Vassalboro Conservation Commission Minutes June 13, 2023

Present: Steve Jones, Matt Streeter, David Jenney, John Reuthe, Holly Weidner (Chair)

Absent: Peggy Horner, Paul Mitnik, Peter Soule

  1. May minutes were formally approved.
  2. Water Quality in the pond watersheds: Holly reviewed the work that China Regional Lake Alliance (CRLA) did last year in an Annual Report to the select board May 2023. John raised concerns that some misinformation still exists around town on the water quality projects. In June 2022, the town approved 4 projects for water quality improvement and hired CRLA to carry out these projects. VCC monitored the progress and gave a midyear report to the select board in Jan 2023. In this year’s June town meeting, the town approved $14,500 for 2023-24 to continue the work that was started on Webber Pond and start the same Lake Smart and Gravel Road Assessment projects on Three Mile Pond.
    Action: Holly will present information on the projects and answer questions at the Webber Pond Association (WPA) annual meeting on June 24 as requested by WPA.
  3. Community Resilience Partnership(CRP): History: VCC had recommended the town become a CRP last year. (See June 2022 minutes). Since Vassalboro has no comprehensive plan, the town has less clout when applying for state grants. This state program offers towns a simple way to develop plans related to reducing energy use, transitioning to cleaner energy and preparing for the effects of climate change. It also provides opportunities to apply for grants to fulfill those plans. The select board approved the concept in June 2022 and was to start the application process in Sept. 2022 but postponed it due to the work load (finding a new town manager and Code Enforcement Officer CEO). Aaron Miller, town manager, wishes to move quickly to being a CRP and apply for grants toward heat pumps by July 7th.
    Two of the things that the town initially needs to do to apply to be a partner 1) Assess what the past projects the town has done and 2) What it would like to do in the future? Aaron asked if VCC can gather a list of these for the Board to consider. He hopes to have a public meeting to gather other ideas for projects and to hear responses to any proposed projects on 6/22 at the next Select Board meeting.
    Action: David, John and Holly will gather list of past and future projects from various sources within the town as well as any future project ideas. These will be sent to Aaron by 6/20. The VCC can also encourage the Vassalboro community to attend to share input.
  4. Statler Sludge Landfill Peggy shared 4 documents from Maine DEP re: Statler Tissue Landfill
    Action: Peggy, Paul and Peter will review the documents and make recommendations to VCC in July.
  5. Eagle Park Update: Steve and Matt have been working with town’s public works and the parking lot is almost complete. The maple trees from Project Canopy are doing well. Now they are waiting for the Shoreland Zoning Permit approval letter from the town’s Code Enforcement Officer to do the leveling and crushed stone path. Holly checked with CEO this morning and he didn’t see any paperwork that was done last year. There is also a gully between the two lots that public works suggests extending the culvert and topping it to level the ground and as walking access between the two parcels
    Action: Holly will send him another copy and ask him to work with Paul to complete it. Copies should go to Steve and public works and VCC.
  6. For future energy projects and planning, the town manager may need to avail himself of the expertise of people in town who have understanding of the complexities of the issues. An ad hoc energy committee has been created at least twice in the past for the town to make informed plans and decisions of options.
    Action: VCC recommends that an energy committee be formed at the request of the town manager to propose long term planning for energy and advise the town on options

Next meeting July 11

Respectfully submitted, Holly Weidner, chair