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Conservation Commission Minutes – May 31, 2017

Braintree Conservation Commission – DRAFT Minutes -Meeting of May, 31, 2017


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

Guests:   Jeff Masterson (Town Roads Dept.), Larry Benoir (Braintree Tree Warden)



  1. Public Comment – None
  2. April BCC minutes –Approved
  3. Arbor Day Workshop – Attendees – Jeff Masterson, Larry Benoir, Tom Cooch, Sandy Stephen – General consensus was that it was very helpful – particularly on duties of tree warden. Clarification on landowner rights on cutting tree in Town RoW indicated that the Owner has right to cut trees. but must contact tree warden before doing so. Other topics: possible need to revise vague state statutes on trees. E.g. there is no stem size to distinguish brush from tree (9” is used by some towns). Also discussion on Emerald Ash Borer, which may be in southern VT, but not seen yet. Two others were Asian longhorn beetle and Forest tent caterpillar. Also discussion on DEC water issues, including wetlands preservation, including ones in Orange County. Sandy will follow up on grants available for restoration in Orange Co.
  4. Water quality monitoring and testing – Paul is still doing testing on the White River below where Riford Brook enters the river. Testing is for Phosphorus, which is a surrogate for e. coli. Jeff questioned whether the swimming hole on Riford Brook is being monitored. Also no monitoring is being done on Ayers Brook.
  5. BCC Focus Area discussions – Tom spoke about the presence of wild parsnip and Japanese knotweed. Has tried using Roundup on Knotweed as an experiment to weaken the plants. Jeff noted that Knotweed has come back again on Bent Hill Rd. Roadside mowing is beginning that week. He also noted that Hurricane Irene spread it more widely.
  6. Joan gave a summary of the progress by TROQ, which is preparing Braintree’s renewable energy plan. Solar was selected for 6-8 MW and wind for 4MW. Forest fragmentation is an issue. A rule of thumb is that for renewable energy 1megawatt equals 10 acres of land needed. BCC could take on issues of water, forests, and views and how these may constrain renewables in Town. Also the Historical Society may have concerns.
  7. Newsletter – Great way to increase the BCC visibility with content such as invasive plants, ticks, trees in road rights of way. Linda agreed to write an article on the decline of pollinators. Tom called for ideas, for BCC presence on the Town website, including links to other websites. Also we might put a table in the entryway of the Town office.
  8. Next BCC meeting will be jointly with the Planning Commission. Joan will check with Bob Moyer.


Adjourned: 8:45pm


Next BCC Meeting  – Joint meeting with Planning Commission on Wed. June 28, 7:00pm, at Braintree Town Clerks Office