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

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

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. 


 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

Dec 042019

 Meeting Minutes of the Brookfield
Conservation Commission             Oct.
21, 2019

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

Meeting came to order at 7:03 PM

Review of August and September minutes.  Both were unanimously approved as presented.

There was no one from the public in attendance.

Bylaws: We began the review process.  Jon B will make the agreed upon changes and
email another draft to review at the next meeting.

Open meeting law: The bylaws took so
long it was decided to table this review until next meeting.


brief recap of the Baker Pond Paddle and Brookfield Town Forest Hike was
made.  Seven were present at the paddle
and 4 at the hike. Kathy suggested always having a sign-up sheet to get
participants’ emails to add to the list she has begun.  This can be used to garner volunteers when
needed as well as announce programs and projects.

EAB subcommittee:

F, the town forester asked Jon B. if anyone from the commission wanted to serve
on a sub-committee concerning ash borer. 
Jon J. will contact her about serving on the committee.

Other business:

will attend the forest fragmentation webinar by VT F&W tomorrow and share
what she learned.  Jon B said Two Rivers
has also addressed forest blocks and connectivity.  This issue is relevant to the Planning
Commission as well as the Conservation Commission.

Meetings:  Kathy informed members that Teresa has
posted our meetings and minutes on the town website.  All agreed that the commission needs a
dedicated presence on the site.  Discussion of this will be added to the
next agenda.   

meeting has been moved to Monday, Nov. 25th.

The rest of the agenda was tabled until
next meeting.

Meeting Adjourned at 8:45 PM. 

Respectfully submitted,

Kathy Kinter

Aug 202019

DRAFT Meeting Minutes of the Brookfield
Conservation Commission             August 19, 2019

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

Jon B reviewed minutes from the June meeting for approval. 

They were unanimously approved after discussion about our commission’s role regarding EAB.

Sue will read Safety Committee’s minutes
to keep abreast of their plans.

There was no meeting in July.

Bylaws: Jon B. will email out a draft to members, highlighting areas of import, to be discussed at the September meeting.  At that time we will vote to adopt the bylaws.


The Rood Pond Paddle was rescheduled and revamped due to scheduling conflicts. We will do a natural history interp  paddle on Bakers Pond Sept. 22 from 3-5. Sue will be away. Kathy will do publicity. Jon B will announce at OTH program on the 19th.

OTH  9/19 Jon B will do a slide show of Brookfield’s Hidden Gems, discuss the commission and ask for input for program ideas. Jon will contact Ted to let him know this.

Brookfield Town Forest Hike  Oct 6 
3-5    Remind folks to wear bright

Open meeting law: At next meeting Kathy
will a present brief outline.

discussed our role regarding Hippo Park.
Will revisit at next meeting.

Meetings:  Will be held when possible the 3rd
Monday of each month in the library from 7-8:30 PM.  Next meeting is September 16.  Sue will be away.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathy Kinter

Jun 252019

Meeting Minutes of the Brookfield Conservation Commission   May 20, 2019
Present: Jon Binhammer, Jon Jickling, Starr Strong, Susan Shea, Kathy Kinter
Jon Binhammer reviewed terms of office for newly appointed commission as approved by the Select Board at their April 8 meeting:
Jon Jickling: 3 yrs.   Sue Shea: 2 yrs.   Starr Strong: 1 yr.   Jon Binhammer: 4 yrs.   Kathy Kinter: 1 yr.
Open meeting law was discussed concerning the agenda, public attendance and minutes.
State statutes were briefly reviewed regarding jurisdiction of the commission. The Statute language:
“administer the lands, properties and other rights which have been acquired by the municipality for the purposes of this chapter” appears to imply that the Sunset Brook Natural Area on Rt. 65 and the town forest fall under our purview. Any financial commitment or receipt of land interest needs to be approved by the Selectboard.   Members are encouraged to familiarize ourselves with the statute – Title 24, Chapter 118.
Finances:  Jon B will ask Select Board for the account balance of the town Conservation and Recreation Fund.
Officers are as follows:
Jon B Chair
Sue S Vice Chair
Jon J Treasurer
Kathy K Secretary
Bylaws: Sue, Starr and Jon J. will review bylaws from other towns of similar size and email samples and recommendations for us to consider at the next meeting. All agreed to not reinvent the wheel.  Key is understanding principal functions.
Assessment:  It was agreed that we assess the information already compiled by the town that would be relevant to our charge, then identify what information is still needed.  A natural resource inventory was suggested, along with use of Bio Finder and VT Conservation Design sites.
Meetings: Will be held when possible the 3rd Monday of each month in the library from 7-8:30 PM.  Three are needed for a quorum.  Next meeting is June 17th.
Projects: Jon B is waiting for confirmation from the school regarding tree planting on June 4 with 34 3rd-6th graders.  Hardwood volunteers will be dug in advance to be planted by teams of 2 kids.  It was suggested that the kids be given information about the conservation commission to take home and or ask that something run in the school newsletter, if there is one.
Randolph and Braintree commissions have been in touch with Sue and asked if we want to join them in a poison parsnip removal project in the coming weeks. She will be in touch with them and report back.
The Commission will be presenting at the Old Town Hall in September. Content to be decided.
Several ideas were shared, as was the importance of educating the community, not only about our existence as a commission, but the importance of the mission. Building an inclusive constituency early is important.  It was agreed that we would try to do an activity each season, along with projects.  It was suggested that we get clear on our purpose and vision for the organization as a means of guiding future decisions.
Respectfully submitted,
Kathy Kinter

Jun 252019

Brookfield Conservation Commission
June 17, 2019
Meeting Minutes draft
Susan Shea, Starr Strong and Jon Binhammer in attendance

Review Agenda – Sue Shea wanted to talk about a possible potential project for the Commission
Approval of Minutes of the May 20 meeting – minutes approved
Review of by-laws of Conservation Commission: Commissioners reviewed bylaws from Randolph Conservation Commission, Hartland Conservation Commission, and Montgomery Conservation Commission. All agreed that the Montgomery Conservation Commission bylaws were the best model to follow with changes. Suggested changes were made, and Jon said he would put together a final draft for approval at the next meeting.
Plan for schedule of events, how to advertise, etc.: Commissioners decided to schedule a guided paddle on Rood Pond on August 25th from 3:00 to 5:00 pm and a guided walk on the Brookfield Town Forest on October 6, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. It was decided to advertise these events on the town calendar, on Front Porch Forum, and in the Herald.
Other business:

Sue suggested that we might want to sponsor a program about gardening for wildlife, and a program about gardening for pollinators. Jon suggested that rain gardens for water quality could also be a topic.
Starr suggested that the Conservation Commission could work with Bonnie Fallon to help with Green-Up Day; if a tech-savvy volunteer could be found, the town roads could be divided into sections that people could sign up to clean up on the day,
It was discussed that sometimes large items like couches are sometimes dumped into streams and over banks where they are difficult or impossible to retrieve. Jon said that towns in the NEK and some towns in the Adirondacks have a “bulky day” in the spring, during which residents can put out bulky items that are picked up by the town to go to the transfer station, paid by taxpayers. Selectboard approval would be necessary for such an idea. No action taken.
Emerald Ash borer was discussed, esp. the proposals from the Public Safety Committee and Town Meeting. Commissioners agreed that EAB is of concern but not a crisis, and suggested that while there may be some need for proactive work to remove dangerous ash from rights of way, trees of other species die all the time (and sometimes fall into roads and are removed when that happens), and we have been through a similar experience with American elm and Dutch Elm disease, and there may be lessons to be learned from that experience. Also, all ash trees will be unlikely to die all at one time, so while there may be a continuing need for some tax revenues to take down ash trees in the ROWs, it could be that this activity could be spread out over time, and warned that a wholesale clearing of ROWs in town would probably not be met favorably by residents, would compromise the scenic nature of our town roads, and would likely grow early successional species that would more likely fall into roads. Jon said he would attend the Public Safety meeting, but then found that he had a previous commitment, so could not attend.

Submitted by Jon Binhammer, Chair