Kathy Kinter

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

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87672339515?pwd=eWhRNFU1cVFkT0w3NmlVbnRXZ1M3QT09

Meeting ID: 876 7233 9515
Passcode: 409251
One tap mobile
+13126266799,,87672339515#,,,,*409251# US (Chicago)
+19292056099,,87672339515#,,,,*409251# US (New York)

Dial by your location
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
Meeting ID: 876 7233 9515
Passcode: 409251
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kooj1uky6

Jan 202021
 

Meeting Minutes of the

Brookfield Conservation Commission 1-18-21

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

Zoom Meeting to order at 7:07 PM

Public Comment:  none.

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

Two topics were added to the agenda: EAB and Sunset Brook bridge update

I-89 Wildlife crossings: Sue has been out once to check the underpass by Lamson Pond. No tracks.  Starr had reported in an earlier email that she had seen numerous tracks at Cross Over Rd. but was not here for an update.  Tracks will continue to be monitored. The overpass up from the floating bridge should be checked as well.

Schoolyard Habitat:  Jon B met with David Roller, the principal of the school. David said VTC has about $3000 it is making available to the school as part of a mitigation settlement and David would like to have an outdoor structure built behind the windbreak to serve as an outdoor classroom.  There was no detailed discussion of our proposal.  Commission members discussed proposing other options for the expenditure of the funds and concluded that the structure is a fine option.  In April we will visit the site to ascertain the appropriateness of creating a wet area in the swale as part of a multi-year, phased project.

Winter Programming:  Options discussed included zoom programming as well as a self guided trail. Given covid restrictions, it was decided to forgo programming this winter.  Jon B mentioned the beaver blind North Branch Nature Center built and suggested that we might do something similar at some point.

Brookfield Solar Project: Jon B brought us up to date on details, having attended both the select board and planning commission meetings where the issue was discussed at length. Commission members concluded that given the likelihood of more solar proposals in the future, it is important that both the town plan and by-laws address appropriate siting. Jon J will bring this to the attention of the planning commission.

Other Business:

Emerald Ash Borer: Jon J will attend the safety committee meeting this week and report back to us about what they are intending. Townspeople need to be educated about the pest, the traps and what to do if insects are found so as not to react out of fear.  Working with Kate Forrer, we will create a handout for town meeting. There was no decision regarding the role the commission will play concerning the hanging of traps.

Sunset Natural Area Bridge:  No update at this time.

Next meeting will be on zoom 2/15/21 at 7:00 PM

Adjourned meeting at 8:24 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathy Kinter

Jan 142021
 

Brookfield Conservation Commission Zoom Meeting
November 18, 2020 7:00 pm

Via Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83046795356?pwd=V0VLOEwxUytvT1FTUnk1TjdaSk03QT09

Meeting Agenda

1. Review Agenda

2. Public Comment

3. Approval of Minutes of the November 16, 2020 meeting

4. I-89 Wildlife Crossing monitoring – reports from field visits

5. Working with the Brookfield School on schoolyard habitat enhancement – update

6. Winter program ideas in Covid time (continued)

7. Brookfield Solar project – former Smith farm on east side Ridge Road near intersection with Crossover Rd.

8. Other business

9. Adjourn

Nov 212020
 

Meeting Minutes of the Brookfield Conservation Commission 11-16-2020

Present: Jon Binhammer, Sue Shea, Jon Jickling, Kathy Kinter, Star Strong, Kate Forrer, Town Forester.

Zoom Meeting to order at 7:05 PM

Public Comment: none.

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

Emerald Ash Borer update was provided by Kater Forrer, Town Forester. This included the history of the pest’s spread in VT and its current identified locations throughout the state. While it has been found north of Brookfield, as yet it has not been found in town. Only 2 traps were set this year. Plans for 2021 are to deploy 15 BioForest prism traps around town. Star and Jon J. have offered to help and more folks will be needed. Kate will be in touch with the commission this winter to discuss a plan of action.

Forest fragmentation: Sue spent more time exploring the maps and photos VTrans uses to assess location and condition of bridges and culverts. She focused on interstate 89 culverts. Off of Northfield Rd the culvert is 6’ wide and 258’ long with a stream thru it. West of Pond village, the culvert is 7’ wide by 206’ long with a stream. Given the results of the study Kathy received from Robert Long in WA, she suggested the commission focus on bridges, as long culverts are not likely to be utilized by many animals. She suggested a focus on the passage under the bridges near Lamson Pond Rd. but first doing an assessment of utilization by tracking once we get snow. If it is determined the area is used, we can commit to regular monitoring perhaps with a camera. Jon B is going to speak with someone from TNC about best use of a camera. We would need to find out about whether the Taplains still use the fence for the cattle. Starr has offered to do preliminary monitoring of this area as well as Cross Over Rd. and report back at the next meeting.

Schoolyard Habitat: We unanimously voted, after Jon J motioned and Star seconded, to support the submission of the proposal to the principal as written by Jon B. Jon will ask him what the next steps are.

Sunset Natural Area Bridge: Jon B , Jon J and Mike F. created plank boardwalks with the purchased 2x10x10s. The poles are on site but still need to get moved to the bridge to repair it. Discussion followed about use of horses to move the poles. Jon B will check with the bridge builder for suggestions on how best to move the poles and repair the bridge. The picnic tables should be moved so they can be better utilized. Jon J suggested future programming on the site given its rich wildlife.

Winter Programming: With the new covid restricions it was decided to forgo plans for programs. Folks can still do the Xmas bird count at their homes. Sue suggested that perhaps we can create a self guided trial somewhere for the public to experience on their own.

Other Business: None.

Next meeting will be on zoom on winter solstice, Dec. 21.

Adjourned meeting at 8:20 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathy Kinter