Vassalboro Conservation Commission Minutes Feb 11, 2021

Present: David Jenney, Steve Jones, Betsy Poulin, Peggy Horner , Chris French, Holly Weidner (chair)

Regrets: Patricia King

Old Business:

1) Recycling/MRC: (Chris) Since our last meeting , it was announced that Delta Thermal Energy is the company that is buying the former Fiberight plant. MRC will be holding meetings regularly. There were some concerns raised that the former plant and the new owners are focused on biofuels which continue to put carbon in the air as opposed to repurpose /recycle. Meanwhile the town continues to look at possible redesigns for the transfer station.
Action: Chris hopes to attend MRC mtgs. as able. Mary Sabin also attends these meetings as able. VCC will ask to be apprised of new developments at the transfer station.

2) Trout Pool ( Steve) Jim Foster is waiting for the water data to assess converting from the old culvert to the new one. This will assess if there is any problem with adding water from the trout pool/spring. The process will be for the permit to go to the DOT, then to the Town office to submit to the Army Corp of E.

3) Carbon Fee and Dividend ( Peggy) This was presented to the select board on Feb 4th . There was some concerns expressed by some members that this federal proposal might be contrary to the ME Climate Action Plan . Peggy explained that it was actually complementary to the ME Plan and the ME Plan supported developing federal and regional solutions.
Action : VCC individuals will start reaching out to those in the community that supported both the state program and the federal proposal. We will continue to promote dialogue and education on this subject.

4) Annual report is due: what do we wish to share with the town: the effect of the pandemic on our attention and meetings; the blossoming of energy to work on environmental issues, : clean air, water ; and waste management issues . This has been a year of transition.
Action: Holly will write up a draft to circulate.

5) The land that the Vassalboro Sanitary Distract owns in North and East Vassalboro was discussed. It is too small a space to put up a solar grid for the town but there may be other uses for it that the VCC is interested in exploring . Does Vassalboro need a dog park? Who would maintain?
Action : Holly will reach out to the Trail Committee to see how this may connect with the Town Forest trail and other plans for connecting villages with recreation areas.

6) Brown Tail Moth infestation : Vassalboro was found to be a hot spot of activity last year. There was discussion on what we can do to try to reduce the populations of moths. There are no easy answers although Project Canapy has given out a $6K grant to Belfast for this . Mostly Project Canopy is interested in grants for mapping the problem . VCC could provide education to the Vassalboro public via the facebook page as to what to look for on their property and what steps they can take to try to kill the nests before they hatch out in the spring.
Action: Steve will check with his sister to see if she might consider putting a notice up on the town facebook page.

7) China Region Lakes Alliance usually puts in a request on the town warrant to cover for the expenses that they incur “ to protect the regional lake resources” ( China Lake, Three Mile pond and Webber Pond) ). Last year Youth Conservation Corp was not utilized due to the pandemic. In 2019 they requested $14,000 and the Select Board and Budget Committee recommended $7,500. The VCC would like to work with the CRLA to protect lake resources and learn more about what they are doing in this regard. Also to understand what they will be asking from the town for support of these services.
Action: VCC will invite a member of the CRLA to attend the next VCC meeting to share what they are doing this year and their requests this year. This will be the only major thing on the agenda.

8) Should the issues around energy needs and usage be addressed by this committee? Further discussion next time .

9) Next Meeting is Thursday March 11, 2021 at 6:30 by the same ZOOM link.
Submitted by Holly Weidner