HomeMunicipalMay 2024 Conservation Commission Update

May 2024 Conservation Commission Update

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Town of Salem, NH

During the month of April, the Salem Conservation Commission met for two special meetings, one being a goals workshop and the other being an Ad-Hoc Committee on Updating the Wetlands Ordinance. Both meetings were held in the Community Development Conference Room, located within the Salem Town Hall. Recaps for both Commission special meetings and the Town Council’s board and committee goal setting workshop are included below:

Monday April 22nd, 2024 – Goal Setting Workshop

The Commission developed the following Conservation Commission goals to present at the regular May 1 meeting for consideration and adoption. The Town Forest goals were also developed and will be considered and adopted at the regular June 5 meeting.

2024 Conservation Commission Goals

  • Continue conservation easement monitoring and identify conservation easement problem areas
    • Engage with / hire a conservation easement monitoring professional and/or land management company
    • Find and review historical priority properties list.
    • Refer violation areas to Code Enforcement Officer
  • Ongoing special meetings for training
  • Explore options to update the Open Space Master Plan
  • Pollinator Preservation
    • Create pollinator gardens and develop preservation and O&M plans on Conservation and/or Town owned property.
    • Review Design Guidelines and develop recommendations (if any) to Planning Board
    • Explore options at Meadow Glen
  • Complete Bill Valentine Park improvements per existing plans

2024 Town Forest Goals

  • Schedule Town Forest Spring and Fall Maintenance / Clean Up Day
    • Clean up and widen trails where applicable (Trail D, G, H, I)
    • Remove invasive plants.
  • Discuss and implement solutions to trails needing attention, re-doing trail markings
  • Create RFP/Q for design-build, including permitting, to construct a handicapped accessible bridge over wetland and other trail work on Trial F
  • Work with Code Enforcement Officer regarding encroachments identified by SELT
  • Explore measures to preserve bridge leading from parking lot into Town Forest
  • Explore measures to address changing water levels effect on the trail system

 

Monday, April 29, 2024 – Town Council Boards & Committee ‘SMART’ Goal Setting Workshop

On April 29, 2024 the Conservation Commission Chair, Georgia Brust, attended the Town Council ‘SMART’ Goal Setting Workshop at the Salem High School Media Center.

The Conservation Commission’s three presented SMART goals were:

  1. Complete Valentine Park Improvements; Due November 30, 2024
    • Background: Bill Valentine Park has been an ongoing project since 2020. In 2022, the Town received a Shoreland Impact permit from NHDES. The Commission is awaiting the DPW’s schedule to clear up a bit in order to complete the parking lot and guardrail installation so the rest of the project can proceed.This project started in June 2021 as an independent capstone project for Conservation Commission Chair Georgia Brust.
    • Work Includes: Re-creating the parking area, creating a natural meadow for pollinators where the existing parking lot/lawn is, installing donated picnic tables, establishing a landscape bed along the roadside, and removing invasive vegetation near the back tree line.
      • Landscape bed along roadside has been completed and was a generous donation of Belko Landscaping
      • A handicap accessible table was donated by the Knights of Columbus
      • Invasives include glossy buckthorn; cutting back has begun and “buckthorn baggies” have been applied where needed
  2. Town Forest Pollinator Plantings & Improvements in partnership with the Salem Friendship & Garden Club; Due December 31, 2024
    • Background: Town Forest Pollinator Plantings is a joint effort with the Salem Friendship & Garden Club – the Commissions goal is to install more pollinator friendly plants around Town during the 2024 season.
    • Work Includes:
      • Cleaning up parking lot kiosk area.
      • Placing timbers to help delineate wood line from parking lot.
      • Creating naturalized pollinator planting.
      • Cutting back invasives.
      • Creating naturalized pollinator planting within the inner Town Forest kiosk.
  3. Update Town Wetland Ordinance; Due March 31, 2025
    • An Ad Hoc committee has been formed to accomplish this task. A recap of the first meeting from April 30 is included below!

 

Tuesday April 30th, 2024 – Ad Hoc Committee on Updating the Wetlands Ordinance Meeting #1

  1. Clarification of Ad-Hoc Committee Members
    • The members of the Ad Hoc committee were clarified.
  2. Clarification of Ad-Hoc Committee Purpose
    • The purpose of the Ad Hoc committee is to explore any potential changes to the Town’s Wetland Ordinance. The Ad Hoc committee will research similar communities to see how they compare to Salem’s ordinance.
  3. Overview of Zoning Ordinance Amendment Process with Jacob LaFontaine
    • Jacob LaFontaine went through a PowerPoint presentation on the process of amending an ordinance.
    • Discussed how the Commission needs to bring the final product to other boards / Town Council in ordered to be amended.
  4. Town Staff Comments
    • John Vogl, GIS Manager, and Crayton Brubaker, Community Development Program Manager, gave their input and thoughts on how the Commission should proceed.
  5. Initial Discussion on Objectives of Updating Wetlands Ordinance
    • Objectives and ideas were brought forward as to what the members wanted to see out of the process of updating the Wetlands Ordinance.
  6. Doodle Poll for Next Meeting
    • Discussion for when next meeting will be. A Doodle Poll will be sent out via email with dates in late May / June for next meeting.

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