Conservation Commission Annual Report 2010
Litchfield is a great place to live, work and play. Thinking about our town’s future we ask, how would we like to see it grow by, say 2030? As a Commission, we promote the sustainable use of our natural resources through sound principles, so that future generations may enjoy the benefits of our wildlife, water and the land conservation. Over the past months, we’ve been working with Marcel Polak, from the Maine Association of Conservation Commissions, on ways in which we might continue this conversation with the community. Marcel’s time and expertise, paid for by a generous grant from the Duke Foundation, have helped the Commission think through some of the long-term goals we’d like to accomplish (e.g. more trails and conservation areas open for recreation). But to get there, we’re going to need everyone’s input. Associate member Delmar Small has created a “traveling road show” of maps and overlays which make for helpful conversation starters. We’re looking forward to sharing this work with all of you in the coming year.
We have begun a comprehensive mapping project of the town using ArcGIS, and to date have roads, water features, town-owned parcels, developed districts, historic and cultural sites, many trails, certain animal habitats, and soil types entered into software. We expect this tool to be very helpful in planning areas for conservation and producing trail maps.
Speakers have come to our meetings throughout the year to keep us up to date on environmental issues in our town and surrounding areas. Bruce Damon from the Stanton Bird Club provided an up-date of the proposed CMP corridor. Morte Mosswilde a District Forester, gave a talk about invasive forest species, Tamara Whitmore from Friends of Cobbossee Watershed gave us an up-date about the Tadpole Patrol. The town’s people were invited to hear a talk by LaMarr Clannon from Maine Nemo, about rural character and what Litchfield residents value. Pat Sirois from Four Towns Watershed Association addressed the commission about the milfoil problem on Pleasant Pond. They are hoping to purchase a DASH (diver assisted suction harvester) to help get control of the milfoil.
Trail Report: Our trail committee members maintain four walking trails of varied distances, lengths and terrain. During the winter months, we held four Full Moon snowshoe walks on different trails around town. These planned walks were very well-attended and helped make people aware of the trail locations and sparked interest in snowshoeing at night. In addition to the walks, we had hotdog roast over a half barrel that we hauled from site to site .Everyone seemed to enjoy standing around the fire meeting their neighbors and warming up with hot chocolate.
Forestry: Volunteers from the Litchfield Conservation Commission and Smithfield plantation have collaborated on the annual Forestry Day event at Smithfield Plantation. For 2010 teachers Carol Pelletier and Jackie Pettengill worked with volunteers to bring their students to Smithfield for the fourth event hosted on the site. Students have enjoyed presentations at this event on topics such as tree measurement and identification, forest products, wildlife habit, outdoor survival and vernal pool study. Presenters have volunteered from Maine Department on Island Fisheries & Wildlife, Maine Forest Service, Department of Environmental protection, Friends of Cobbossee Watershed and the private sector.
The Loon Committee kept watch over 5 loon nesting islands last summer and continues to collect data about the numbers of loons and chicks on the nesting sites in the Town of Litchfield.
The spring road side clean-up was held on May 8th and 9th.Thanks to Elaine Carpenter for the work you did getting this event organized We hope that we can keep our roadside clean so we will have a nicer view as we drive around our town.
The committee voted to have a scholarship fund of $300 for students wishing to go to a Conservation Camp. Jasmyne Thornton was our only applicant; she is going to Camp Chewonki in July.
The Conservation Commission has also made a contribution to The Tacoma Lakes Improvement Society to show our support of their efforts to try and keep the milfoil out of the Tacoma Lakes. Tacoma Lakes include Jimmy, Buker, Sand, Woodbury and Little Purgatory Ponds.
As you can see we represent a lot of different interests on this committee. We have 7 permanent members and up to 12 associate members. If you would like to help with some of these projects we have openings for some associate members. We are in the beginning stage of a plan to rehab the gravel pit areas behind the town office. If you are interested in joining the committee send a letter of interest to the Conservation Commission c/o the Town Office.
Terry Tracy chairman