The meeting started at 7:11 p.m.
Commission members present : Fred Stocking (chair), Nancy Pochan, Raymonde Dumont (secretary)
Others Attending : Ken Smith, Carol Korty, Michael Garrett, Donna Theall.
Minutes of the Previous Meeting : The minutes of May 14, 2003 were reviewed and approved by a vote of 3-0.
Presentation by Barb Welch of the Frenchman Bay Conservancy:
1. GIS maps: Barb Welch shared her knowledge of how to use data on buildings,
habitats, wetlands, important plant and animal species, land use etc…
as on overlay on the tax maps. Such overlay makes the application of the data
more practical, both for development and for conservation purposes. This requires
time, and knowledge on how to link GIS data (such as that available at the GIS
lab at COA) with tax map data. The Lamoine assessor’s data and parcel
map data exist (in Excel spreadsheet format?) at COA, but the correct linking
with GIS information may involve a charge. Barb agreed to research whether there
is existing grant funding available for this task.
Barb also discussed the use other towns have made of such data. Mostly this is limited to occasions when consultation is obtained, e.g. from the Hancock County Planning Commission. However, in Surry members of the Conservation have made direct use of GIS data and maps by acquiring the necessary knowledge – as Susan Wuorinen is doing in Lamoine. The cost of the program Arc View is significant ($1500), though Arc Explorer, an earlier version, permits viewing of data but not addition or updating of information. COA offers training in the use of Arc View, but training in how to use this information may be more critical.
The additional point was made that the usefulness of the GIS maps is limited by the precision of the available information, such as State data on wetlands, habitats, soils, aquifers, watershed. It is further limited by the accuracy, and entry of the official (paper) tax map on the spreadsheet.
Examples were discussed of some uses of these maps: locating natural resources, open space, land used for tree-growth, land-owners’ information such as determining proportion of out-of-state (summer) owners.
2. Approaches to conservation efforts : Barb pointed out errors to avoid, and
emphasized that any project which BEGINS with a vision of a desirable area for
conservation should begin with discussions with the landowner, and identify
the owners’ interest in preserving features of their land, to what goal,
by what means, with what needs of their own, and which constraints (financial,
family, future generations, etc). Thereafter, reasonable options will be more
apparent. These include the purchasing of an option to buy property (while fundraising
efforts get underway). The landowner may elect to donate or sell a conservation
easement (either to the Town, or to an organization such as the Frenchman Bay
Conservancy). An easement might be intended as a tax shelter, or to preserve
timber harvest or farm use, or to limit new construction to certain locations,
or to regulate surface alteration, and so on. Once a specific outline of an
easement has been negotiated, an appraisal is made of the decrease in land value
that would result, in order to reconcile the needs of the owner with those of
the funding source. The funding source may be interested in assets such as vista,
habitat, valuable plant or animal species, continued open land continued farming
Lands for Maine’s Future currently has funding left available for projects involving water access for the general public. In addition, LMF has categories of funding for places of local and regional significance. The Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund (lottery proceeds) may also be available to purchase land, if the State is willing to incur maintenance costs. If a particular conservation project were to involve multiple parcels with different owners, it would be important to research and present the case that these form a cohesive habitat when joined. Public funding must be greatly augmented by private donations, and a fundraising consultant is then required.
Parks Ordinance : Fred distributed another draft for review at the next LCC meeting.
Concerns of those attending: Carol Korty offered to attend a presentation by hydrogeologist Peter Garrett about work at the Cold Spring Water Company. She will discuss with him when funding would be required for a consultation to the LCC on Lamoine’s water situation. Rae reported that the Maine Community Foundation will not be able to fund a consultation by Mr. Garrett, but that they had pointed to other options, about which an answer is still pending.
Commission membership: Pat Wallace resigned from the LCC, and Donna Theall applied for the open position.
Future LCC meetings will be held on July 9 and August 13.
The meeting adjourned at 9:12 p.m.
Lamoine Conservation Commission