FRANKLIN WATERSHED COMMITTEE

Minutes for Public Monthly Meeting

April 9, 2009

Felco Room, Franklin Homestead

 

 

Present: Jim Cameron, Dick Benton, David Breed, Paul Stanley,  Sarah Larose- NRCS, Adrian Rainville, Dan Larivee, Pauline Favreau, John Cote, Chris O’Shea, Lucille Rainville, Peter Kittell, Sue Clark, and Heidi Britch-Valenta. Jim Dewing arrived at 8:45pm.

 

Cameron called the meeting to order at 7:05 P.M.

 

COORDINATOR’S UPDATE-  

Tree Planting- The planting at Chris Wagner’s Farm will take place on April 25th from 9:00am to 1:00pm. Please bring a shovel and pail if possible. Boots and gloves recommended. There will be a site visit on April 13 at 9:30am with Ben Gabos, CREPS, Chris Smith, Fish and Wildlife Partners Program, and the Contractor, Ian Ambler to finalize details.

 

Annual meeting-     The date August 13th was selected for the annual meeting.  The group was uncertain of an exact plan for the event.

 

Bulletin Boards – Heidi let the board know she has been unsuccessful in getting a bulletin board for watershed updates in place at the Franklin General. Jim Cameron agreed to take the lead on this issue.

 

319 Funding- The 319 funding program survived the budget hatchet. Request for Proposals are open now with a May 15th deadline.   A committee for this project will meet on the 22nd with Sue Warren, ANR, and Rick Hopkins, Grant Administrator, at the Felco Room at 3:30pm.

 

Stream Assessment-  David Breed has investigated the cost of purchasing our own ortho maps with parcel delineation overlay. This was a useful tool for determining land owners for notification for stream assessments.  Cost is $8 each. He requested 3.  David Breed made a motion to purchase the maps for an estimated cost of $24. Dick Benton seconded the motion. Motion carried.

 

Letters have gone out to the land owners on 4 tributaries as notification of the stream walk.  Brendan O’shea will begin the process on the 22nd.

 

Septic Projects-  Tom Clark will be coming to Franklin on the 22nd to meet with Sue Warren and Rick Hopkins to discuss septic projects.

 

Dick, David, and Heidi have been working on the septic information flyer and binder.  This may be ready for the next meeting.

 

 Jim Cameron reported that he and John Cote have had one meeting with State Engineer, Bill. Zabilowski, regarding soil suitability around the lake front.  Another meeting will be scheduled to gather further information and to delineate on a map the open areas that would potentially support septic systems. Peter Kittell  is familiar with the soil from previous testing and offered to provide information regarding the most suitable areas for community septic systems.

Raingarden Demonstration-  Sue Clark met with Megan Moir, Clean and Clear, and Emma Melvin, UVM extension to do a site visit to the Franklin Historical Log Cabin where the raingarden demonstration will take place. The previous uses of the site will be researched to find out what past usage will mean for soil compaction, and soil composition. An excavator may be necessary if a previously existing driveway will mean large amounts of gravel at the site. Emma and Megan will develop a garden plan and plant list.  Compost should be solicited. The raingarden date is July 18th  This will coincide with the Historical Society sites tour from 12:00 to 4:00pm.

 

TMDL- Jim Cameron has received notice from Tim Clear of EPA that our TMDL approval is imminent. It should be final within a week or two.

 

Membership - two membership flyers were circulated for opinions.  No membership fee will be charged to become a member but donations will be encouraged.  Knowing the number of membership is important for future planning.

 

Bimonthly meetings- Heidi noted that the meeting agendas are extremely full due to the large number of projects being handled simultaneously. The idea of holding two meetings a month to allow more time for discussion was presented to the group. The group chose to avoid this step unless necessary. The coordinator should keep the board apprised of the status of projects and if it is useful to hold a separate meeting for a topic then everyone should be notified at that time.

 

It was determined that during the 319 application process there would be another meeting to cover this issue. A meeting on the 22nd when Rick Hopkins and Susan Warren are present was scheduled. 

 

TREASURER’S REPORT-  Sue Clark gave the treasurer’s report. She explained that the group had approximately $17,000 to spend on construction projects. This funding was primarily from the 319 grant but also included FWC funds that could be designated to projects outside of the watershed to Franklin Farmers.

 

 

AGRICULTURAL PROJECTS –

Jim Cameron explained that several members had met on the previous Monday to review the applications and determine exactly how much money was available.  Rick Hopkins, Grant Administrator was present via speaker phone at that time. The following members were present for that discussion: Jim Cameron, Sue Clark, David Breed, Paul Stanley, Rolland Rainville, Jim Dewing, Lucille Rainville, and Heidi.

 

 Heidi distributed packets of funding applications along with an informational table to assist members during the review process. She then described the projects to the group noting that applicants had been encouraged to apply even if they did not have a detailed plan of their project. They were also not limited to the number of project applications. This informal approach was used to gather information for projects that could be funded now and to compile a list for further investigation and future consideration.

 

 

Micheal and Joan Lothian-  Middle Road Farm. Flex-incentive type program.  This concept is borrowed from the UVM program that rewards farms for phosphorus reduction techniques that provide results.  A baseline soil analysis is performed and a sign on payment of $400 is provided to the farmer.  Following implementation of strategies for phosphorus reduction a second soil analysis is performed rewarding the farm per pound of phosphorus eliminated from the watershed up to $600.  Farms with an initially low phosphorus level qualify for a “stewardship” payment. Due to the cancellation of the program through UVM as a result of budget cuts, the group would like to sponsor and establish this program within our watershed. Paul Stanley has suggested this farm as a model for this program because of their willingness to improve and maintain environmentally friendly processes. Total anticipated cost $1,000.

 

This 100 acre farm is within the watershed and the stream that flows through their land dumps into the north end of the lake.

 

Micheal and Joan Lothian-  Middle Road Farm Cover Crop Incentive 21 Acres of annual corn with winter rye.

 

Mike Benjamin- Lake Road Farm, Cover Crop Incentive  600 Total Acres of cover crop, estimated 150-200 acres in the watershed.

 

Mike Benjamin- Lake Road Farm, Streambank  Stabilization Project  Mike was interested in fortifying the banks of the stream behind his home on Middle Road.   .5 mile x 20 ft area that could have trees planted and the buffer would be fenced off to prevent cows from accessing it.  Paul Stanley met with Mike to discuss the project and he suggested considering CREPS funding for this area. Because Mike does not mow the area and is able to fence it off, it should meet the criteria. The group asked Paul to continue the conversation with the agencies. This project is on the Pike River outside of the watershed.

 

Rolland Rainville- North Sheldon Road, Cover Crop Incentive  60 Acres of corn or alfalfa with Winter Rye.  Part of the land is within the watershed.

 

Ron Paradis- State Park Road, Streambank Stabilization Project, 30’ X .5 mile area that will be prepared and seeded. Fence has already been erected. Ron wants to continue to mow the area so trees are not an option.   Total anticipated cost $100.

 

Ron Paradis- State Park Road, Cover Crop Incentive- 45 acres of corn with winter rye.  Some of this land is in the watershed.

 

Chris Wagner- Towle Neighborhood Road, Cover Crop Incentive- 48 acres corn with winter rye. This land is in the watershed.

 

Mark Stanley- Stanley Road, Cover Crop Incentives-  44 acres corn with winter rye, This land is in the watershed.

 

Jim Dewing- State Park Road, Streambank Stabilization Project, This project is to stabilize the banks of the Dewing brook  that runs through Jim’s property and dumps into the lake at the northeast corner.  1500 ft of brook will be fenced off to create a buffer. The 3 most severe head cuts will be reinforced with rocks. Estimated at 50 ft each.  Jim has his own equipment and rocks are readily available on the site. Fence material is also available.  Funds will be used to pay for fuel for the backhoe, fence installation, and Jim’s time. Total estimated cost $3,500. Project is in the watershed.

 

At the Monday meeting it was suggested that the group fund the entire project rather than just 3 headcuts. This increase in footage would require an additional $900 to complete.  This has drawbacks from a technical standpoint.  Brendan O’shea, consultant for the project believes this would have negative impact on the natural characteristics of the stream. He also believes this would require Army Corp of Engineers approval and may greatly slow down the project. 

 

Andrew Godin- Richard Road, Nutrient Management, The FWC currently has a nutrient management cost share policy that covers 75% in the first year. Andy is asking for total cost coverage. Total cost of plan would be $800. Existing policy would cover $600. Balance remaining would be $200. Farm is not in the watershed. Applicant is not the land owner.

 

Wayne Fisk- Durkee Road, Tile Drainage,  The group has been asked by our administrator not to consider tile drainage projects. This farm is not in the Lake Carmi Watershed.

 

Ernest Fortin, Kendall Road, Steambank Stabilization, - Project would create a cattle crossing to keep traffic out of the wet barnyard. Barnyard is continuously wet from a small stream or spring. Ernest plans to retire from farming soon and the future of the property is uncertain. Concept  would need a formal plan. Farm is not in the watershed.

 

Lucille Rainville, Lake Road, Streambank stabilization- Lucille had submitted an application for an increased buffer and planting on her property on Monday, at the meeting. She promptly withdrew it and decided to work independently on this project.

 

Heidi then shared comments from Rick Hopkins via email following the Monday meeting.

He encouraged limiting the grant funds to farms within the watershed. He supported the cover crop concept and suggested an agreement that would require a 2 year participation with a third year at the farmers expense without group funding.  He suggested limiting the eligible acres per farm to an amount determined by the group.

 

He suggested limiting the Dewing project to the 150 ft of  3 headcuts as originally suggested. He suggested a 20 ft minimum buffer strip with the fencing and an agreement to maintain the fence for a minimum of 5 years.

 

He asked that the Flex-incentives program be looked at closely to consider all possible scenarios before moving forward.

 

He asked the group to avoid the Ernest Fortin and Wayne Fisk projects because they did not fit with the project guidelines. 

He also suggested the Mike Benjamin and Ron Paradis project be passed over since they were not in the watershed.

 

The group then discussed and voted on the projects.

 

Lothian- Flexincentives. Dave Breed moved to dedicate up to $1,000 for this concept. Dan Larivee seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously

Benjamin- Stream Bank stabilization. The group asked Paul Stanley to continue the conversation with Ben Gabos, of CREPs and see if the project is eligible for funding. If it does not fit the criteria it should come back to the group for consideration.

 

Paradis- Stream bank stabilization. The group suggested that since this was such a small amount they should fund the project from non-319 funds. Dick Benton  made a motion to approve the request for approximately $100 to create a streambank grass buffer. Dave Breed seconded. Motion carried unanimously.

 

Dewing- Streambank Stabilization. There was much debate on the extent to which the group should fund the project.  Heidi relayed information from Brendan O’shea consultant stating his firm belief that the whole stream should not be stone lined as this would be poor management of a stream. 

 

David Breed agreed with that statement but pointed out that due to the extreme amount of erosion coming from the stream just doing part of it will not relieve the stress on the stream or slow the flow of sediment. He said he has spoken with Chris Brunelle, Stream alteration specialist, and he thought it could be possible to do more than just the 3 head cuts.

 

Dick Benton made a motion to dedicate adequate funds to complete the project pending approval from Chris Brunelle, and Rick Hopkins. Project estimate from $3,500 to $4,000. Seconded by David Breed. Motion carried unanimously.

 

 

Godin- Nutrient Management Plan- John Cote made a motion to fund this project for an estimated $800 of non-319 funds. Dick Benton seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.  This and all other projects on leased land will need land owner consent.

 

Cover Crops- following much conversation, Dick Benton made a motion to approve the cover crop incentive for $30 per acre up to 100 acres per farm. John Cote seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

 

Fisk, Fortin- The group chose not to fund these applications.

 

Heidi will prepare agreements with project guidelines.

 

 

NEW BUSINESS-

Aerway Aerator - Jim Dewing came to the meeting late following another meeting he had attended with the Farmer’s Watershed Alliance.  He was invited to the FWA  meeting as an operator for the Aerway injection equipment. They anticipate receiving funding for 6 units and they have asked Jim to contact the landowners to enlist their support for the use of the Aerway  in the Lake Carmi watershed at no cost to the farmers.   The group was very positive about this announcement.

 

Port-o-let- Dick Benton asked the group to consider expanding the septic pump out program to include port-to-let rentals. He explained that port-o-let rentals will greatly reduce stress to septic systems during parties at lake shore properties.  He suggested the group reimburse a camp owner $50 toward the cost of a rental. The board has mixed feelings and agreed to discuss it further at the next meeting when there would be more time. 

 

 

 The meeting adjourned at 9:00pm. 

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Dick Benton and Heidi Britch-Valenta   

 

 

 

 

NEXT MEETING DATE MAY 14TH AT 7:00PM IN THE HOMESTEAD- FELCO ROOM

 

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