Vassalboro Conservation Commission minutes March 10, 2022 at the Friends meetinghouse.

Present: Peggy Horner, Paul Mitnik, David Jenney, Steve Jones, Holly Weidner (chair)

Guest: Amy Davidoff

Old Business:

1) February minutes were reviewed and approved with minor corrections. (See attachment)

Action: This will be sent to Mary Sabin, town manager (who puts it on the town website).

2) Three new lake quality improvement projects that the VCC is working in conjunction with China Regional Lake Alliance (CRLA), received partial initial support from select board. ($9,000 of the $12,500 that VCC recommended). The budget is now being reviewed by the budget committee. However, the budget committee voted not to have presentations from groups petitioning for funding.

Action: VCC will reach out to Mary and to the chair of the budget committee, send a copy of the explanation of why the VCC recommends that the town fund the full amount of the CRLA funding request and that any questions be directed to the Chair of the VCC.

3) Eagle Park: Paul explained the process for working with Planning Board and the State.

Action: Paul will start the Permit by Rule application. Paul, Steve and Holly will meet to draw up a Concept Plan to present to the Planning Board for a permit.

4) Trout Pool: There was a DEP grant of $80,000 for reconstruction of the Culvert on Cross Hill Road. This would most likely have required to be revegetated after construction but there still are no plantings as of the fall.

Action: Holly will check with Mary as to the situation.

New business:

1) Annual report was reviewed last week online, approved and sent to the town.

2) Under the Maine State Climate Action Plan the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future has created a Community Resiliency Partnership program to help towns develop a climate action priorities and to help them pay for their priorities with grants. Peggy explained the process that the town would need to go through to be in the partnership program. KVCOG may have a grant to help municipalities enroll in this program, to develop their climate action priorities and apply for grants to meet their goals. The more quickly towns create a plan and become a partner, the more likely they are to receive funding as the funds for this 2 year period are used. The next round of grant proposals is September 2022.

Action: The VCC supports having the Town be a partner in this state program. The first step is for the Select board to establish a committee that will do a town “self-assessment”. Peggy will write a draft proposal to be presented to the select board, check with KVCOG to see what help they can offer and arrange a meeting with the select board.

3) The Kennebec River Boat Launch project that the VCC started about 7 years ago was reviewed to see if it was possible to renew the effort to have carry-in boat access to the Kennebec River.

a. History of project: the Kennebec River Initiative was established to promote economic development along the river that was tied to the natural resources. The VCC worked with them and was able to identify the Seven Mile stream outlet to the Kennebec as the only place to access the river without crossing over the railroad. The 1+ acre lot was gifted to the town by a private landowner and the town accepted it. The VCC worked with the Trail committee, the adjacent sand pit owner (Sargent) and the town road crew to develop access along the town road and create a small parking lot above the stream‘s outlet into the river. Because all boat launches have to be handicap accessible, the VCC started to develop a concept design for a ramp and dock, but ran into more regulations around permitting. The project was dropped.
Action: Paul will check the present site to see what access maybe available for handicap access and work with the Trail committee on possible options.

4) Communication between town and VCC: Presently our minutes are sent to the town manager who approves them to be put on the town website. The select board does not review them at their meetings. There was a general discussion:
Action: The VCC will discuss with town manager to request that a copy of our minutes is sent to the Select Board.

5) David attended the Maine Municipal Association seminar and reported on updates re: emerald ash borer (they will arrive in Kennebec County within 5 years minimum), Brown tail moth (hope for a wet, cool spring to increase the fungus that kills the larvae), and vernal pools (the fauna from a vernal pool can travel miles from its original pool).


Next meeting: second Thursday: April 14th 6:30 pm. Location TBA
Minutes were reviewed and accepted by VCC via email on 3/20/22.

Respectfully submitted, Holly Weidner (chair)