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2008-03-18 WCC Minutes
2008 Webster Conservation Commission
Minutes for March 18, 2008

Present: Mary Jo MacGowan (chair), Nancy Clark, Sally Embley, Betsy Janeway, Dave Klumb, and Susan Roman. Excused: Jane Difley. Guest: Adam Bronstein.

The meeting was called to order at 7:34 p.m. and Sally volunteered to take minutes.

February Minutes : It was not clear whether the minutes distributed to the members were the same as those submitted to the Town Office. Betsy will check and resubmit an amended copy if necessary. She will also e-mail the correct copy to Mary Jo so it can be posted on the new WCC Web page.

Base Map Courtesy of Adam Bronstein:  Adam presented the base map he had created from the GRANIT database, showing in color both the roads and natural features of Webster.  Profuse compliments ensued! This base map now makes possible the creation of additional overlay maps that show various aspects of the town’s natural resources. Adam recommended five specific types of maps: scenic resources, water resources, farm and forest resources (including soil types), forest blocs (uninterrupted by main roads), and wildlife habitats.  It should also be possible to overlay the Town’s digitized tax maps for planning purposes.
Before being put to use, the base map must first be geo-referenced with known sites. Dave offered to identify the coordinates for up to 10 surveyed locations (preferably identifiable from the air via GPS). Dave will also ask Judy Jones to provide Mary Jo with the tax maps on CDs. Betsy volunteered to proof the names on the base map and provide Adam with a checklist noting corrections.

Correspondence:  The WCC was copied on two DES letters (the ongoing Wiltshire case and a suit involving a contractor for the Pillsbury Lake dam) and received a packet on the Brintnall driveway negotiations with DES.  Mary Jo asked for a motion to send up to two members to the ”Saving Special Places” conference scheduled for April 5. The fee per person is $60. Betsy moved to authorize the expenditure, seconded by Susan, and the motion passed. Mary Jo plans to attend.

Membership:   Dave announced that he must step down from the WCC because he will now be the Selectmen’s representative to the Planning Board.  He reminded the group that the deadline for submitting the names of prospective WCC members is March 24. As agreed last month, the names of three new candidates (Tom Vernon, Nancy Van Loan, and Robert Quinn) are to be submitted. Mary Jo reported that Jane Difley would prefer to be an alternate, and Nancy Clark offered to be designated as a full member (rather than an alternate) if needed.

Town Meeting Recap/ Next Steps:  Mary Jo presented our request for $5,000 to replenish the Land Trust Fund, and it passed by voice vote at the March 15 Town Meeting.  More than $19,000 is now available for funding conservation easements in Webster. The group again discussed various fundraising options and how to target these appeals. It was agreed that at least one event should be planned for each season, perhaps starting with a wildflower walk this spring.

Revised Shoreland Protection Act: Sally reported on a presentation on changes to the state law governing shoreland management and development.  Effective April 1, these amendments establish a permit program for new construction, set limits on the amount of impervious surfaces (roofs, driveways) that contribute to stormwater runoff, and create a 50-foot waterfront buffer where fertilizer and pesticides are prohibited. Conservation Commissions have no review role in the new permitting system but may receive information from the Town Clerk, who is notified of local developments.

New Web Site: Mary Jo noted that it is not too late to make changes in the WCC  page, now up and running on Webster’s new Web site. She will be announcing the addition to the Land Trust and other information on an ongoing basis.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:20 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,
Sally Embley