Halifax Conservation Commission

P.O. BOX 127, WEST HALIFAX, VT 05358

Regular Meeting, Thursday, March 2, 2023, at 6:30 PM

Remote Participation ONLY

Zoom Location https://us02web.zoom.us/j/7814490827?pwd=bTRLMCtDdzgrR2NndWV5andxTG0vUT09

Meeting ID: 781 449 0827 Passcode: 123

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Attendees: Stephan Chait (Chair; SC), Mary Horne (Member; MH), Dov Towler (Member; DT), Laurel Copeland (Clerk; LC), Juliet Blackett (guest, JB); Linda Huebner (guest, LH), Sue Kelly (guest, SK). 

Unable to attend: Lesley Pollitt (Treasurer; LP). 


CALL TO ORDER at 6:31 pm





Regular Meeting Minutes of January 26, 2023 were approved with the changes reviewed in the meeting (who said what, etc.). 



Conservation Commission Membership

Election of Treasurer –  deferred until next meeting



Ash Trees, Emerald Ash Borer, and Town Roads 

SK reported that a grant proposal she wrote to help remove roadside ash trees has been funded by the State of Vermont, contingent on the townspeople voting next week to put up $5,000 of town funds. SK discussed with Road Boss Mike Fournier which trees to cut down first and walked several roads again. She suggests starting on Collins Road where there are a lot of trees together. She has obtained one estimate of the cost. The line item for the $5,000 will be voted on as a floor vote next Tuesday. Some in town wonder why we should cut down healthy ash trees. LC and SK commented on the recent Halifax Newsletter article on the dangers to lumberjacks of EAB-infested ash trees. MH asked about how other towns are dealing with EAB and ash trees. SK reported that a number of towns have started removing ash trees as far as 5 years ago, and others are incorporating ash tree removal into their highway department work; this is not feasible for our highway department. JB asked whether any of the recent treefalls (e.g., on Stark Mtn Rd) were ash trees. SK will go see. 


Why You Should Care About Invasive Plants in Halifax

Review of revised text. LC presented her article on buckthorn and agreed to adapt it to a flyer with LP’s work from last year. DT has been girdling buckthorn successfully killing it. Add this method to the flyer version. Reduce the amount of text. Find and add a perspective photo of the overall shrub. Add links to more info. Add our 2 questions (“Is this helpful? What else would you like to see or know?”). Omit any suggested herbicide. Send flyer to DT for review. 


Our 6 invasive terrestrial plants are: Asiatic Bittersweet, Barberry, Buckthorn, Japanese Knotweed, Wild (Poison) Parsnip, and Phragmites. 


Discussion of Trapping and Conservation Commission Outreach – LH sent items of interest:

Furbearer Trapping bills:

Bill Status H.191 (vermont.gov)  – LH was invited to join Joanne Bourbeau from HSUS in a meeting with Rep. Roberts, which turned out to be Halifax open office hours – he’s not too supportive of the wildlife bills. He commented that trapping had cultural value for some, mentioning Native Americans, and might provide free food for some (although few people eat furbearers). After Rep. Roberts’ office hours, 2 persons talked at length with LH and Joanne Bourbeau about these issues (trapping; hounding). 

Bill Status S.111 (vermont.gov) – Sen. Hashim signed on to this, put forward by Sen. Campion (Bennington); Sen. Harrison did not (and wasn’t responsive to follow up emails re: meeting about wildlife issues). 

Hounding bill:

Bill Status H.323 (vermont.gov) – Rep. Roberts didn’t seem too interested in this, either. 

LH commented that hunters and non-hunters support both these issues because they focus on how we kill animals, not whether we kill animals. 

For more info (on these and other bills), see: 

LEGISLATION/RULEMAKING | protectourwildlifevt.org/legislation

2023 Wildlife Bills — Vermont Wildlife Coalition (https://www.vtwildlifecoalition.org/2023-wildlife-bills)

LH commented that there seems to be little reason to push a local ordinance because these issues are in our state legislature. Members discussed our Conservation Commission outreach, whether and how we do this. MH noted that many people new to the area do not know that hounding and trapping are legal and happening in Vermont. Most people are concerned about leg-hold/foot-hold traps (not other traps such as underwater conibear traps) because they cause suffering and catch non-targeted animals including pet dogs. SK commented that trapping might be considered to be “in our wheelhouse” (and apolitical) when considered in terms of the balance of species. Random trapping and non-target species trapping fits into this framework. Traps beside public trails can be categorized as affecting public and pet safety. MH asked what would be an appropriate educational mode for this issue. SC and DT felt that multiple approaches are good. DT noted that we have been reluctant to use community meetings during the COVID pandemic. 

Beaver-Related Flow Control Device Funding – LH and Patti Smith are working on a grant proposal that could benefit beavers in Halifax (and people, too); they submitted a summary yesterday to the Broad Reach Fund. Broad Reach is currently focused on beaver protection. Broad Reach suggested they ask POW for money, but that has not been fruitful in the recent past. Patti and LH came up with the idea of doing a joint project in Halifax and Westminster. LH welcomes input on the proposal she emailed us; final proposal is due April 12, 2023. Sites where culverts need protection include Jacksonville Stage Road and Deer Park Road. The culvert on Deer Park Road that was replaced last year cost $11,000 plus labor whereas the Hatch School Road flow-control was $4,000. LH would like to see protection on every culvert installed, proactively. SC proposed and LH agreed that a letter of support from the commission would be welcome. 






ADJOURNMENT at 7:21 pm.