Halifax Conservation Commission
P.O. BOX 127, WEST HALIFAX, VT 05358
Regular Meeting, Thursday, January 27, 2022, at 6:30 PM
Meeting location: Zoom (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/7814490827
or call +19292056099,,7814490827#)
Attendees: Stephan Chait (Chair; SC), Dov Towler (Member; DT), Lesley Pollitt (Treasurer; LP), Jessica Cooney (Member; JC), Laurel Copeland (Clerk; LC), Linda Huebner (LH), Cara Cheyette (CC), Sue Kelly (SK).
CALL TO ORDER at 6:33 pm
CHANGES AND/OR ADDITIONS TO AGENDA – add Hounding as a possible new Town regulation
APPROVAL OF PREVIOUS MEETING MINUTES
Regular Meeting Minutes of January 6, 2022 were approved with 1 correction that it was State Mass Fish & Wildlife agency flow devices that failed (4 ayes, 1 abstention). Send minutes directly to TristanRobertsHalifax@gmail.com until the Halifax Secretary position is filled.
Invasive Species – Identification and Abatement
Development of an Educational Flyer
LC went through several invasives in the categories of terrestrial plants (e.g., giant hogweed, common buckthorn, Asiatic bittersweet, Japanese knotweed), forest pests (e.g., EAB), and aquatic invasives (e.g., water chestnut and Eurasian watermilfoil). We could get a speaker on the topic of Vermont’s status with respect to invasives, and we may develop a mailed flyer. Cara commented that she has a lot of materials as a Vermont Coverts operator. Cara would be happy to reach out to the org for directed output or a show they take on the road for every county. Diana Todd introduced Cara to Vermont Coverts. Vermont Coverts does 2 trainings a year. http://vtcoverts.org/index.html Could sign up for 4-day spring training. LC commented that education should be very targeted to what is in Halifax and how to deal with it. Funding to help remove invasives could be helpful for residents. Avoiding chemical approaches, or using highly controlled application methods, is best. Could someone join our meeting via Zoom to educate us on which species to highlight? Sam Schneski, County forester, was suggested and Lisa Sausville of Vermont Coverts.
Hounding – should we propose an ordinance to regulate hounding in Halifax? LH sent an example from Greensboro. Hounding is used to run bears to exhaustion so the dogs’ owner can shoot the bear. The Greensboro ordinance focuses on property owner rights. SC will ask Patty Dow the process for proposing a similar ordinance in Halifax.
JC, LP, and LC will look into developing and circulating a petition for an ordinance. POW has materials explaining the downsides of hounding. SK commented that WCHS is allied with POW regarding the hazard to the hounds and bears, however, the property rights angle probably has greater leverage. DT commented that the hunting is indiscriminate.
Constable Andy Rice has been involved. CC added that Andy Rice mentioned there are problems with barking dogs. The new zoning ordinance has some performance standards with respect to noise, so barking dogs at the margins of your property can support a complaint. SK noted that any dogs being inhumanely treated can be reported to WCHS.
Vermont Disaster Animal Response Team (VDART) and Emergency Planning for Animals
Discussion with Paul Blais (SC, LP, LC) – Halifax Emergency Management Director. Paul was very open to talking with us. He is tasked with developing the Town plan and happy to have VDART / WinDART involved. He is considering sending out a survey to find out what animals are in Halifax. LC sent him a 1-page first draft of a possible form to get an initial estimate of animals in Halifax. There could also be outreach to teach people how to plan for animal care during a disaster.
Protecting Culverts – Cost-Effective Solutions for the Town
Next Steps for the Culverts at or near beaver ponds at Hatch School Road, Pennell Hill Road, Jacksonville Stage Road, and Deer Park Road – SC is interested in developing estimated road crew time costs per hour based on time sheets (plus supplies, e.g., a new culvert at Deer Park Road was $11,000). He will approach Patty Dow and Tyler Brown (state agent) and Skip Lisle (entrepreneur). A costly solution would benefit from us having fundraising for the affected property owners. Roadway flooding will become an issue again in a couple months.
Ash Tree Inventory – Update
Green Mountain Power offered to take out extra trees in the town right of way as they install new poles and rearrange the power lines along Hanson Road. Road Commissioner Mike Fournier thought the tree cutting machine GMP will use could only take down smaller trees, those under 22 inches in diameter. Mike is focused on smaller trees. We commented that there were many ash trees in the ROW that GMP should please take out. SK measured the larger trees on Hanson Road but found none of greater diameter or interest. The ash tree inventory website is still under reconstruction.
OTHER BUSINESS – None.
HEARING OF VISITORS – None. Thank You!
ADJOURNMENT at 7:35 pm.