10/15/07 Meeting Minutes, Kip Kolesinskas on Soils

LOWER FARMINGTON AND SALMON BROOK

WILD AND SCENIC STUDY COMMITTEE MINUTES

Meeting: October 15, 2007

Canton Community Center

MEETING CALLED TO ORDER by Chairwoman Sally Rieger at 7:04

MEMBERS PRESENT:
Sally Rieger, Simsbury; Betsy Conger, Windsor; Jamie Fosburgh, NPS; Lawrence Schlegal, Farmington; Walter Sargent, Farmington; Sarah B. Hincks, FRWA; Sue Murray, Hartland; Paula Jones, Bloomfield; Kevin Gough, Bloomfield; Carolyn Flint, Granby; Joyce Kennedy Raymes, Community Planner; Eric Hammerling, FRWA; Ian Clark, East Granby; Kurt Link, Stanley Works; Sally Snyder, DEP; Paul Rocheford, Burlington; Mike Krammen, East Granby; Diane Field, Avon; Harry Spring, Avon

MINUTES: SEPTEMBER 10:

September 10, 2007 minutes approved as amended. Amendments on Page 2, Para. 2, line ten “…four endangered list species…” changed to “…four listed species and one endangered, the dwarf wedge mussel…”. and Para. 4 “The Farmington/Salmon Brook shows “biodiversity” changed to “mussel diversity” equivalent …”


REMINDER: If you have not already done so, please put together a one or two paragraph biog for Outreach & Education’s newsletter introducing committee members and send it to Paul Rocheford, uefa@comcast.net also, come to the meeting on the 19th prepared for a photo shoot (not that anybody needs to look any different than usual)

NEW BUSINESS

*GUEST SPEAKER

KIP KOLESINSKAS
Chairwoman Sally Rieger introduced the evening’s speaker, Mr. Kip Kolesinskas who is the State Soil Scientist for Connecticut and Rhode Island, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Kip received his B.S. in Soil Science from Cornell University and completed additional coursework at Texas A & M and Schumacher College. Kip has thirty years of professional experience in a number of Soil Scientist positions in New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. In addition to State Soil Scientist responsibilities, he is also Program Manager for the Federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) and the Grasslands Reserve Program (GRP). He is a recognized regional and national speaker on soils and land use planning, wetlands and farmland protection. Additionally, Kip did a lot of work in developing the Simsbury Land Trust’s conservation easement for Rosedale Farm.

Kip’s opening remark “It’s all about the soil” launched an information laden talk.

The Lower Farmington/Salmon Brook area has the highest soil diversity in the state and Connecticut, because of its geologic/glaciation history has one of the most complex soils systems in the United States. Everything we know of the biodiversity and complex habitats has to do with the soils complexity of the region. Because this area exists essentially at the junction of Connecticut’s Western Highlands and Central Lowlands

The study area consists of acidic soils composed of ground up granites, gneisses and schists and less acidic clays, silts and sands in the Central Lowlands modified by the presence of ancient Lake Hitchcock which was created by damming of the glacial melt water in the area of Rocky Hill and Glastonbury. There are over 200 different soil types in Connecticut of which 50 percent of the soil types are represented in the Farmington River Valley. Along the margins of the Eastern and Western Highlands, deltas of sand and gravel were formed. When Lake Hitchcock broke through and drained to the south, winds worked to resort the vast central valley plains creating deposits of silt and loess. All of this resulted in unique landscapes coming together within the study area.

Soil patterns dictated the early land uses and land cover. To the west, shallow soils on upland rocky substrates were not conducive to agriculture. However, to the East in the Farmington and Connecticut Valleys glacial and alluvial (water borne) soils accumulated and agriculture has been a dominant land use for over a thousand years.

Glacial till has been smeared over the entire Connecticut landscape, in some cases amounting to a thin veneer over bedrock, in other cases huge deposits of stratified drift several hundred feet deep make up important aquifers particularly along the West face of Talcott Ridge. Surficial geology includes glacial features such as kame terraces, isolated kames, drumlins, eskers and kettle holes. In Bloomfield, Windsor and Suffield when the southerly moraine dammed waters in Farmington Valley broke through to the central valley at Tarrifville, deltas of sand, silts and gravel were deposited as current agricultural soils. Wind carried, sorted and deposited sand dunes. Wind and water deposited layers of silts and clays. The relatively impermeable silts and clays form the wetlands soils we have today. An unusual feature found frequently in Bloomfield, Windsor, and Suffield are the Pingos. Freeze/thaw cycles (permafrost remnant) develop frost heaves under layers of silts and clays which, while elevated, accumulate deposits around them and then collapse, leaving depressions without inlets or outlets. Pingos may represent areas of increased biological diversity in the form of vernal pools, and others hold water year-round. Farmers have often tried to drain these features.

Kip presented a soils map in high resolution polygons illustrating the great complexity of the soils of the area

Connecticut soils are relatively well known. This state is in its 4th generation of soil survey. One the first in the US was done in 1899 in relation to tobacco cultivation here. A discussion of survey methodology followed.

Because of the sandy/gravely characteristics of soils in many parts of the study area and shallow depth to water table, groundwater supplies are very accessible but also very susceptible to damage.

The higher, drier floodplain soils are very suitable for agriculture.

In Simsbury, Granby, E. Granby, greater slope uplands provide good forest soils with strong potential for growing large tree biomass in short periods of time.

Connecticut agriculture is NOT a dying culture. One challenge is to protect the land base to provide options for getting locally produced food.

It is said that Connecticut agriculture kept revolutionary soldiers fed.

Early colonists found the valleys had an extensive history of agriculture.

The cost of energy for transportation is making the economics of locally grown food more and more attractive along with the value placed on freshness and contributions to local economy.

Farm friendly municipal regulations are needed.

Corporate agriculture has a recent history of converting lands to housing developments while a number of family farms attempt to hand the farm enterprise down through generations.

State Forest, watershed lands and agricultural lands need to be maintained. Much of the change in wetlands systems and agricultural soils is produced as “death of a thousand cuts”. The additive effect of small changes accumulating over time can have drastic effects on hydrology, water quality and erosion. Susceptibility of soils to erosion increases with increased runoff volume and velocity

The trap rock ridges are the result of three distinct superimposed lava flows. Talcott (Avon) Mountain is a fault scarp resulting from a series of movements along a north-south fault line with up thrust movement on the eastern side and down thrusting on the western side of the fault. The exposed trap rock faces along the fault were subjected to weathering and the wedgework of ice which results from the penetration of water into joints (cracks in the trap rock formed as the parent lava cooled), the subsequent freezing and expansion of that water prying the rock apart loosening it to produce the common springtime rockslides of New England that produce our talus (loose rock) slopes.

A question was raised about soil depletion and soil contamination by herbicides, etc. in agricultural soils. There is a higher risk of pesticide/fertilizer contamination in suburban soils than in most agricultural lands.

SUBCOMMITEE REPORTS:

MANAGEMENT AND PROTECTION:

Paula reported that most member towns had submitted copies of their current Wetlands Regulations and the committee will be evaluating them for a number of factors.

Eric Lukingbeal has met with DEP Bureau of. Water Management, Planning & Standards Division to discuss water quality. He has filed an excellent preliminary report dated September 27, 2007 and will review DEP’s monitoring data for both Salmon Brook and the Lower Farmington.

ORV

Larry reported that the committee is considering additional ORVs. The next meeting will be at 6 pm at the Canton Community Center on October 30. It will be a “marathon” meeting. All General Committee members are invited to attend, especially those members who do not have a town delegate on the ORV Subcommittee.

Status of economic study: Eric reported that we are still waiting a response from CCSU Institute.

There was considerable discussion of Kevin’s Heat Map and how to derive a balance of regional as opposed to unique smaller area ORVs. The committee is seeking to determine what makes sense in presentation. Does lumping a number of items into a few broad categories make better sense than splitting into a large number of smaller items? This will be the focus of the October 30th meeting.

A strong point made regarding the Wild & Scenic visual character of the river as opposed to the smaller details. That fact should not get lost in the details.

Sally reported on the press conference with John Larson at Holcomb Farm who spoke very favorably about the Wild & Scenic Study and is taking a leadership role in Climatic Change issues.

OUTREACH & EDUCATION:

As pointed out in the reminder, the committee is planning a mailer which will introduce committee members with both a photograph and a bio. Paul is the collector of bios so please send.

There will be a photo session next meeting.

The committee is also looking for individuals who are willing to write up summaries of our previous speakers’ presentations for publication in subsequent issues.

The committee has already sent out an introductory letter to riparian landowners.

OTHER SUBJECTS:

Jamie pointed out that the characterization of ORVs should be carried over into PROTECTION AND MANAGEMENT, for example, protection of archaeological sites, historical and agricultural areas.

Jamie also noted the importance of documenting all public outreach education efforts and events including a catalog of attendees.

A question was also raised as to what sorts of Management Tools will we have?

Another question was whether one particular ORV needs to touch upon all towns and the answer was that no – ORV’s can have breaking points within the W&S study area.

Eric raised the question of future meeting topics. Proposed topics were Birds, Wildlife, Forest Types and General Botany, Cultural, (pre-Columbian, Colonial, pre-industrial), Hydrology and Geology. There being no objection to any of the possible topics consensus approval is assumed. We will work on getting speakers.

Discussion of Video recordings of future talks to add to the audio recordings we already have. General consensus was yes. Will attempt to arrange this for our next meeting.

ADDITIONAL NEW BUSINESS– none

Motion to adjourn was duly made, seconded and carried at 9:03

NEXT MEETING: November 19, 2007

Respectfully Submitted,

Harry Spring

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