Jan. 19, 2015 meeting

(PDF: Agenda, Minutes)

Skaneateles Conservation Area Advisory Committee meeting, 7:00 PM, Monday, January 19th at the Town Hall. (The town hall will be closed that day for Martin Luther King day, but will be opened for the meeting.)

This is primarily an organizational meeting to see who would like to do what for the coming year.

A. Review and update the 2008 Skaneateles Conservation Area Advisory Committee Organizational Plan. This plan hasn’t been followed in recent years and much of it is probably obsolete.

  1. Do we need a recording secretary? Do we have a volunteer?
  2. Do we need separate Federal Farm and Reynolds Property vice chairs?
  3. Do we need an activity director and subcommittee (or at least a fishing derby director)?
  4. Do we need a projects director and subcommittee?
  5. Do we need a property management plan, director & subcommittee?
  6. What should the meeting schedule be? (It was March through November or as needed.)
  7. What should the limit on the number of committee members be? (It was a maximum of 19)
  8. How should committee members be selected? (It wasn’t mentioned)
  9. Is the rule about the required number of meetings attended reasonable? (It was a majority of the 9 monthly meetings.)
  10. Is the election schedule reasonable (It was: November election; two-year term starting in March; max. 4 consecutive years).
  11. Are the three proposed subcommittees sufficient, and do their descriptions need changing?
  12. Do we need any other changes to the organizational plan?

B. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of having a management plan for the conservation areas. We can use the 2009 Town of Skaneateles Conservation Areas Management Plan (Draft) as an example of what should or should not be done.

C. Discuss the planting of hemlocks on Conservation Area land for Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) control-insect breeding by Cornell. Mark Whitmore, an entomologist from Cornell’s Department of Natural Resources would like to plant hemlock hedges where they would be protected from west winds and afternoon sun. They would plant them in one or two rows, with the trees ten feet apart, and either wait for the hemlocks to become infested with HWA or introduce them intentionally at some point. They would then introduce the control insects (small beetles that eat only adelgids). Once the control insects colonize and reproduce in sufficient numbers, they would be harvested for transfer to other HWA-infested hemlocks. The meeting with the CCE representatives has been rescheduled for Thursday, January 15th at 9 am.

D. Discuss tree harvesting, especially at the Mabel Reynolds Preserve, but also from conifer plantations or other areas on the Federal Farm and O’loughlin properties to improve diversity.

E. Discuss having periodic property walkthroughs, perhaps one for each season to discuss problems and solutions. Meetings at the pavilion during June and July might be an option so we could actually point out what we are talking about. Mosquitoes would help keep the meetings short.

F. Two new potential volunteers. Met with Joe P. on Weds.  at 8 am and John H. on Fri. at 1 pm.

G. Revisit the horse and bicycle riding decision. There wasn’t an actual vote and it seems the town board felt it should have been presented to them. Maybe we need to write up a formal list of conservation area rules to post and have it approved by the town board to avoid misunderstanding.

H. Wish lists of future projects that have been discussed before, but might deserve being kept alive (just to document them and allow additions or in case someone wants to take them on).

  1. Raise the level of the soil and/or gravel around the pavilion to avoid tripping and falling hazard.
  2. Fix or replace the railing on the overlook to Guppy Falls. Could be a liability issue if not fixed. It would discourage sliding down the hill and help prevent erosion of the bank if it is fixed. Perhaps one made of  metal pipe would reduce temptation for vandalism.
  3. Phragmites removal – the town highway department will do the fishing pond in the spring, but Gully Road beaver ponds are loaded with them too.
  4. Scout field should be mowed at least once this year and then mowed in strips so that each strip gets mowed every three years or so. Would the highway or parks department do that?
  5. The field west of the transfer station also is in very bad need of mowing.
  6. Trail between Conservation Area and Baltimore Woods, Dunning Tract, Carpenter’s Brook and other places.
  7. A non-profit Conservation Area “Friends” organizations or  user’s group.