Andover Conservation Commission Minutes, October 13, 2021

Condensed from approved minutes.

October 13, 2021

Present: Tina Cotton, Jerry Hersey, Alan McIntyre, Shawn Upton, Jesse Schust, Sooze Hodgson, Jenny Bodwell, Lee Wells, Marj Roy, Michelle Dudek, Todd Goings, and John Kinney.

White Oaks Road Update: Since our last meeting, Earle Chase was hired to evaluate the access road to the Heaton property on the Town land in the Blackwater River area. He and several ACC members met there on September. 25.  

The paint cans, including oil paint cans, had been removed, but there was still some paint in the sand.  Oil paint is considered hazardous waste for disposal. 

Since our last visit, stumps, including some in the buffer zone, had been removed, which is in violation of the Shoreline Water Quality Protection Act. Some of the stakes we had placed last year to mark the buffer had been removed.  

Earle delineated the wetland again, and we measured a 50-foot buffer. Following his visit, Earle submitted a report of his observations and recommended remediation measures which were forwarded to the Select Board. 

Town Administrator Marj Roy consulted with Doug Miner, county forester, and with Rose at DES, both of whom checked the situation via photos/satellite images. DES does not have the personnel to have a site visit.

The Select Board met with the Heatons last spring. They wanted to bring in material for a driveway and cut the corner of the road towards the sand pit to give them easier access to their property. They would need a permit. It is up to us (Town and ACC) to deal with the situation. 

As work will happen within the 50-foot buffer, permits are needed. Following best practices, silt fences need to be dug in and grass seed spread and mulched with straw. Dumped slash and cuttings need to be removed by hand. 

Select Board members asked about removal of slash and digging for the silt fence and asked if that wouldn’t cause an undesirable disturbance. Earle recommended that we follow important best practices, i.e. removal by hand, or slash and a dug-in silt fence.

Heaton’s contractor, Jon Champagne, should be the one contacting DES re: gravel, cutting bank back, permits needed, best practices to be followed. Plans should be submitted in writing and reviewed by the Town Administrator, Select Board, and ACC. Marj will communicate with the contractor. The ACC is ready to meet and sign-off on any permits required.

The Town as the land owner should have a plan to remove blow-downs when it happens at White Oak.

Budget Update: We have $462.24 left in the budget.  There will be some monitoring expenses and some members may attend the Zoom sessions of the New Hampshire Association of Conservation Commissions in November.

Earle’s bill went a little over our allotment, but mileage can be charged separately.

The new easement map from ASLPT has arrived. It will go in Pizza Chef. Jesse pointed out the new Mountain Brook Easement. ASLPT may take us on a tour.

Beaver Deceivers

Valley Road: Michelle has been in touch with Skip.  He is willing to come and pull the fence, but he would prefer to put in a larger BD. Pipe is completely covered in silt. 

If we pull the fence, what will happen with the silt then? Flow is probably not strong enough to scour the area. 

Some beavers have been removed by trapping. Is there any reason to not pull all of it?  As long as there is no mechanical equipment involved, perhaps no permit is needed. 

Marj and the Select Board will follow up on this and be in touch with the landowner to notify them that this may happen.

We have not heard what the costs have been after the December 26 flood and spring flood, i.e. material and time that have gone into repairs. This is critical information for future planning. Marj will try to get this information. 

All feel that the culvert is undersized. Are there any plans for replacing the culvert? DOT has asked about ARM projects. We might be able to get funding to help with this. Action item: Jesse will look into this.

Clean Outs: Clean outs are needed at Flaghole Road and possibly at Switch Road. Town would approve a maintenance line item in ACC or Highway budget. 

We need to talk with Michelle to get an estimate. We could do it as volunteers; Marj will check to see if volunteers are covered by the Town insurance and double check to see if a paid maintenance person is covered.  

The culverts are the responsibility of the Road Agent. We should check with Jason Dudek (keeper of the Highland Lake dam) as to when the flow will be released from the lake. Need to coordinate removal of Valley Road BD with that.

Encouraged Select Board Members to be in touch with us if issues are coming up that we can help with. We could get a standard 10 minutes on the agenda. We should have a rotating schedule to attend the second Select Board meeting of the month (third Monday of the month).  In-between Mondays are work meetings. At every meeting we can select someone to attend the Select Board meeting. Shawn will attend the next meeting.

Sooze has written a wolf-tree article for the Beacon and SRK.

Monitoring: Derek will be here soon to do some. If anyone can help him, he appreciates having company.