Back to Weir River Estuary Park Committee Meeting Minutes
Weir River Estuary Park Committee March 22, 2011
In attendance: Dick Avery, Faith Burbank, Judeth Van Hamm, Amy May, Charlie Higginson, Scott Plympton (Scribe), Charlie Berry (Hingham Cons Com), Patti Coyle (Bare Cove Park), Jason Burtner (MA CZM), Liz Sorenson (DCR ACEC), Ken Corsin (Hingham Harbor Master), Alan Perault (Hingham Harbor Devel Com).
• To get advice on a Resource Management Plan (RMP) for the WREP. To get a sense of scale on the efforts ahead.
• To detail our issues, concerns, and discuss our next steps.
Why are we doing an RMP?
• The WREP has made great progress in many directions.
• The Land Protection Plan has provided us with a resource inventory and guides us in land acquisition around the estuary. The LPP notes that we now need a way to manage this resource.
• It may be required for our efforts to define an entity (the park) and all that goes with the management of a park.
• It may be used to coordinate with all neighboring organizations.
• As a tri-town effort, it may be needed to bring it all together.
Round table on Issues
These minutes may differ from Dick Avery's list captured the issues on a whiteboard and may be modified later.
• Harbormaster Ken recommends we collaborate with Bare Cove in our efforts. He sees moorings, floats and piers within the estuary as an issue and would look to the RMP for guidance and the definition of restrictions for enforcement.
• Judith was concerned about bypassing zoning issues in Hull and the ability to use underwater square footage as a measure to increase a home's lot size.
• Too much noise from recreational use
• Diminished shellfish, fin fish and eel spawning migration
• Estuary shoreline erosion from boat wakes
• Invasive plants (pepper weed, knot weed, phragmites, and loosestrife)
• Water quality (on 303d list)
o Significant improvements in quality through sewers and new Tidal Gate at Straits pond
• Storm water runoff
• Trash and debris from ocean storm spillovers.
o Coordination of volunteer cleanups
• Marsh Migration, Sea Level Rise (SLR), and coastal resource impact
o See Coastal Climate Change Atlas (using Biomap 2 requires knowledgeable GIS use)
• Public Access
o If it is not spoken, it is prohibited
o Docks and piers are prohibited, but there is a process to for approval if we want it
o Public access (i.e. kayaks) is allowed and supported in ACEC.
o Grants may exist
• Land development. Public and private boundaries
• Sediment and potential issues from Foundry Pond Dam removal
o Jason notes we have course grain sand, not fine grain. There would be no significant sediment problem.
o Contact Beth Lambert (waterways)
• There is no formal regulating or overseeing entity
Prioritization of issues:
• Land protection tops the list
• Park / entity recognition and stewardship of the resource
• Public education and awareness programs
• An ACEC Forum. Speakers / topics / field trips / boat tours
• A celebration of success for the past 10 years of our efforts
• The WREP committee has been reviewing information on RMP's from the DCR
• Liz provided a number of samples of RMPs including several guidelines:
o Policy Guidelines for Review and Approval of ACEC Resource Management Plans
o Outline for an ACEC RMP Scoping Process
o ACEC Resource Management Plan Guidelines
RMP Summarization / Advice
• The RMP could become our guide for the next 10 years.
• Don't do an RMP only to have it sit on a shelf.
• An RMP is only as good as its implementation.
• Only 2 RMP's have been approved by the state. It requires town selectman approval and on up to the state DCR.
• An RMP is a major undertaking. At least comparable to an Open Space Plan. Pleasant Bay's RMP was 100's of workshops, forums, and major grants to prepare. They organized for the issues of docks, dredging, and for guidance.
• Consider an intern. Tufts and UMass have graduate internship programs.
• An RMP is used for regulation. It flushes out the issues. It sets the zoning bylaws and regulations for the towns. The scope and scale of the issues sets the tone for the RMP.
• It's a framework to keep working.
• Don't reinvent the wheel. We can build on what we have already (i.e. the LPP).
• We should compare and contrast our achievements over the last 10 years. 10 years in review as a slideshow. We have some big-ticket success stories (land acquisition, wetlands restoration and water quality improvement with the new tidal gate).
• Never under estimate the power of the press
April 27 at the Estuary Center in Hull.