BETHLEHEM CONSERVATION COMMISSION
JUNE 27, 2019
PRESENT: Chair Lindsay Webb, Linda Moore, Nicole McGrath, Margaret Gale
ABSENT: Jeanne Robillard, Cheryl Jensen, Alternate Marilyn Johnson
GUESTS: Dann, Vivian Winterhoff
The meeting was called to order at 6:05 pm. Lindsay notified the BCC that Jon Swan, from Save Forest Lake, had to cancel last minute and read an email from Mr. Swan with his concerns and apologies for cancelling. Mr. Swan’s email summarized his concerns with the possible development of a Landfill in Dalton, as well as his support for non-expansion of the current landfill in Bethlehem. The BCC discussed his email and felt his comments would be more relevant to the Bethlehem Planning Board or Select Board as they did not address any wetlands permits or wildlife impacts within Bethlehem.
The May minutes were unable to be approved as both Linda and Nicole did not attend the May meeting. They will be reviewed at the next BCC meeting.
The BCC was approved for and has received a $4,000 grant from the GRUNMAN FUND for the purpose of obtaining a survey of the Town Forest.
Margaret read the treasure’s report. The BCC has spent a total of $400.09 out of the Town Account with $869.91 remaining this year. This included a $500 donation to the Bethlehem Elementary School that was returned to the BCC. The field trip the money was donated towards was cancelled unexpectedly, so the money was returned. As of May 31, 2019, there was $ 13,450.04 in the savings account. The grant money was deposited into the savings account but will not be not be reflected in the treasurers’ report until the following statement.
The BCC will need to do an RFP for a survey for the Town Forest. Cheryl had provided Lindsay with a copy of the ad that was used the last time the BCC placed an RFP for a survey. She recommends we place an ad in the paper that directs interested parties to pick up a packet with additional information (Survey report from 2003, stewardship plan, and survey from 2003) from the Town Office. There was discussion about making the additional information available electronically. There is discussion on the time frame and how quickly we would like to get the RFP in the paper and possible deadlines. There are no deadlines associated with the grant money. Linda volunteers to work with Administrative Assistant April Hibberd and contact a surveyor friend from ACT for recommendations on how to word the RFP. She hopes to get the ad in the paper in the next couple of weeks. Lindsay will be sending thank you notes to the organizations that provided letters of support for the grant application.
Connecticut River Conservancy is requesting a donation. We donated last year and the donation will be matched as it was last year. Margaret motioned we make a donation to the Connecticut River Conservancy. Lindsay seconded the motion. There was discussion on how the BCC has extra funds due to the field trip money being returned. Nicole asked if the money donated needs to directly benefit Bethlehem as it is town appropriated money. There was discussion on how the Connecticut flows into the Ammonoosuc and we are part of the Connecticut River water shed. Nicole asked if there was a deadline for the money to me matched. The deadline was June 30th. Margaret withdrew her motion.
Nicole asked the BCC if they would be interested in compiling a handout/brochure with trails that are in Bethlehem. The handout would provide residents and visitors with a list of trails, a brief description of the trails, and the trailhead location. We could also provide a map with the trail locations identified. The other members were supportive of this idea. Lindsay volunteered to help Nicole compile a list of trails and it was suggested that we reach out to Nigel at the Rocks Estate, the Bethlehem Trails Association, and the owner of the conservation land on Lewis Hill.
Lindsay shared with the BCC that the Fish and Game Commission voted to help the Forest Society to purchase the Gould property by authorizing to contribute up to $350,000 towards the acquisition of the property.
Margaret let the BCC know that she is still very interested in working at the old community gardens. Nicole and Linda offer their assistance. She has some pollinator friendly plants and also would like to plant some lilacs.
Dann shared some suggestions with the BCC. He would like the BCC to consider printing double sided. He also would like to encourage us to make things available electronically therefore cutting back on our paper usage. He inquired as to if the grant we received was supported through public or private funds. Lindsay responded that it was private. He inquired if the old Town Dump would be a possible location for a future Transfer Station. He was told that it is not likely as that is now part of the Town Forest. He also had a few resources he wanted to share with the BCC. One was on electric cars and how they were found to emit higher emissions then diesel vehicles. The other was a book on global warming titled, “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism”.
The next regular meeting would be July 25th; However, multiple members will be unavailable during that time. After some discussion a meeting date of August 8th at 6:00pm was set. Margaret will check to see if the Library is available, if it is not the BCC will meet at the Town Hall.
Linda motioned we adjourn the meeting at 7:07pm, Margaret seconded. Motion passed unanimously. Meeting adjourned.
Nicole McGrath, Secretary