Andover Conservation Commission, September 22, 2021

By Lee Wells

Condensed from approved minutes

Special Meeting to discuss White Oaks/Horseshoe Pond logging

Present: Jesse Schust, Sooze Hodgson, Jerry Hersey, Lee Wells, Tina Cotton

Observations at White Oak Pit on September 16: Jesse, Lee, Jerry, Nancy, Tina, and Todd Goings – joined later by Sooze and John Hodgson – walked along the Town access road from Route 4 where the road crosses the Blackwater to the Heaton property. We observed cut trees; some of the signage of wetland boundary (ties on small trees) had been removed because the trees had been cut. We observed piles of at least a couple dozen freshly cut trees.

The purpose of this cutting was to allow vehicles to have easier access to the Heaton property.  Select Board members Todd Goings and John Kinney gave the Heatons permission to widen the woods road.

Jesse went back the next day and measured and counted stumps – he counted 133 stumps of one inch or larger diameter. 

58 stumps 1 to 3 inch diameter
40 stumps 4 to 7 inch diameter
26 stumps 8 to 13 inch diameter
9 stumps  15 to 28 inch diameter

Two large limbs had been removed – 16” and 20”.

A large number of trees were removed. Jesse’s count includes cutting done outside of the buffer.

DES guidelines under Shoreline Protection Act: Count how many trees are left, not how many are removed.

We will need to go back to measure a grid and the remaining trees within each 25’ by 50’ section to see if the cutting was done in compliance with DES guidelines.

March 2019 letter/e-mail from Mary Anne Broshek to Select Board states that it is Prime Wetland and the Select Board granted a 50’ buffer. David Blinn agreed to an informal agreement. Blackwater is a fifth-order river.

However, it is important to note that regardless of what was agreed to by the Select Board, both the Blackwater River and Horseshoe Pond are listed by DES as protected by the Shoreline Water Quality Protection Act (RSA 483-B).

One more observation: after everybody left, Jesse walked through the White Oak Pit area and discovered that paint had been disposed of improperly. Sixteen one-gallon latex- and oil-based paint cans were dumped on the ground within 100’ of the shoreline.

Jesse asked Michelle to look into the matter and report to the Select Board. There have been negative impacts to the wetlands and the shoreline on the part of the Town during the first year of official Town ownership.

Marj went to inspect the area on September 21. She sent photos to Doug Miner (Forestry Department) who said he thought he saw nothing criminal.


Step One: Use the Shoreland Protection quideline/point system (DES) to determine if enough trees have been left standing to provide the necessary protection.

Might we want to consult with Earle Chase.  He is available; he could come on a Saturday. $80/hour plus travel expenses – includes travel time and mileage – one way.

Jesse made a motion that we hire him to review the site and impact and advise on wetland buffer work we might want to do, including  suggestions as to how to avoid future impacts. Write a report on his findings for a cost not to exceed $500.  Seconded by Jerry. All in favor.

We should try to do the measuring and point system counting before Earle comes.

Planning Board Tuesday: Major subdivision Elbow Pond Road subdivision. Should we attend also. Elbow Pond Road is a scenic road.