Meeting Minutes of the Brookfield Conservation Commission
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.
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.