Town of Vassalboro Conservation Commission
May 15, 2007
Mary Ellen Johnston
Meeting was held at 7PM at the Town Office.
Holly gave an overview of the planning process to date. Coming out of the vision gathering meetings were heavy interest in numerous areas including natural resources, public access to land, trails, farmland protection, forest lands.
Mary Ellen worked at the Dept. of Agriculture for several years and has an extensive background in farmland protection, land trusts, etc and has a lot of contacts in that “community”.
Steve has an ornamental plant business, sees many local people on a daily basis, has a tree farm and forest has a management plan. Also works with NRCS on forest conservation projects.
Chad is a retired University of Maine Cooperative Extension dairy specialist. He has been on several town committees, is an associate director of Kennebec County Soil and Water Conservation District, is involved with some land trusts, and writes for the Country Folks publication.
David is the capitol rep for Small Woodlot Owners of Maine (SWOAM) and owns two wood lots, both with mgmt. plans. He is particularly interested in forest issues. He expressed his concern about population growth in Vassalboro.
Lauchlin is a private agronomist (crop consultant), has been involved in several town committees (school, budget, road, solid waste). Also involved in state ag associations.
Holly will not continue as a member of this committee, but has used her expertise to bring the group together as a first step towards accomplishing something.
We reviewed and discussed the purposes and tasks that had been previously distributed by Holly and refined by David. Purposes have been assigned to us and they are fairly loose “Mom and Apple Pie” ideas that are pretty hard to disagree with. We did clarify for ourselves some of the terminology used.
Chad suggested we look into joining a State Cons. Commission. Mary Ellen will first work with the Kennebec Land Trust. We may be able to partner with them or Maine Farmland Trust at no cost to us to get into that loop. Mary Ellen will check this out.
Holly suggested we see what other towns have done with regard to Conservation Commissions as part of their planning processes. We did not resolve who would look into this.
A key element of our discussion was the need for excellent communication. Several committees—ours, trails, planning board, recreation-- will be working on similar tracks and all need to be aware of what the others are doing on various issues as they may relate to each of us. Lauchlin will bring this concern to the select people and town manager via e-mail.
Lauchlin suggests we need to know what land the town owns and what the parcels may have for forest or conservation plans attached to them. David will begin this process. Would also be good to know what properties are enrolled in Tree Growth and Farmland and Open Space—assume this is public information. Excellent maps of the town environmental resources exist and were viewed earlier in the planning process by others. Holly will attempt to find out who may have them. It was suggested that they probably came from Kenn S&W Cons. Dist. or NRCS. Mary Ellen offered to contact Ron Desrosier, NRCS district conservationist for Kennebec County about this. We need to identify groups that work in Vassalboro on projects related to our tasks. Known at present are KSWCD, Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), China Lakes Alliance, a Webber Pond group. We may want to meet with representatives from these groups to learn what all are doing.
Once we have a grip on what is going on and what resources are available, Lauchlin suggests we could host informational meetings for town residents in several subject areas.
Discussed who else we may invite to join this commission. Jeff Michaud, forester who lives next to Town Office, was mentioned. Other names were discussed, but none were “put forward”.
Next meeting date was set for June 19. A chairperson and secretary will be decided upon at that time. (Don’t be late!)