Kathy Kinter

Oct 162021
 

Brookfield Conservation Commission Meeting Agenda     

October 18, 2021

7:00 Act 171: Selecting Forest Blocks & Habitat Connectors for Your Town Plan webinar by Jens Hilke – preregister for this webinar https://www.eventbrite.com/e/act-171-selecting-forest-blocks-habitat-connectors-for-your-town-plan-tickets-160561416519

8:00 Regular meeting via Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83786366190?pwd=dVg1RTFxekNOYXZRNUFsTXdFdThUZz09

1. Review Agenda

2. Public Comment

3. Approval of Minutes of the September meeting

4. Town Forest Hike – 10/17

5. Forest Blocks and Habitat Connectors in Brookfield

6. Other business

7. Adjourn – next meeting is November 15, 2021

Jun 242021
 

Meeting Minutes

Brookfield Conservation Commission  6/21/21

 

Present: Jon Binhammer, Kathy Kinter, Starr Strong, Susan Shea

The meeting was called to order at 7:10 P.M. at the Brookfield Library.

Minutes of the 5/17/21 meeting were approved.

Public Comment: No members of the public were in attendance.

Forest Blocks

Continuing its discussion on how to minimize forest fragmentation, the Commission discussed  recommendations by Kevin Geiger and Pete Fellows of Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Planning Commission for a forest conservation overlay zone in the development bylaw. Commissioners noted that TRORC’s proposed map left out a lot of forests, including the wildlife corridor in the northern part of town. They agreed that it would be better to have a forest block zone that is clear and enforceable rather than the scattered pieces of our current conservation district. If Brookfield changed to a forest blocks conservation zone, wetlands and steep slopes would need to be addressed. We need to ask TRORC what restrictions they would propose for a forest conservation zone. Though the legislative mandate provides backing, there are limits as to what the town will accept. Other towns have restricted the length of driveways and required larger lots. Jon B. will arrange a meeting for us with Kevin Geiger to get more information, coordinating with Jon Jickling.

Strategic Planning

Kathy reported on her discussion with Jens Hilke of VT Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, who has facilitated strategic planning for conservation commissions. She showed examples of the process from the towns of Bradford and South Burlington. The process involves having commission members brainstorm a list of potential projects for the next five years, then rank their importance, level of expertise required, and feasibility. It would take two to three meetings (perhaps some special meetings) plus homework. If Jens Hilke facilitated, he would tabulate the results, and at the last meeting, commissioners would reconcile priorities and decide what projects to take on. It is possible for the commission to undertake this process on their own, but the facilitator member could not fully participate. Late fall and winter would be a good time for strategic planning.

Educational Programs

The Commission discussed potential educational programs and field trips for the public. The following field trips were scheduled:

Sat., September 11, with rain date of September 12 – Sunset Lake Paddle, led by Starr Strong

Sun., October 17 – Hike in Town Forest, led by Jon Binhammer

Starr may be able to present a program on one of her trips this winter.

Other Business:

Sue reported that she is still trying to contact the VTrans biologist re: improving the northern highway crossing for wildlife.

Jon B. reported that he has received no communication from the Brookfield School recently on the proposed habitat improvement project.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 P.M.

The next meeting is scheduled for July 19.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Shea

Jun 182021
 

Agenda Brookfield Conservation Commission Meeting

June 21, 7:00 pm

Brookfield Library

 Agenda

1. Review Agenda

2. Public Comment

3. Approval of Minutes of the May, 2021 meeting

4. Forest blocks – Kevin Geiger

5. Strategic planning

6. Programs and/or field trips

7. Other business

8. Adjourn

May 212021
 

Draft Meeting Minutes of the Brookfield Conservation Commission 5-17-21

Present: Jon Binhammer, Sue Shea, Jon Jickling, Kathy Kinter, Starr Strong

Zoom Meeting to order at 7:07 PM

Public Comment:  none.

Motion to approve April minutes as amended by Sue was made by Jon J and seconded by Starr.  All approved.

Annual Meeting:  We held an election of officers, per our bylaws, and there were no changes. Jon B is chair, Sue is vice chair, Jon J is treasurer and Kathy is clerk.  Starr is responsible for Green Up Day. Kathy suggested a point person assume responsibility for growing our stakeholder list.  We will share responsibility for making sure we gather contact information at events and maintain a shared database.  Minutes will be rotated and Kathy will continue to post them.

Green Up Day:  Starr provided stats on the day.  There were about 45 volunteers, not including the 12 families from W. Brookfield, 32 miles of road cleaned, 50 tires, 94 bags of trash. Hazardous waste was discussed at length, as it presents problems for volunteers staffing the town garage drop off.  Starr will pursue a possible  solution and will contact Green Up.  Discussion followed concerning redeemable container options, including a bottle drive to benefit our commission.

Planning Commission (PC) and Zoning Bylaws:  Kevin Geiger of Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission (TOROC) has offered to review our bylaws in June and then come to a meeting to answer questions. The PC would like us to vet his recommendations. Jon J will contact him and ask him to send his review to him.

Values Mapping and Natural Resource Inventory:  Kathy spoke with Jens Hilke of VT Fish and Wildlife and he offered to do strategic planning with us to help us determine our path forward.  Options were discussed and Kathy will contact Jens to get more information for discussion and a decision at the June meeting.

Schoolyard Habitat:  Jon B reported that principal and teachers want an outdoor classroom/structure with the raised beds moved to that area. Well will be drilled this summer. Jon wants to integrate plantings in that area. We will assume more of a consulting role re: habitat enhancement.

Other Business:

Wildlife Crossing: Sue has a call in to the VTrans biologist.

Next meeting will be June 21, likely on zoom.

Adjourned meeting at 8:33 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathy Kinter

May 172021
 

Brookfield Conservation Commission Meeting
May 17, 2021

7:00 pm

Via Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87015147740?pwd=NmRvaTVGTGFKdGJRdFlIVjJzdnpvZz09
Meeting Agenda

1. Review Agenda

2. Public Comment

3. Approval of Minutes of the April 16, 2021 meeting

4. Annual meeting – officers etc.

5. Green Up Day wrap-up, ideas for next year

6. Planning Commission, and zoning bylaw

7. Values mapping and strategic planning

8. Brookfield Elementary Schoolyard habitat project update

9. Other business

10. Adjourn

May 052021
 

SPECIAL MEETING of Brookfield Conservation Commission

Draft Minutes

April 27, 2021

 

Zoom meeting to order: 7:05 PM

  1. Present: Jon Binhammer, Jon Jickling, Kathy Kinter, Sue Shea and Starr Strong
  2. Public Comment – Jon Jickling said there has been a flurry of activity regarding Emerald Ash Borer in town. He and Town Forester Kate Forrer are planning to put up 16 traps in several locations in town to monitor presence of the borer.  The town plans to create an ad hoc committee for EAB in town, because the Public Safety Committee is no longer interested in being involved.
  3. Approval of Minutes of the March 14, 2021 meeting – moved by Kathy Kinter, seconded by Jon Jickling.  All voted in favor.
  4. Green Up Day preparations – Starr reported that Green Up is from 9 – 4, and that there will be a dumpster set up for trash and an area for metal and tires. She has put a sign up by the Church in Pond Village.  Jon B. has informed the teachers and encouraged them to have the students take bags, put up signs around Pond Village, and put out an announcement on Front Porch Forum.  Sue reported that West Brookfield cleanup is organized by the West Brookfield meeting house group – they will collect trash bags in a trailer in West Brookfield village and then truck them over to the town garage.  Starr will person the garage from 9 to noon, Jon J. from noon to 2, and Jon B. from 2 to 4.
  5. Values mapping – Kathy said this is an effort promoted by Jens Hilke of VT Fish and Wildlife Dept., in order to engage community members in envisioning what they would like to see in the future for the town, esp. regarding conservation. Commission members discussed the goals and objectives of this proposal, and how to sequence it with ongoing projects, such as the Town Plan rewrite by 2024.  Kathy will speak with Jens to discuss timing.  No action was taken.
  6. Natural Resources Inventory – Sue reported on the webinar she and Kathy attended.  Should we want to do an inventory of natural resources in town, it would entail hiring a consultant to do the work. The expense could be around $20,000, so Sue spoke about possible fundraising options.  The inventory, which would entail natural resources at three scales (landscape, natural community, and species) could be used to help with town planning and zoning as well as targeting conservation projects in those areas that have greater biodiversity.  She suggested creating a Steering Committee so that there is buy-in in the community. No action was taken
  7. How to engage with the Planning Commission – Commissioners discussed how to engage with the Planning Commission on wildlife issues and Act 171 requirements for planning of forest blocks.  All agreed that the PC is working on a rewrite of the zoning bylaw and they don’t have the time to deal with these issues until the town plan rewrite is imminent.
  8. I-89 Wildlife Crossing- debrief from Jens Hilke field visit – Commissioners met with Jens Hilke of VTF&W on April 14 at the three crossings of I-89 to evaluate how well they would serve as corridors for wildlife going east to west or vice-versa without crossing the traveled way.  Jens suggested that the best opportunity was where the Northfield Road underpass is.  Some minor modifications could be made to allow for more area for wildlife to cross under the highway, including taking out the chain link fence that is no longer needed and creating a smooth shelf at the base of the rip-rap under the bridge so that hooved animals can cross more easily.  The other two sites – Rte. 65 overpass and Crossover Road over and underpass were too open, noisy, and dangerous for wildlife to use, although there could be some use in the middle of the night, esp. Rt. 65, which is closed in the winter due to the Floating Bridge, so there is little traffic.  The next step would be to look into game cameras for pre and post monitoring – Jens can lend us some, but we would need to hire a consultant to install.  And then to call the VTRANS District Administrator to see if the improvements outlined above could be scheduled at some point when they are doing work around the bridges.  Sue will contact the VTRANS biologist, and then the District Administrator.  Further discussion at a future meeting.
  9. Other business – none

Next meeting is May 17

Adjourned meeting at 8:51 PM.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

Jon Binhammer

Draft Minutes

April 27, 2021 7:00 pm

Zoom meeting to order: 7:05 PM

  1. Present: Jon Binhammer, Jon Jickling, Kathy Kinter, Sue Shea and Starr Strong
  2. Public Comment – Jon Jickling said there has been a flurry of activity regarding Emerald Ash Borer in town. He and Town Forester Kate Forrer are planning to put up 16 traps in several locations in town to monitor presence of the borer.  The town plans to create an ad hoc committee for EAB in town, because the Public Safety Committee is no longer interested in being involved.
  3. Approval of Minutes of the March 14, 2021 meeting – moved by Kathy Kinter, seconded by Jon Jickling.  All voted in favor.
  4. Green Up Day preparations – Starr reported that Green Up is from 9 – 4, and that there will be a dumpster set up for trash and an area for metal and tires. She has put a sign up by the Church in Pond Village.  Jon B. has informed the teachers and encouraged them to have the students take bags, put up signs around Pond Village, and put out an announcement on Front Porch Forum.  Sue reported that West Brookfield cleanup is organized by the West Brookfield meeting house group – they will collect trash bags in a trailer in West Brookfield village and then truck them over to the town garage.  Starr will person the garage from 9 to noon, Jon J. from noon to 2, and Jon B. from 2 to 4.
  5. Values mapping – Kathy said this is an effort promoted by Jens Hilke of VT Fish and Wildlife Dept., in order to engage community members in envisioning what they would like to see in the future for the town, esp. regarding conservation. Commission members discussed the goals and objectives of this proposal, and how to sequence it with ongoing projects, such as the Town Plan rewrite by 2024.  Kathy will speak with Jens to discuss timing.  No action was taken.
  6. Natural Resources Inventory – Sue suggested that we consider conducting an inventory of natural resources in town, which would entail hiring a consultant to do the work. The expense could be around $20,000, so Sue spoke about possible fundraising options.  The inventory, which would entail natural resources at three scales (landscape, natural community, and species) could be used to help with town planning and zoning as well as targeting conservation projects in those areas that have greater biodiversity.  She suggested creating a Steering Committee so that there is buy-in in the community. No action was taken
  7. How to engage with the Planning Commission – Commissioners discussed how to engage with the Planning Commission on wildlife issues and Act 171 requirements for planning of forest blocks.  All agreed that the PC is working on a rewrite of the zoning bylaw and they don’t have the time to deal with these issues until the town plan rewrite is imminent.
  8. I-89 Wildlife Crossing- debrief from Jens Hilke field visit – Commissioners met with Jens Hilke of VTF&W on April 14 at the three crossings of I-89 to evaluate how well they would serve as corridors for wildlife going east to west or vice-versa without crossing the traveled way.  Jens suggested that the best opportunity was where the Northfield Road underpass is.  Some minor modifications could be made to allow for more area for wildlife to cross under the highway, including taking out the chain link fence that is no longer needed and creating a smooth shelf at the base of the rip-rap under the bridge so that hooved animals can cross more easily.  The other two sites – Rte. 65 overpass and Crossover Road over and underpass were too open, noisy, and dangerous for wildlife to use, although there could be some use in the middle of the night, esp. Rt. 65, which is closed in the winter due to the Floating Bridge, so there is little traffic.  The next step would be to look into game cameras for pre and post monitoring – Jens can lend us some, but we would need to hire a consultant to install.  And then to call the VTRANS District Administrator to see if the improvements outlined above could be scheduled at some point when they are doing work around the bridges.  Sue will contact the VTRANS biologist, and then the District Administrator.  Further discussion at a future meeting.
  9. Other business – none

Next meeting is May 17

Adjourned meeting at 8:51 PM.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

Jon Binhammer

Apr 252021
 

SPECIAL MEETING
Brookfield Conservation Commission
April 27, 2021 7:00 pm

Via Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86925215227?pwd=NTFJRnhNbVN1YUlabWh6TDg2bExRUT09

Meeting Agenda

1. Review Agenda

2. Public Comment

3. Approval of Minutes of the March 14, 2021 meeting

4. Green Up Day preparations

5. Values mapping

6. Natural Resources Inventory

7. Relationship to Planning Commission

8. I-89 Wildlife Crossing- debrief from Jens Hilke field visit

9. Other business

10. Adjourn

Mar 182021
 

Meeting Minutes of the Brookfield Conservation Commission

3-15-21

Present: Jon Binhammer, Sue Shea, Jon Jickling, Kathy Kinter, Starr Strong

Zoom Meeting to order at 7:10 PM

Public Comment: none.

Motion to approve January minutes as presented was made by Starr, seconded by Jon J. No comments, all approved.

I-89 Wildlife Crossings:  Starr made 5 trips to Northfield St where it joins West St. Saw deer prints once on north side, under highway, opposite the fenced side. Cross Over Rd had fair bit of activity each time. Many rabbits, fox, coyote on both sides of the road. She didn’t get to rte. 65 where it crosses over 89.

Sue stopped at all 3 sites once in late Feb. and saw tracks in all places. Northfield Rd.: maybe skunk under highway, east side. Thought we could see about removing fence and replacing rip rap with a grassy shelf or more favorable surface. Rte. 65 overpass near village: Many tracks on east side near woods/conifers near lake. Canine or feline tracks, weasel, squirrel and maybe coon. Overpass isn’t long, road is closed all winter. Crossover Rd.: not many on west side but down in wetland area were older tracks. In between highway over and underpass, possible fox.

It was decided that Sue will contact Jens and ask him to meet us this spring to visit each location and discuss options for making them more inviting to and safer for wildlife. Jon J will talk to the Taplins about the fence and use of land in proximity to it.

Emerald Ash Borer: Jon J presented a recap of his involvement thus far. He will attend the next Safety Comm. meeting, talk with Kate Forrer about her plans for town meeting, as well as research possible handouts from the state for us to make available to attendees. We all agreed that it was important to distribute information to the public in an effort to dispel any panic around having to engage in a wholesale removal of ash trees. For now our involvement with the Safety Committee will be limited to Jon J as our liaison.

Webinars: Sue attended Fish and Wildlife’s webinar on town planning, which was mostly a recap of the fragmentation presentation we watched last year with Jens. It would, however, be informative to the planning commission as it speaks to Act 171. She shared that Jens is doing Community Values Mapping on line and towns are responding with much participation. Sue suggested we consider this for late summer depending on where we are with covid. Sue asked Jon B to go on Biofinder and look for wildlife crossing information. She found little, but may have missed it. Sue and Kathy will attend this Friday’s webinar on natural resource inventories.

Green Up Day: Starr spoke with Bonnie and will follow up to get more information. Jon B reported that the state is promoting it this year. We can keep efforts simple with PR in FPF, school news, posters, etc. Someone will need to be posted at the town garage. On the website Starr and Bonnie are listed as contacts.

Town Meeting: Kathy suggested we announce a bit about what we plan to do and have been doing—green up, school habitat, wildlife crossings, the natural area and upcoming programs. It is important to have a sign- up sheet to get people’s email addresses for future programs and projects.
Programming: We will all think about possible programs for summer into fall and discuss at next meeting.

Other Business:
Schoolyard Habitat: Jon B will contact David Roller to follow-up on the earlier discussion and to confirm plans to move ahead with the assurance this will be a lasting project.

Brookfield Solar Project: Jon B brought us up to date on the recent planning commission meeting and withdrawal of the application to the PUC.

Next meeting will be on zoom 4/19/21 at 7:00 PM

Adjourned meeting at 8:20 PM.

Respectfully submitted,
Kathy Kinter

Mar 132021
 

Brookfield Conservation Commission Meeting Agenda
3/15/21
7:00 pm

Via Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87672339515?pwd=eWhRNFU1cVFkT0w3NmlVbnRXZ1M3QT09

1. Review Agenda

2. Public Comment

3. Approval of Minutes of the January 18, 2021 meeting

4. I-89 Wildlife Crossing monitoring – reports from field visits (Sue and Starr)

5. Emerald Ash Borer – BCC interface with Brookfield Public Safety Committee and education for Town Meeting

6. Town Planning Webinar (Sue)

7. Green up Day prep

8. Town meeting – things to bring to the attention of the public

9. Programming for the year??

10. Other business

11. Adjourn

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