VCC Minutes for March 11 6:30 by Zoom link
Present: Steve Jones, Peggy Horton, Holly Weidner, David Jenning and guest, Bob Nadeau, from the China Regional Lake Alliance.

Regrets: Chris French (attending the Budget Committee meeting tonight) and Betsy Poulin

1) Bob Nadeau from China Regional Lake Alliance (CRLA) and Webber Pond Association was invited to review the work of the CRLA and the petition to the town for 2021 funding.

Although some of the 2020 summer work of the Youth Conservation Corp (YCC) was cancelled due to the pandemic, the CRLA received a small matching grant from DEP to pay for some of the expense of the YCC do the Courtesy Boat Inspections. (Total cost of program was about $31,000 mostly in YCC inspection hours). They do this yearly at all 4 boat landing sites, 3 of which are in Vassalboro (East Vassalboro, Webber Pond and Three Mile Pond). They are asking Vassalboro to pay $8000 toward Courtesy Boat inspection for next year.

They also obtained a Davis Family Foundation Grant in 2019 to provide Lake Smart work assessment of camp properties along Three Mile Pond. The CRLA proposes this year to do outreach to those west side (Vassalboro side) lake front owners. For those interested, CRLA would help them design and assess the work that needs to be done and then put them in line for 2022 to have the YCC volunteers work on the projects. They are asking Vassalboro to contribute $1000 for this that will go to cost of outreach and planning with landowners.

Because there has been no volunteer from Webber Pond community to be a Lake Smart coordinator, there has not been much activity directed to Webber Pond properties. Any Vassalboro /Webber Pond residents can volunteer for this position by contacting the CRLA.

Lastly the CRLA proposes to use $1,000 to assess and respond to minimal Best Management Projects (BMP's) that fall outside the LakeSmart category particularly in the Webber pond catchment area. These projects may utilize the YCC to address storm water issues (e.g., to ensure gravel road culverts are operating properly and to install storm water diversions on private camp roads where needed), and to also maintain the Seaward Mills Stream which is the conduit between Webber Pond and Three Mile Pond. The Seaward Mills Stream often becomes clogged with “root balls” impeding the flow and connectivity for alewives to enter and leave. Periodically the stream must be entered to ream and clear out the stream's impediments.

(See attachment for warrant article, CRLA breakdown of expenses from 2020 and for a summary of their work).

Bob will send detailed CRLA financial breakdown after the meeting so that VCC can evaluate for recommendations to the Vassalboro Budget Committee concerning the Town warrant proposal.
The Town of China typically contributes $60-70,000/year recognizing that they have more taxable shore frontage on China Lake and Three Mile Pond.

Old business:

1) Carbon Fee and Dividend: Peggy reported that she has started talking to members of the select board to understand what their understanding is of the CFD program, what parts they are in agreement around and what parts they have concerns about. Steve and Holly plan to meet with people who would be supportive of the CFD program to join a future meeting with the select board after budget season is over.
2) Trout Pool: Steve reported that the form for the new permit has been completed. Jim Foster, retired from state and an abutting resident to the trout pool, completed (both old and new) permits pro bono. The permit has been sent to Mary Sabin. She will be submitting it on behalf of the town to the state.
3) Alewife fish ladder: Holly attended the public hearing at the Planning Committee March 2nd, where Nate Gray, Maine Rivers, submitted a Shoreland Zoning Permit Application for a Denil fishway on the town-owned property of the China Lake Outlet Dam. This was approved and work will begin this spring/summer. Maine Rivers is negotiating with heirs of the Morneau property as the last dam to be navigated in this project.
4) Trail Committee update: Holly reports that the town is working on coming to an agreement with the Kennebec Water District to be able to continue the town forest trail and connect to the snowmobile trail power lines to have access from the recreation fields to the Gray road.
5) Fishing Pier on China Lake/outlet stream: there was discussion about players who would be most helpful in deciding location and construction of a fishing pier. Steve and Holly proceed with further planning and funding. The select board had already approved the concept last September.

7:30-8:00 New Business

Tax-Acquired Town Property: The VCC had decided (by email last week) to recommend to the Select Board that the town retain the 2 properties on Rte. 32 just north of the East Vassalboro Village. These properties act as a buffer between Route 32 and the outlet stream. They are also ideal for public use for fishing from shore and for connecting some public trails. Holly attended the March 4th, Select Board meeting. Mary Sabin reported that the code enforcement officer said that there was a buildable section on one of the lots. She also reported that she had received a call from the previous owner who thought that he could now come up with the past owed taxes. The board decided that they would give him 2 months to clean up the property, remove the trailer home and pay the back taxes before the town would return it to him. Mary will continue to work with him but if it doesn’t work out, the town will retain it. Mary requested that the VCC write up what plans they might have for the property.

Memorial Park: There are plans to celebrate the town’s 250th birthday this year with some activities at the memorial park. A granite marker is to be laid down with the name “Memorial Park”. There were funds that the town considered appropriating toward the cost of fixing the statue. The Historical Society plans to do some fund raising toward this and John Melrose has submitted for matching funds from the town.

Patricia King has presented her resignation from the VCC. She will continue to work with helping with landscaping and yardwork and offers to help to advocate for conservation issues in the future. We appreciated her interest in working on the VCC and would invite her back any time she might consider.

Next meeting: Thursday April 8th at 6:30 pm. At a future date we would like to invite George Hamar from the Transfer Station to update us on the proposed changes and his thoughts on how to improve removing as much waste from the trash stream as possible e.g. recycling or composting.