – the amount we pay is based on the population of the town, it is usually due after the town meeting takes place.

Signage for White Oak: We can use our wetlands sign as a template for a wetlands buffer sign and add “no digging,” “no dumping” in smaller print along the edge of the signs. Do we need to include “Andover Conservation Commission”?  We will need about 30 signs now, but should keep the design basic, so we can use it again in the future as needed. Do we want to use a “caution” color: red, orange, yellow?

Sandy Crystal, who has helped Mary Anne with ordinance, is the chair of Conservation Commission in Bow – they have a functioning wetlands ordinance. We may want to be in touch with her re: our ordinance.

Nancy will look into our using the Town Zoom account. Lee will check with Library trustees about using the library Zoom account. Lee moved that Jesse be reimbursed for his Zoom expenses, Jenny seconded: all in favor.

Beaver Deceivers (BD): Nancy and Jesse went to the Zoom meeting with the Select Board on Feb 1 to be part of the discussion on BDs. Jesse was told by the Select Board that Jon Champagne thinks that the Valley Road BD needs to be removed. Our position going into the meeting was to ask them to wait until there could be further discussion. 


Jon Champagne feels that the Elbow Pond BD is a real danger and it will fail and flood damage could be expensive. They are saying that they will remove the BD and save the materials so it can be reinstalled.  They are misunderstanding how it works and how the installation is the primary cost.  Todd Goings supports trapping out the beavers. 


We did get an agreement to have a meeting with everyone who has a stake in the BDs.  We need an outside objective voice. This request was made earlier by the Select Board, and we support the request. The important issue really is maintenance.  


Alan has been keeping a log book on the BDs.  He is adding who owns the land where the BDs are.  Do we know who owns the land at Valley Road?  They are stakeholders who should be included in any BD meeting. We should introduce ourselves to the landowners and let them know that we are monitoring the BDs. There may be situations where public safety etc. supersedes the landowners’ rights. 


We have about two months to inform stakeholders and get them up to speed on the issues in terms of the Town allowing trapping, removal.  Vicky Mishcon should be at the meeting. John Thompson, Bill Bardsley, Skip Lisle would also be interested in attending.  There is no date yet. Donna Duclos offered to moderate.

Comments from Ken Wells:  We can establish a table of flow that each of these is able to handle. We could then establish a criterion for when maintenance is required.

Skip has said that over time the design needs to evolve. As wetlands evolve and increase, as it has on Emery Road, the BD needs to change. Hopefully, our monitoring and documentation will be helpful at the meeting.  


If Jon Champagne sees the water level higher on the upstream side, he sees it as a failed culvert, when in reality it is a failure of maintenance. We need to do right by the town and find a scientist to give us outside, objective, independent information. Our role is to serve the town’s interests: its ecology and natural resources as well as financial interests. 


Would Jon Warzocha be a suitable “outside expert,” or is he too local? Perhaps someone from UNH or cooperative extension?

Commission membership term renewals: Town website doesn’t say how long our terms are.  We should check out those dates with the town.  Tina is an alternate, seven full (Alan, Derek, Jerry, Jenny, Jesse, Lee, Nancy). Action item: Nancy will check with the Town on the terms.

Monitoring obligations 2020 and monitoring records: Jesse has received the monitoring spreadsheet from Derek; Jesse will forward it to us. The document also includes helpful links. Derek is the only one who can enter information. 


Jesse showed us the document in screen share – the document is not up-to-date.  We are obligated to inspect the town properties. Nancy will go through the files in Town Hall. Action item: Jesse will try to make a simpler spreadsheet, including who is responsible for monitoring and who did it last.

Should we add an additional member and allow Derek to become an alternate?  Would it make sense to have someone who is also on the Planning Board?

The Planning Board is considering a conservation subdivision ordinance. A developer would be allowed to have smaller lots on a large parcel of land (20 or more acres) as long as the rest of the parcel is protected from further development.  It is very much in the works right now. Trying to avoid suburban sprawl, high density, and multi-family townhouse style development.

Bog Pond: We need to put up more signs in the spring. ASLPT is still interested in conservation of land there.

Community Outreach: It would be easy to host a Zoom speaker. NH Lakes and the Forest Society may have materials ready to go. Could everyone look for links that might be worth putting in the Beacon?

Jesse and Nancy will be sending a letter to the Select Board: re: Beaver Deceivers and the future meeting of the stakeholders in April.

Website updates: Alan has been updating the “About” page; Alan needs photos from Lee, Jenny, Jerry and Nancy. He needs dates for when we joined. We’ll need help from Elita for editing the Town website.

You can always get to our website from the Town website (click on Conservation page) or go to:   Alan can give us a password that would allow us to edit the webpage.