Forest Conservancy District Board
September 9, 2019 Meeting Minutes
Those Present: Tom Anderson, Dawne Howard, Claude Eans, Dave Barrow, Keith Schoonover, Lori Schoonover, Bruce Phillips, Bethany Dellegnello, Judy Thompson, Peter Thompson, Mike Kay, Members of the Frederick County Agricultural Preservation Board, Anne Bradley, Kai Hagan, Agricultural Preservation Board: Anne Bradley, Shannon O’Neil, Eric Troxell, Sam Tressler, Chairman, Dick Bittner, Vice Chairman, Andrew Toms, Paul Spurrier
Call to order: Keith called the meeting to order.
Visitors: We went around the room and introduced ourselves.
Agricultural Preservation Board: Anne Bradley, Frederick County Planning and Zoning Office mentioned that one of the mandates that came about with the Comprehensive Agricultural Commission Report in 2009 was that the Frederick County Agricultural Preservation Board should meet with their local Forestry Board at least once per year. Anne mentioned that 10 years after the fact she set up this meeting in the hope of establishing an annual meeting between the Boards. Anne presented a synopsis of some of the activities that the Board undertakes:
a. The Agricultural Preservation Boards were established in the 1970’s to preserve agricultural land. The Board looks to preserve farmland, forests, and stream corridor buffers using a variety of funding sources. The minimum size lot that they will consider is 50 acres.
b. There are typically many more applicants than available funds. Presently about 61,000 acres of easements have been established in Frederick County with the goal to preserve 100,000 acres.
c. The Agricultural Preservation Board are the stewards of the land preservation program. Some of their duties are to review new applications, inspect new sites, and inspect existing sites.
d. The Rural Legacy program is the main funding source for forest preservation.
e. Lands under agricultural easements receive a reduced property tax assessment by virtue of having this easement.
f. Ag easements can be developed for a number of Zoning Classifications except for those designations that target growth and land development such as R1 etc.
Treasurer’s Report: Claude mentioned that the Board had received $2,500 that is earmarked for MUCFC tree planting projects in Thurmont, Middletown, and Waterford Park. Claude submitted checks to all these applicants already. Claude also mentioned that he refunded the $125 Activity Fee to Emily Cook and Alex Demiray since they provided the Board with a write up about their experiences at the Natural Resources Career Camp. Finally Claude mentioned that we received $.24 interest for the month. Tom mentioned that he has been lobbying Frederick County officials to consider reinstating the $2,000 funding that we were appropriated in 1990 once it was mandated that those seeking timber permits in Resource Conservation Zones must submit a plan to the Forestry Board. Tom mentioned that Board members routinely inspect 30 sites per year; and, these inspections are saving Frederick County funds that might otherwise be spent to hire other personnel to conduct these inspections. Tom also mentioned that the DNR routinely charges $100 for Tax Inspections. So looking at this charge at 30 inspections per year the $2,000 appropriation seems like a bargain. Tom also mentioned that the Board spends $550 per student to attend NRCC camp and they routinely conduct educational workshops for county residents. All of these activities cost money and benefit the residents of our county.
Logging site exams: Mike overviewed a plan that was inspected in August for the Emmitsburg Watershed. Claude mentioned that he was part of the review team and that the plan and marking looked okay to him. Mike distributed copies of the plan and explained the nature of the harvest. It is a thinning operation that will require a stream crossing. Permit application has been made with the Maryland Department of the Environment for the stream crossing. After some discussion a motion was made for the Board to approve the plan, the motion was seconded and passed by those present.
Pamphlet: Mike distributed copies of the Forestry Board pamphlet for everyone to see and suggest changes, or additions. Bruce explained how the pamphlet committee (he, Dawne, Dave Hunter) developed the pamphlet and how they would like to develop a final copy then have it professionally printed on glossy paper. Bruce received a quote of $263 for 500 copies from Minute Man Press. The final cost would be dependent on a number of factors including paper type, size of paper, folding pamphlet etc. Some suggestions for possible changes were offered from members and guests at the meeting. Following these suggestions Bruce made a motion to give him permission to purchase 500 copies of this brochure using glossy, legal size paper once a final version has be developed. The motion was seconded and subsequently passed by those present. Additional suggestions for photographs were given including adding the soon to be taken group photo of Forestry Board members.
Downtown Tree Walk: Bethany mentioned that she has identified 30 trees for the walk that winds around the streets of Frederick City. Other than refining some GPS locations most of the work has been completed along with extensive write ups for the individual tree that can be accessed using a smartphone. Bethany mentioned that a good finishing touch would be to place noninvasive name tags on the individual trees so people can make sure they are at the correct tree. She located a company that can develop tree tags that have the common name, Genus species, and a QR code that accesses the write up. The cost of these tags is $6.50 apiece. Bethany made a motion that the Board fund the expenditure of $200 to purchase a supply of these name tags. The motion was seconded and passed by those present.
Workshop: Mike distributed copies of the agenda and flyer for the November 8, 2019 program. Along with the $500 donation from the Tree Farm program our boards are seeking a $600 grant for this program to pay Fox Haven for the room rental, speaker stipends, and refreshments. If we receive the grant most of the income from registration will go directly to the Washington and Frederick Boards. Mike also mentioned that so far registration has been slow. We need to step up our promotional efforts so that we have a full house.
Sustainability Commission: Tom mentioned that after 7 1/2 years his membership on the Commission has expired and we no longer have to include this in the minutes.
Nature Notes: Lori mentioned to our quests that she collects Nature Notes articles from various board members and other sources, edits them, and then sends them to Dave Barrow for inclusion on the Web Page. Dave in turn sends the articles to Sue Gwynn to be published in the Sunday edition of the Frederick News Post. Lori also mentioned that we have built up a sizable backlog of Nature Notes articles.
Web site: Dave mentioned that he has spent countless hours creating a whole new web page. This page has new formats so that it can be easily viewed on a number of electronic devices, smart phones, tablets, lap tops etc. Dave explained how he can further enhance the web page by subscribing to G Suite at $144/year. This subscription will make working on the webpage more streamlined and efficient for him. Dave made a motion that the Board allow him to purchase a 1 year subscription to G Suite at $144. The motion was seconded and passed by those present. Finally Dave said that Tom will assist with the web page and sub for Dave if Dave is out of town for an extended period etc.
Dave reminded folks to stay behind for a group photo.
We thanked the Ag Preservation Committee for joining us and made tentative plans to hold a joint meeting in 2020.