Conservation Commission Minutes – March 27, 2019

Braintree Conservation Commission

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Unapproved Minutes


Present:  Tom Cooch, Linda Morse, Joan Richmond–Hall, Paul Shriver, Sandy Stephen,


No Public comments

Five items were added to the agenda.

The minutes for the January 9, 2019, meeting were not available for approval.


Election of Officers

Tom was reelected chair, Sandy vice-chair, and Linda secretary,


[Linda wrote several days later that she did not in fact want to continue on as secretary.]


Plans for Vernal Pool Presentation


The classroom at RTCC that was used for the Deer Yard presentation has been reserved for April 24 at 7 p.m. Jessamyn West has produced a poster, which the RCC will post around Randolph. Braintree will include the poster in its mid-April newsletter. Mike Van Dyck has already posted on Front Porch Forum and is going to submit a press release to The Herald. Paul will contact Janni at Braintree School to request that she promote the event with her students. Presenter Steve Faccio has been invited to supper with members from both commissions at One Main restaurant at 5 p.m. that evening

Goals for Next 6 Months


  • Monitor the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer throughout the state
  • Collaborate with Randolph CC to eradicate poisonous parsnip along Route 12
  • Organize more work parties at Thayer Brook Natural Area
  • Evaluate effectiveness of last fall’s spraying of Japanese Knotweed
  • Verify additional vernal pools in Braintree


Arbor Day Conference


This year’s conference will take place at Vermont College for the Arts in Montpelier on Thursday, May 2. No one committed to attending. Any member who decides to go should arrange payment of the fee with Holly by April 18.






Tom said he thought he could put together a short newsletter by mid-April. This would be in time to include publicity on the Vernal Pool presentation. Other possible articles are amphibian crossings and recent Vermont legislation on neonicotinoid insecticides.


Semi-Annual Report to Selectboard


The draft submitted by Linda and Tom was approved. It will be presented to the SB at its April 2 meeting.


Amphibian Crossing Monitors


The North Branch Nature Center and the Vermont Center for Ecostudies are seeking volunteers to monitor possible amphibian crossings in April throughout the state. Two locations have been identified in Braintree. Tom has volunteered for one on Brainstorm Road. There is another along Route 12A north of West Braintree. Any member interested in this should contact Tom for more information. Otherwise it will be opened up to residents through the newsletter.


Dissemination of Clean Water Information


All members expressed willingness to work at the Town Office when tax bills go out to print, fold, and stuff the clean water promotional leaflet being supplied by Green Mountain Water Environment Association


Knotweed Spraying


Tom reported that the Selectboard is submitting an application to the State for knotweed spraying again this summer. It is wondering if the BCC can make recommendations. There was agreement that we would first need to go around with Jerold Kinney to see the sites that had been sprayed last year and try to evaluate with him the effectiveness of the spraying.


Joint Meeting with Planning Commission


[This added agenda item was actually discussed at the beginning of the meeting.]


Report on Planning Commission Discussion on Braintree’s North Branch Area, south of Thayer Brook Road.  Joan reports there will be a Planning Commission workshop looking at the changes occurring in the area, including possible forest fragmentation, as noted by State Fish and Wildlife. The area also has big ravines. A possible option is rezoning to reduce forest fragmentation and protect the wildlife corridor. Joan will check on the timeline for submitting the new Town Plan and determine whether a joint PC and BCC meeting on a Wednesday is possible.



Next Meeting Date


Our April meeting would normally take place on April 24, which is the date of our Vernal Pool presentation. Rather than try to reschedule on a different date, it was decided that the event would take the place of the BCC meeting. The next meeting will be on May 22.





Meeting adjourned at 8:28 p.m.



Respectfully submitted,


Tom Cooch, Acting Secretary