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

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 052021
 

SPECIAL MEETING of Brookfield Conservation Commission
Draft Minutes
April 27, 2021
 
Zoom meeting to order: 7:05 PM

Present: Jon Binhammer, Jon Jickling, Kathy Kinter, Sue Shea and Starr Strong
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.
Approval of Minutes of the March 14, 2021 meeting – moved by Kathy Kinter, seconded by Jon Jickling.  All voted in favor.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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

Present: Jon Binhammer, Jon Jickling, Kathy Kinter, Sue Shea and Starr Strong
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.
Approval of Minutes of the March 14, 2021 meeting – moved by Kathy Kinter, seconded by Jon Jickling.  All voted in favor.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Other business – none

Next meeting is May 17
Adjourned meeting at 8:51 PM.
 
Respectfully Submitted,
Jon Binhammer

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

Oct 212020
 

Brookfield Conservation Commission Meeting Minutes
10-19-2020
Present: Jon Binhammer, Sue Shea, Jon Jickling, Kathy Kinter Absent: Star Strong
Zoom Meeting to order at 7:08 PM
Public Comment: none.
Motion to approve August minutes as presented was made by Jon J, seconded by Sue. No comments, all approved.
Forest fragmentation: Sue received tools from Jens that VTrans uses to assess location and condition of bridges and culverts. She looked at the maps as they pertained to interstate 89 and Brookfield. There are 3 sets of bridges: Cross Over Rd, rte. 65 and Lamson Pond Rd. There are 2 culverts under 89: one off of Northfield Rd where we visited on our summer field trip and the other just south of crossing of 65 west of Pond Village. While the culverts looked big, they don’t appear friendly to wildlife as they are very long and the bottoms are ridged metal. Might they be improved and how? Sue explained that platforms can be put inside for animals to walk on. Riprap of stone can be covered with native soil so larger mammals are more comfortable walking on it. Jon B suggested we might focus on the passage under the bridges near Lamson Pond Rd. We would need to find out about whether the Taplains still use the fence for the cattle. Discussion followed concerning the viability of this. It was determined that more information is needed before we commit to attempting to monitor wildlife this winter with tracks and a game cam. Kathy and Sue will do some research and report back next meeting.
Emerald Ash Borer update was not possible as Kate Forrer, Town Forester could not make this meeting. Jon B. will be in touch with her prior to the next meeting for an update to share with us at November’s meeting.
Schoolyard Habitat: Jon B will send draft proposal to us prior to next meeting so we can ratify it then. He recapped the general idea—to plant native trees near forested areas behind windbreak and a native wildflower meadow in center of same area or perhaps next to road where soils aren’t as rich. Kathy asked about maintenance, and that will need to get worked out. Jon J. stressed the importance of a trail to help delineate the planted areas so they are not inadvertently mowed. There are grants for school habitat creation. Maybe do small wetland habitat in future.
Sunset Natural Area Bridge: Jon B ordered 2x10x10s for walkway. Still plan to lift bridge out of water and to get the phone poles Nancy offered several months ago. Town road crew had agreed to move them. Nancy may have someone to do it. Jon B. will contact her again. He hopes to work on the project in Nov.
Surficial Geology Mapping by Norwich University: George Springston, a geology professor, wants to map the Brookfield quadrangle which would include peatlands, cliffs, rock outcroppings and surface deposits like glacial till, sand and gravel. He needs a letter of support from the Commission. Jon J moved to support the request and Sue seconded the motion. Jon B will write the letter. These findings could be included in our natural resources inventory. Kathy suggested they produce a map overlay that can be used with the Biofinder maps of the area. It was suggested to ask George to lead a geology walk next year.
Allis State Park field trip: Jon J reported that he, Jon B and Starr co-led about 15 people through the park to engage in tree ID and discuss the CCC’s contribution to the infrastructure. There was much interest in trees and we decided to offer a tree program in the future. We will come to the next meeting with additional ideas for winter field trips.
Other Business: Laurel McEwen brought us up to date on what has transpired thus far on the proposed Baker development near Twin Ponds on town highway 14. The McEwens hired a wetlands specialist who identified a class 2 wetland on both sides of the road, and the State wetlands staff concurred. A permit will be required to build.
Next meeting will be on zoom on the 16th of November.
Adjourned meeting at 8:30 P.M.
Respectfully submitted,
Kathy Kinter

Sep 022020
 

Present: Jon Binhammer, Sue Shea, Jon Jickling Absent: Star Strong, Kathy Kinter
Zoom Meeting to order at 7:04 PM
There was no one from the public in attendance.
Motion to approve May minutes presented was made by Jon J, seconded by Sue. No comments, all approved.
Emerald Ash Borer update was not possible as Kate Forrer, Town Forester could not make this meeting.
Continued discussion on Forest fragmentation. Discussion of the Planning Commission’s decision to not support the Conservation Commission’s (CC) letter of concern to the Selectboard over the proposal to extend a class 4 road which goes into the woods off Twin Ponds road. It was disappointing to see little consideration of the adopted town plan in this process.
Sue emphasized that the forest fragmentation issue needs to be a long term project. The CC needs to better understand the important ecological resources (e.g., put up game cameras to identify where wildlife is crossing interstate). Option to check with Jens, VT Fish and Wildlife, to see what information exists about these sites. Look at other information using Biofinder about unique areas in the north of the town.
Jon B indicated that Kathy and Starr were appointed to new 4-year terms by the Selectboard.
Jon B provided a overview of the CC field trip to the Fen led by Jon B was a success but logistically a bit. 15 participants total; 60-70% were from Brookfield, rest from Randolph and Braintree. Good story presented in the Herald.
Discussion of other ideas for CC field trips. Brookfield Town forest option: challenging due to no open trails. Decision was made to organize a nature walk at Allis state park on Sunday Sept. 27th from 3-5pm. Continued theme “Get to know Brookfield resources”. 25 limit… Jon J to organize. Put on FPF 10 days in advance (Sept 17th) .
Next meeting will be 21st of September. We will meet at school to see the natural area behind the School and later stop by the Sunset Brook natural area boardwalk.
No new business.
Adjorned meeting at 7:41 by Zoom time limit shutdown
Respectfully submitted,
Jon Jickling

Jun 222020
 

Present: Jon Binhammer, Kathy Kinter, Sue Shea, Starr Strong, Jon Jickling
Meeting outside at Town Office came to order at 7:00 PM
May minutes were unanimously approved as presented.  Kathy informed the group that she is now posting the minutes on the town site and they will no longer be labeled “draft” or “final”.  If they need to be amended, they will be posted as such on the site. There is now a drop down tab for agendas and minutes for the committees and commissions.
There was no one from the public in attendance.
Jon J will invite Kate F. to the next meeting for an EAB update.
Annual Meeting –Jon B informed us that we had missed the annual meeting in May since it was on Zoom. Starr and Kathy agreed to 4 yr.- terms and Jon will make the recommendation to the Selectboard to appoint them as such.  Officers were elected and no changes were made.
Chair-Jon Binhammer
Vice Chair-Sue Shea
Treasurer-Jon Jickling
Secretary-Kathy Kinter
Green Up Day:  Starr spoke to Bonnie Fallon and presented what she had learned regarding prior history. We voted unanimously to adopt it as a Commission project for next year.  Discussion followed about involving the school and families, as well as how to handle returnables.  We will begin planning at our Feb. or March meeting.
Our meetings in the time of Covid:  We agreed to continue to meet outside the town office as long as weather was cooperative.  Jon B will speak with Ted about using the Old Town Hall in event of darkness, rain or cold. Should we need to meet there, we can put a sign on the town office door directing folks across the street.
Lamson Pond Fen Conservation Project: Closing on the property occurred.  Discussed hosting a field trip to the fen for a small group of 10-12, with prior registration and face masks required. Sue will do publicity. Jon B will send her the information.  Trip to be Aug. 9, 3 PM.
Planning Commission collaboration RE: Act 171/Forest Fragmentation:  Jon J shared that the commission has not been meeting and has no plans to at present.  He did share information with them regarding Biofinder but does not know if anyone accessed it.
We discussed the need to familiarize ourselves (and perhaps invite members of the Planning Commission) with parcels that have been identified on Biofinder as being of high ecological importance.  Sue looked at the maps Jon B sent her but was unable to print them. She did ascertain that these areas warranted investigation: 1). north of rte. 65, on the west side of 89 and a bit where rte. 65 meets rte. 12; 2). north of rte. 12 to the Roxbury line (calcareous wetland) 3). around Sunset Lake and the wetland north of it.  Starr suggested we look at wildlife crossings near the interstate as well as the marsh between Cross Over Rd, 89 and West St.   We will do a field trip on Tu. July 7 at 3:00 PM and meet at Baker Pond.  Kathy suggested we have maps from Biofinder and that if Jens would send his power point, we could perhaps print those maps. Jon B and Sue will reach out to Jens again.
Jon B mentioned that there is a current proposal to extend a class 4 road which goes into the woods near the rte. 14 side of Twin Pond Rd.  The proposal is for a 700 ft. road with possible development, both of which would contribute to fragmentation.
Brookfield School Habitat Enhancement- Jon B spoke with the principal and head maintenance person about our doing a plan to do Native plantings with the kids that would augment the Four Winds program, as well as the surrounding habitat of the school.  It would be shared with the superintendent.  Staff were supportive of the idea. We will plan an outing to the school in September. Kathy will talk with Kathleen Sauer about how best to coordinate with Four Winds.
Sunset Brook Natural Area: Jon B and Jon J surveyed the bridge and board walk.  Nancy MccCall has phone poles that could be used to repair the bridge, as it is listing to one side. Jon J would donate wood for the boardwalk repair. Jon B reached out to the Scout leader whose boys helped with repairs after Irene; 10-15 people would be needed.  We voted unanimously to make this a Commission project.  Jon B. will ask if the road crew might help with transporting the poles. We could visit the area in Sept. when we visit the school grounds.
 Next meeting:  THERE WILL NOT BE A JULY MEETING.   Next meeting is Monday, August 17 7:00 PM   Town Office, if weather conducive
Meeting Adjourned at 8:35 PM
Respectfully submitted,
Kathy Kinter
 
 

Jun 112020
 

Meeting Minutes of the Brookfield Conservation Commission         5-18-20
Present: Jon Binhammer, Kathy Kinter, Sue Shea, Jon Jickling.
Zoom meeting came to order at 7:05 PM
January minutes were unanimously approved as presented.  February’s meeting was cancelled due to weather and we did not meet March or April due to covid 19.
There was no one from the public in attendance.
Lamson Pond Fen Conservation Project: Closing is proceeding and should be finalized in the next couple weeks. All agreed a hike open to a limited number of the public with physical distancing will be planned for summer. Some trail clearing may need to occur.  Public access routes were discussed.
Planning Commission collaboration RE: Act 171/Forest Fragmentation:  Jon J will share a summary of Jens Hilke’s presentation  at the upcoming meeting.  We agreed to all learn more about the high priority areas as designated and what might be done to protect them so that we can create a proposal. Sue will reach out to Jens again for information.  We agreed that field trips to some of the areas would be helpful.
Tabled Website and ash borer discussions.  Town forester will be invited to the next meeting.Green Up Day: Bonnie will do it this year for the last time.  We will discuss our adoption of it for next year.  Jon B will ask the selectboard at the next meeting if they will approve the town truck coming to W Brookfield to pick up trash.  If so, he will get bags, and Sue or Kathy will pick them up.  Sue will reach out to village residents about helping on May 30.
Zoom meeting came to abrupt end, as we ran out of time.
Tabled: Brainstorming and prioritizing projects for 2020
Next meeting:  Monday, June 15   7:00 PM   Town  Library, if weather conducive or Zoom
Meeting Adjourned at 7:40  PM
Respectfully submitted,
Kathy Kinter

Jan 282020
 

DRAFT    Meeting Minutes of the Brookfield Conservation Commission         1-20-20
Present: Jon Binhammer, Starr Strong, Kathy Kinter, Sue Shea, Jon Jickling. Town Forester Kate Forrer came late.
Meeting came to order at 6:55PM
December minutes were unanimously approved as presented.
There was no one from the public in attendance.
Bylaws: Jon B. will have the bylaws for us to sign at the next meeting. He was unable to print them due to printer malfunction.
Act 171:  Jens Hilke, from VT Fish and Wildlife Dept., came to the meeting to explain Act 171, which became law 1/18.  His job is to work with towns to implement the act, the purpose of which is to maintain and improve ecological integrity of forest blocks and connectors throughout the state by incorporating such management goals into town plans and zoning. All towns are required to incorporate into their town plans land development that minimizes forest fragmentation and promotes health, viability and ecological function.  Town plans are now updated every 8 years.
He emphasized the importance and benefits of large blocks of forest, not only for ecological function, but for recreation, economics, scenic beauty, intrinsic worth and more.  In planning, the goal is to maintain economic, ecological and community function values, which are sure to overlap.
Brookfield is primarily a piedmont town with relatively small (several hundred acres) forest blocks, but because of their current connectedness and proximity to one another, they act ecologically like larger blocks.  The town is surrounded by much larger blocks to the east and west and it is critical to maintain connectivity to these blocks.  Our town has a fair bit of fragmentation due to all the roads, farmland and development.
Biofinder 3 (biofinder.vermont.gov) was just released.
Biofinder is an online mapping tool that allows VT citizens to explore the land and waters
in VT that are most important for supporting ecosystems, natural communities, habitats and species.
We looked at several maps of the town, each focusing on a particular feature such as forest blocks, riparian areas, physical landscapes rich in calcium, culverts and wildlife road crossings.  Jens mentioned the importance of the town adopting VTrans orange book standards for culverts.  These culverts are larger than those currently used and would be replaced by FEMA in event of severe flood damage.  He gave commission members copies of Mapping VT’s Natural Heritage, along with a CD of maps of the state and has offered to do a computer lab training with us.
Jens also facilitates community values mapping and suggested we consider this as a first step.  He offered to provide guidance as we move forward with implementation of Act 171.
Land conservation:  We discussed the potential of a land conservation plot.
Next meeting:  TUESDAY, Feb. 18, 2020   7:00 PM   Town  Library
Meeting Adjourned at 9:15 PM
Respectfully submitted,
Kathy Kinter

Dec 042019
 

DRAFT 
     Meeting Minutes of the Brookfield Conservation
Commission             Nov. 25, 2019

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

Meeting came to order at 7:00 PM

Review of October minutes which were unanimously
approved as presented.

There was no one from the public in attendance.

Bylaws: We reviewed the second draft, amended
it and voted unanimously to adopt it as amended.  Jon B will make the agreed upon changes and
email us the final draft. He will also give it to the Select Board for their
review.  We will sign the bylaws at our
December meeting.

Open meeting law: Kathy reviewed
open meeting law.

Forest Fragmentation:  Sue presented a recap of the webinar she
watched concerning Act 171, the purpose of which is to maintain and improve
ecological integrity of forest blocks and connectors throughout the state by
incorporating such goals into town plans and zoning.  We agreed that given the Planning
Commission’s current reassessment of Development Bylaws, we have a role to play
in researching and providing input towards meeting the aforementioned goals of
Act 171.

Needed Actions: 

Jon B. will attend
the next Planning Commission meeting if there is time on their agenda. 

Sue will send our
commission the link to the webinar so that we can watch prior to our next
meeting. She will also contact Jens Hilke, wildlife biologist with VT Fish and
Wildlife, to request that he attend our next meeting to discuss Act 171and
BioFinder in detail.  Members of the
Planning Commission will be invited to join us.

Development Bylaws:  Jon J. of the Planning Commission asked
for input regarding the current regulations on setbacks along shorelines of
town waterways.  After discussion that
touched on current and best practices, the regional planning commission and
state regulations, it was decided that our commission needs to first familiarize
ourselves with the Development Bylaws. 
Kathy suggested that the Planning Commission look to state regs for
guidance as well.

Needed Actions:

Prior to the next
meeting we will all review the Development Bylaws Jon J sent us.

Jon B will check
with Two Rivers Regional Planning for their recommendations.

Other business: It was agreed that
we need a visible presence on the town website, i.e, a Conservation Commission
designated tab. 

            Need
Action:

 We will look at other town websites to see what they have done and discuss this at the next meeting.

Next meeting:  Dec 16, 2019

Meeting Adjourned at 8:45 PM. 

Respectfully submitted,

Kathy Kinter