To:  Conservation Commission Members           cc: Selectboard and Public Notice


From:  Larry T. Spencer, Chair


Minutes of the Commission Meeting held 18 March 2004 at19:00 in the Town Hall (Note the change in the meeting day. This was done to avoid conflict with the Town School Meeting)


Date:  5 April 2004


Agenda Items

  1. Approval of February meeting minutes—approved as distributed
  2. Chair welcomed Paul Weston and Sam Laverack to the meeting.  Sam will be the Selectboard contact for the commission, as Barbara will be the contact for the Planning Board. Chair and commission noted to Paul and Sam as to how helpful Barbara had been while serving as the contact.
  3. What’s next with respect to the Pemi Fish and Game gravel pit project?

The commission went over the questions asked in the Selectmen’s memo of 1 March 2004.  These questions were:

      1. Please explain your concern about the effects of aerosols from the gravel excavation. Answer:  In excavating the materials there may be harmful substances in the dust associated with the digging and the crushing of the materials. Airbone mateials can cause significant health hazards, e.g., lead from lead fuel, salt from road salt, and just plain dust (silicosis in the lungs of miners, etc.). Therefore composition of the dust is important and questions as to how far it might travel also. Paul also noted conversations with Barbara Dorfschmidt at the Air Bureau.  No permit required unless permanent crusher ( 150 tons/hour) was being used. Paul noted that tonnage at this cite would be very small at any one time.
      2. What information do you seek by requesting a written analysis of the materials to be excavated?  What type of analysis do you suggest, and why? Answer:  What materials are associated with the sands and gravels? For example, what are the lead levels in the materials? There are some tests that can be run at low cost to determine these features. The adjaceny of the area to the firing range may indicate materials from the firing range getting into the gravel pit area, particularly lead from the lead shot. Could that material get into the water table more rapidly because of the exposed gravel surface at the working pit?
      3. What permit are you referring to when you state “Reclamation of previously excavated areas has not been done although required by the permit.” Which permit do you reference here requiring reclamation. Answer:  Permit of 2001 for gun range specified reclamation. Site specific permit of 1996 for excavation to expand range required all top soil to be saved and spread on slope and seeded. Previous excavations of materials on the Pemi Fish and Game club have not been fully reclaimed.
      4. We are sensitive to your request, but must understand the need to spend time and money responding to your questions and concerns. Response: How much of a hurry is the town in to begin using materials from the Pemi Fish and Game Club.  Has the town done a cost/benefit analysis of using materials from the Club as compared to obtaining a long term contract with material suppliers such as Campton, Sand and Gravel? Why does the town need its own gravel permit?


The commission members, Sam Laverack, and Paul Weston then discussed more fully the above issues and looked at visual materials supplied by Paul and the Chair (GIS map of wetland, aerial photo of property, engineering map of proposed gravel pit with noted phases. Paul provided memo from DES (Josselyn Degler) and from engineer (Sweeny) as to whether a wetlands permit should be required. DES memo indicated that they would abide by whatever decision the local commission made as to a permit. Engineer indicated in his memo no major environmental concerns. Map and photo analysis seemed to indicate that the gravel pit site was more than 150 from wetland.  Group still agreed that a site visit would be extremely helpful. Discussion also centered of question of the elevations of the wetland and the proposed gravel pit. There did seem to be an elevation difference between the wetland and the pit, but according to the map and photo there is a “bunker” like region between the two.  Paul mentioned that loam and duff will be reclaimed, only one area will be opened at a time (about one acre at a time). There will be three phases. Previous phase will be reclaimed prior to initiation of next phase. That site specific approval was done on 13 March 2003, but would be meeting with the ZBA on the 13th of April to gain approval. Another question came up about wildlife corridors. Chair indicated that since there were no “physical barriers” such as roads or fences, animals could move to either side of gravel pit.


After more discussion four items were agreed upon.

  1. The town should test for lead in the soil in the proposed pit area (Note:  We would like to have a commission member present when those soil samples are collected)
  2. Town should attempt to minimize the exposed area of sand and gravel at any one time and either temporarily reclaim or permanently reclaim if at the end of phase as stated in site specific approval.
  3. The town should use best practices to minimize aerial dust when the portable crusher is working and to also minimize the possibilities of fuel and oil spills.
  4. After first season of excavations and processing, an environmental assessment will be made jointly by the commission and the selectboard so as to insure that no major environmental degradation is occurring to the site or to the adjacent wetland.

Other items that came out of this discussion included:

  1. Select board should require Pemi Fish and Game to follow through with required reclamation of range pit with top soil and re-vegetation with native plants.
  2. Town really needs to have someone on staff trained in how to use the GIS system purchased for the town tax map.  Chair noted that the ARC View GIS system is a important tool in managing town matters (zoning, wetlands, roads, etc.) and that the town is wasting money unless they take full advantage of what they have purchased. One thought was to have the chair provide a hands on demo for the selectboard in the near future.
  3. Selectboard and Town Administrator should work very closely with “Road Agent” to see that he and town workers minimized the amount of sand and salt being spread on town roads. It was noted that public saftety needs to be keep in mind, but at the same time, too much salt and sand can have detrimental affects on the local environment.
  4. Excavation at the pit on 175 N should be investigated by the Town Compliance officer. Most of the pit is in Campton, but the southern boundary is in Holderness. That wall has not be contoured or re-vegetated.


The Commission then continued with the other items on the agenda


  1. Conversation with Bob Snelling about the Squam Lakes Watershed Comprehensive Mapping Project. Bob couldn’t be at our meeting, but he supplied the chair with a map set from southern NH.  The maps were co-occurrence maps and could prove quite useful not only to the conservation commission, but also to the master plan committee.  All maps were examined and discussed.
  2. Reports on meetings and committees
    1. Joint meeting of Selectmen, Planning Board, ZBA, etc. on “buildout”—Chair discussed briefly what happened at that meeting.  The maps supplied by Bob Snelling were related to this meeting.
  3. Permits and other matters (TBD—to be determined by visit to mail box)
    1. EPA will now require permits for areas of 1 acre or larger.
    2. Nesheim request for Little Squam Project was granted by DES.
  4. Matters from the last meeting
    1. Open house on March 13th—Cancelled because of lack of snow and death of selectman.
    2. Meeting with land owners about trail from Central School to Town Forest—Jacque has arranged for the 14th at the Central School at 7pm.  She will contact the property owners and will run the session.
    3. Possible trail work by Holderness School students—Reggie and I will try to find some time before summer comes to make a site visit so a list can be made of possible work projects.
    4. Discussion of Standard dredge and fill permit from the State of NH for the Holderness Plymouth bridge.  Commission examined the maps supplied by the DOT. Paul will contact DOT about Holderness side underpass.
  5. Winter-Spring schedule of meetings, events and jobs:
    1. PSU Work Day—24 April—Possible work includes:  Pick up at Pemi Park and movement of picnic table to bluff, pick up at Livermore Falls, and trail work on the Pilote Property.  Chair will make arrangements with PSU.
    2. Next meeting—21 April
  6. Other Business
    1. Paul mentioned conversation with Wayne Verril of DOT.  Runoff across from the Post office drainage is running into septic system of adjacent home.  Needs to be bermed to prevent backup of septic system.
    2. E-mail from Earl as to towns that had voted funds for property purchases. Some towns, particularly those in the southern part of the state are doing much better than we in provided funding for conservation land purchases.
    3. New members—Paul will call Sandra Jones to see if she is interested in joining the commission.  Lynn indicated via e-mail that due to other duties she doesn’t have time to be a faithful member of the commission and therefore has resigned.



CC members in attendance



Reggie, Anne, Jacque, myself  + Paul Weston and Sam Laverack.


2003 Holderness Conservation Commission Members:  Reggie Pettit, Lynn Morrison, Anne Packard, Jacque Jewell, Larry Spencer, Chair