Vassalboro Conservation Commission (VCC)
Sept 12, 2023
6:45-8:00 pm; Vassalboro Town Office

Present: Matt Pitcher, Steve Jones, David Jenney, Paul Mitnik, John Reuthe, Holly Weidner (chair),
Absent: Peggy Horner, Peter Soule
Old business:
1) July 11, 2023 VCC meeting minutes – final approval
2) Next meeting- Oct 10th 6:30pm town office (second Tuesday of month)
3) China Regional Lake Alliance (CRLA) update: John Reuthe (Webber Pond Association WPA president) briefly reported on the water quality at WP and water level management difficulties from volume of rain. No outbreaks of toxic algae. WPA is glad to have the porta-potties supplied by CRLA for the boat inspectors.
a. WPA members expressed concern that several central Maine ponds/lakes have seen a huge expense in trying to control invasive aquatic plants. Luckily China Lake, 3 Mile Pond and Webber Pond have not been affected but prevention is less costly. WPA would like more Courtesy Boat Inspection(CBI) days. Presently the town contracts with CRLA to provide weekend coverage for the 3 Vassalboro boat ramps. When present, the CBI program seems to be going well other than initial difficulty in hiring youth in 2022 and 2023 and therefore starting in July instead of June 15th. Also, they were unable to hire a supervisor for the CBI. Action: VCC will request that the town have more days covered by CBI for 2024 season.
b. The second concern was the runoff from camp roads this spring severely damaged some camp roads particularly on the south end where some roads were impassable. The CRLA has done an engineering survey of some camp roads on Webber Pond both in fall 2022 and spring 2023. CRLA sent an interim engineering report in July 2023 to the town and WPA with a request for prioritizing camp roads to do any more extensive survey for remediation. There was a lengthy discussion about what the CRLA had done in 2022 and 2023 to date concerning the Gravel Road Rehab Program and what had they contracted to do. Action: WPA reps, VCC rep and State rep will meet with Town manager this week to further discuss where to go from here, request final report for 2022-23, review the gravel road engineering report and advise as to how to spend the rest of the CRLA 2023-24 money.
c. There was also concerns of illegal tree cutting in the watershed. It was believed that the state had come out to inspect the property for violations. The VCC does not have personal knowledge of illegal activity and is not aware of any report from the state on findings. Action: Ask town to request report from state (possibly DEP or Forest Service)
Action: the VCC supports developing a phosphorus control / run off ordinance to be developed and include regulations on maintaining and creating camp roads within the Webber Pond watershed area. It should also include means for enforcement.
4) Community Resilience Partnership (CRP): No update on grant submitted for heat pumps.
5) Statler Tissue contamination property: last meeting VCC wanted to consider what options the town has for use of the property. Could the contaminated section be subdivided off? What are the legal ramifications of owning one section or the entire section vis a vis future law suit. Action: Ask town manager to get legal advice, perhaps from MMA.
6) PFAS contamination: there are no new reports of problems in Vassalboro

New Business:
1) Monument Park: The Vassalboro Historical Society has had problems with illegally parked cars / trailers that are blocking line of site for exiting. The town is working on examining all of the East Village traffic issues. Action: VHS will work directly with town.
2) Strategic Plan review: Matt reviewed the 2006 plan. Given that it is very out of date and the census used for much of the data was done over 20 yrs. ago, and given that much of the “low hanging fruit” has been done by the VCC /Trail committee of the past, the VCC recommends to the select board to create a Comprehensive Plan and involve the VCC.
3) Night sky town: a resident requested that the town consider looking at ways to reduce light pollution to reduce brown tail moth infestation, to avoid interfering with night migration of birds and other known and unknown consequences. Action: recommend that the resident take this to the select board directly.
4) Coyote open season hunting in Maine: a resident requested that the town reduce open season hunting in the town and allow the coyotes to keep the deer and rodent population under control. Action: recommend that the resident bring this to their state representatives.
Respectfully submitted, Holly Weidner (chair)