Conservation Commission Remote Meeting

Monday, January 4, 7:00 pm until 10:00 pm
Call-in virtual meeting (Go-to-Meeting)
A meeting of the Conservation Commission

Conservation Commission Virtual Meeting
Mon, Jan 4, 2021 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM (EST)

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Access Code: 465-373-333

Meeting of Conservation Commission

Members: (Quorum)

  • Remote: Andrew Young, at 7:00 PM
  • Remote: David Powicki, at 7:00 PM
  • Remote: Isaiah Robison, Chair, at 7:00 PM
  • Remote: Ralph Tiner, at 7:00 PM
  • Remote: Jono Neiger, at 7:00 PM
  • Remote: Gail Berrigan, at 7:00 PM
  • Remote: Joan Deely, at 7:00 PM

Also Present:

  • Tessa Dowling Conservation Agent (submitting minutes)
  • Mitch Mulholland
  • Mark Stinson DEP
  • Brooke Thomas
  • Tanya Cushman
  • Lisa Vittori
  • Kemper Carlsen
  • Jay Aylward

See original Agenda Approved Meeting Minutes

Meeting opened: 7:06 PM

Meeting closed: 9:37 PM

  1. Meeting Preliminaries

  2. Continued Public Hearing

    • 7:16: Weed Management for Leverett Pond Notice of Intent - Friends of Leverett Pond

      General Discussion...
      Mitch Mulholland and Tom Hankinson gave an update on what materials the Friends of Leverett Pond (FOLP) will provide to the Commission:
      -FOLP has answered about two thirds of the questions sent to them from the Commission
      -A revised long term management plan for the Pond
      -Interpreted data sheets from data collected in previous years including a list of which herbicides were used during different years
      -Description of what people receive as guidance for how to remove and dispose of Pond vegetation.
      FOLP has also reached out to Fish & Wildlife to complete a Pond fish survey in June or July and to hire Mikey Marcus, SWCA Environmental Consultant, as an consultant.
      The Commission also expresses in interest in seeing a non-fish wildlife survey to know what animals are utilizing the Pond and a habitat study that would indicate what habitats are significant.
      Public comments ask if the Commission could help fund these studies because the FOLP have limited resources and it is hard to collect the data for baseline conditions to compare results from the management.
      The Commission raises concerns about funding application materials that they are evaluating but would support a grant application to the Community Preservation Committee.
      Hankison knows that CPA funds were used for the Leverett Pond Dam project.
      Dowling will call DEP to check how Conservation funds can be used.
      Public comment suggests the Commission also value anecdotal information from long term residents who live on the Pond. The Commission would be interested in a survey of what the residents have seen in terms of vegetation and wildlife changes around the Pond over the years.
      The Commission will closely study the specific DEP requirements for Limited Ecological Projects. Concerns are raised that the project is significantly focused on recreation. The proposed water channels described in the project are perpendicular to the shoreline in front of a few residencies. Will the management plan control the invasives at the Pond-size scale? Mulholland believes that Limited Ecological category fits the project. The project is focused on invasive control as well as recreation. Hankison adds that FOLP has limited funds that come from Pond residents who want to see change in their Pond frontage and that there has been a noticeable decrease in the milfoil population from the herbicide Procellacor. Procellacor has a selective impact.
      The future FOLP goal is to create a drawdown plan for the Pond.
      Public comments express concern about the use of herbicides and there is opposition to a Pond drawdown when there is a lack of information on how a drawdown would impact native and nonnative species.
      Per Tiner, DEP offers guidance on pond drawdowns and their effect on aquatic communities.
      The Code of Leverett 208-3 reads "The use of herbicides is prohibited along easements, rights-of-way, railroads,
      power lines and/or uses other than agricultural or domestic within the town borders."
      The town Board of Health does not a position on the use of herbicides in Leverett Pond at this time.
      Public Comment raises concern about E.coli impacts from full season home septic systems and an increase in nutrients. Per Hankinson, the Pond does not currently have an algae issue. Mulholland has a nutrient research report that he can share with the Commission.
      Public Comment also suggests that the Commission reviews what files might have been submitted when the Pond's management plan was permitted before. Dowling will check this.
      Per Powicki, the Commission should keep in mind the Pond is a human construction and there is a balance between the artificial and natural state.
      Neiger had a Pond map created that shows water depth contours. The lake is generally shallow. Dowling will share the map with FOLP.

      MOTION, moved by Ralph Tiner, seconded by Joan Deely: to continue the hearing to the February 1, 2021 meeting. .

      Pass: Aye: Isaiah Robison, David Powicki, Ralph Tiner, Andrew Young, Jono Neiger, Joan Deely. Not Present: Gail Berrigan.

      Berrigan had to leave the meeting early.

  3. Administrative Matters

    • Commission Chair Discussion/Commission Membership

      General Discussion...
      This agenda item was moved to a future meeting.

    • 7:13: Minutes issue on town website

      General Discussion...
      Dowling explains that due to an error message on the town website and a misunderstanding of the correct steps needed to finalize meeting minutes, there are errors in the posted meeting minutes for October. The errors are grammatical or a problem of a redundant motion. The content of the minutes was not effected. Dowling is locked out from correcting these minutes but was able to upload corrected versions of the minutes to each webpage so that the public can access the correct minutes. Now that Dowling is aware of the issue it should not happen again.

    • 8:43: CR Monitoring Update

      General Discussion...
      This agenda item was moved to a future meeting.

    • 8:48: Bill Rivers DCR Monitoring follow-up site visit

      General Discussion...
      The Commission members will join the DCR CR monitor and the Highway Department at the Bill Rivers Conservation Area. DCR is concerned that highway department is parking salting equipment over the line of the Conservation Area.

    • 8:49: North Leverett Rd Lot 2-86 Certificate of Compliance

      General Discussion...
      Robison has shared a description of the work that was completed at Lot 2-86. The work completed does not match what was described in the Notice of Intent or the Order of Conditions but the square footage of impact to the Riverfront Area is the same. It does not appear that the Order of Conditions for the property was registered with the Registry of Deeds. The property has been sold but Robison will pass the Certificate of Compliance on to the new landowners so they will be aware that the property is in Wetland Protection Act jurisdiction. The description of the work completed will be attached to the Certificate.
      Dowling screen-shares the Certificate of Compliance DEP form and fills it out as the Commission requests.

      MOTION, moved by Joan Deely, seconded by Jono Neiger: to issue a Complete Certificate of Compliance for Lot 2-86.

      Pass: Aye: David Powicki, Ralph Tiner, Andrew Young, Jono Neiger, Joan Deely. Abstain: Isaiah Robison. Not Present: Gail Berrigan.

      Berrigan had to leave the meeting early.

    • 8:59: Tree Cutting in Leverett Pond Buffer Zone

      General Discussion...
      Robison has visited 24 Putney Rd where five trees were cut in the buffer zone of Leverett Pond. The trees were sizeable but there was little disturbance to the ground. The root systems were left in place. The wood was not all used for firewood. The landowners saw the trees as hazardous and were worried about the house on the property.
      Per Young, ash trees on the pond are dying and need to come down.
      Commission members view the situation as a chance to educate people on what is required if a landowner wants to cut trees within Wetland Protection Act jurisdictional areas and would like to see a restoration plan proposal from the landowners of the property. Per Robinson, there would be room for replanting vegetation on the south side of the property. The Commission will give the landowners three months to create a restoration plan that will then be reviewed by the Commission at an open meeting.
      Neiger would be interested to know if DEP allows off-site mitigation.
      Dowling screen-shares the DEP Enforcement Order form. Young suggests adding a detailed description of the size and species of the trees that were cut down. Robison will reach out to the landowners and record the tree information and get the information to Dowling who can update and send out the Enforcement Order to the landowners.

      MOTION, moved by Isaiah Robison, seconded by Joan Deely: to issue the Enforcement Order for 24 Putney Rd as presented by Dowling with the additional tree descriptions that will be provided by Robison.

      Pass: Aye: Isaiah Robison, David Powicki, Ralph Tiner, Andrew Young, Jono Neiger, Joan Deely. Not Present: Gail Berrigan.

      Berrigan had to leave the meeting early.

  4. Old Business

  5. New Business

  6. Other New Business not considered as of the date of this notice

  7. Meeting Wrap-up

    • Next Meetings:
      1. Tue, Jan 26, at 7:00 PM "Conservation Commission Remote Meeting" -- Call-in virtual meeting (Go-to-Meeting)
      2. Mon, Feb 1, at 7:00 PM "Conservation Commission Remote Meeting" -- Call-in virtual meeting (Go-to-Meeting)
      3. Mon, Mar 1, at 7:00 PM "Conservation Commission Remote Meeting" -- Call-in virtual meeting (Go-to-Meeting)
      4. Mon, Apr 5, at 7:00 PM "Conservation Commission Remote Meeting" -- Call-in virtual meeting (Go-to-Meeting)
      5. Mon, Apr 19, at 7:00 PM "Conservation Commission Remote Meeting" -- Call-in virtual meeting (Go-to-Meeting)
    • Published! Meeting Closed at 9:37 PM.

The listing of matters is those reasonably anticipated by the Chair which may be discussed at the meeting. Not all items listed may in fact be discussed and other items not listed may also be brought up for discussion to the extent permitted by law.

Minutes approved on Monday, Feb 8, 2021

Posted to: Conservation Commission