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