BETHLEHEM CONSERVATION COMMISSION
October 24, 2019
PRESENT: Chair Lindsay Webb, Linda Moore, Nicole McGrath, Cheryl Jensen, Margaret Gale, Vivian Winterhoff
ABSENT: Jeanne Robillard, Alternate Marilyn Johnson
The meeting was called to order at 6:00 pm.
The meeting minutes of September 26, 2019 were reviewed. It was noted that treasure’s was misspelled and Zister should be Zitser. Cheryl motioned to approve the minutes with the minor changes discussed, Linda seconded, motion carried 5-0 (Vivian hadn’t arrived in time for the vote).
Margaret gave the treasure’s report: The Town Account had $629.91 remaining. The expenditure report showed the check was sent to BES for the field trip and the NHACC conference expense has been paid. The savings account had $16,972.61, the reduction in the savings account in the amount of $486 is for the advertising for the RFP for the survey of the Town Forest.
The BCC was copied on a letter from DES to Baker Brook regarding a possible shoreland protection violation. Linda has followed up with Amy Hudnor of DES and a site visit is planned for November 12th. There is discussion on the old restaurant and pool that remain on the Baker Brook property. The BCC would like to find out for sure if a shoreland permit is required for these structures if and when the developer is ready to move forward with this part of the project. It is suggested that someone from the BCC accompany Ms. Hudnor on the site visit. Linda will contact her to see if she can attend.
There was a Taking Action for Wildlife Survey that was sent out by the UNH Coop Extension. There was discussion on the survey and if it should be filled out individually or as a commission. It was estimated to take about 15minutes. It was decided that the BCC would fill the survey out and submit it during the meeting. Once results are reviewed, a few communities and a theme are choose and the UNH Cooperative Extension works with those communities to incorporate wildlife into their community planning and development. The BCC worked on the survey. Our top priorities where:
The survey asked where we at with developing a conservation plan, developing a priority checklist, updating our natural resource section of our Master Plan, Land Conservation, developing a Town Forest, obtaining a Wetland inventory or valuation, incorporating climate change into our Natural Resource Inventory, and incorporating climate change into our conservation plan.
There was discussion on which of the projects would be the most beneficial. It was agreed that incorporating climate change into our Natural Resource Inventory would be the most beneficial to the BCC as the NRI was done in the early 2000’s and most likely needs to be updated anyway. The Master Plan was recently updated, there is a large of amount of conservation land already, we already have a town forest, we do not feel we have the resources to do a wetlands inventory, and we can’t incorporate climate change into our conservation plan because we do not have one. The BCC is not clear on what a priority checklist is.
The BCC received a letter from NHACC and a copy of Trails for Wildlife and People.
The BCC received the dues amount from NHACC for 2020. The dues will be $275.00 for next year. Lindsay asked for a volunteer to attend the Select Board meeting on December 16, 2019 to present the BCC budget. Cheryl volunteered and Linda will be there as well. There was discussion on the budget with the members agreeing that we should request the same amount as last year. Cheryl motioned we submit a budget to the Select Board in the amount of $1270.00 for 2020 to continue what we have been doing. Linda seconded, motion carried 6-0. Cheryl will see if she can locate the break down from last year to submit to the Select Board.
TOWN FOREST SURVEY PROPOSAL:
There are no updated at this time.
TOWN RECREATION TRAIL MAP PROJECT
Lindsay asked for an update on the Trail Map Project. Nicole said she had been doing some research and came a crossed some information about the Heritage Trail. The information she found appeared as if the Heritage Trail was maintained by the BCC. Cheryl said there is a section of the Heritage Trail that goes through Bethlehem and the BCC was involved but she does not recommend that we take it back on as we do not have the resources to manage it. Lindsay said one of the problems with the Heritage trail is a large portion of it goes over private property so there has to be a point person that is always on top of it and making sure that land owners are still wanting to participate and are okay with the trail passing over their land. Nicole will not be adding the heritage trail to the recreation map. Nicole shared a very rough draft of the brochure that she has begun to put together she will continue working on it.
At our next meeting we will take a look at last years Town Report and make any needed edits and updates.
Cheryl was contacted by Jon Swan of Save Forest Lake, in conjunction with the North Country Alliance for Balanced Change, and the Forest Lake Association, Mr. Swan would like the BCC to consider writing a letter of opposition to the proposed Landfill in Dalton. The BCC discussed Mr. Swan’s request. There is currently no application to comment on for this project. There were mixed feelings on providing comment. No action was taken and the BCC will discuss again at the November meeting.
There was discussion on submitting a motion to the Select Board to appoint Jeanne Robillard as an alternate. No motions were made. Margaret will follow up with Jeanne prior to any recommendations being made.
Cheryl moved we adjourn the meeting at 7:50 pm, Linda seconded. Motion passed unanimously. Meeting adjourned.
Nicole McGrath, Secretary