Craftsbury Conservation Commission…promoting environmental stewardship throughout our town

The major goal of the Conservation Commission is to encourage responsibility for the stewardship of Craftsbury’s natural and cultural resources.

The Selectboard has appointed the following residents to serve on the Craftsbury Conservation Commission:

  • Joe Houston, Chair; June Cook, Secretary; Farley Brown, Diane Morgan, Elinor Osborn, Steve Wright, Carol Maroni, Emily Diaz, and John Brodhead.  Susie Houston (Select Board Liaison).
  • Contact Persons: Joe Houston (586-2536), Farley Brown (586-9973) or Diane Morgan (586-9697)


Regular Meetings of CCC

4th Monday of each month at 7 pm in the Town Hall


Specific Tasks of the CCC

  • Assist the Selectboard and planning commission with natural resource issues
  • Make an inventory of the town's natural, historic, and cultural resources
  • Encourage the public's understanding of local natural resources
  • Oversee the Conservation Fund


Current Natural Heritage Information

  • 3 Town Forests (Coburn Hill Town Forest Inventory)
  • Craftsbury Academy woodlot
  • Inventory of Trees around the Common
  • Evaluation of Groundwater Resources
  • Black River Stabilization Project


Craftsbury Town Plan

See the Natural Heritage section of the Town Plan pages 14-19 and Appendix A, pages 92-96.  

 

Background: The History

In 1977, Vermont passed the enabling legislation (24 V.S.A. Chapter 118) to establish municipal conservation commissions. The major goal of a conservation commission is to establish community responsibility or stewardship for its natural and cultural resources. There are now 94 conservation commissions statewide. A commission is comprised of three to nine members who are appointed by the Selectboard. Each commission tailors its projects to the specific needs and interests of its town. A conservation commission can assist the Selectboard and planning commission with natural resource issues; make an inventory of the town's natural, historic, and cultural resources; receive gifts of land for conservation purposes; and encourage the public's understanding of local natural resources. A conservation commission empowers people to take responsibility for their town's natural and cultural resources.

At the 2007 Craftsbury Town Meeting, Craftsbury residents voted to establish a Craftsbury Conservation Commission. The proposal for a conservation commission came to the town after a subcommittee appointed by the Craftsbury Selectboard researched how useful the commission would be. Such a commission would help to meet the goals and objectives of the natural heritage section in the Town Plan.

The Conservation Fund

Established in 2017, the Conservation Fund is money set aside for the use of conservation related projects in the Town of Craftsbury. It allows the Town to collaborate with willing property owners, non-profits, and community volunteer groups to protect important local natural and agricultural resources. The Fund was created because in a growing town like ours, conservation opportunities can arise at any time and disappear just as quickly. It’s often hard, if not impossible, for a town to budget or respond in time to gain from those opportunities. Craftsbury’s fund would enable the Conservation Commission, Select Board and the public to review and act on conservation opportunities before they are lost. By doing so, it expands landowner options for directing the future of their property.

The Conservation Fund can receive money from donations, outside gifts, grants, and/or money appropriated by the Town of Craftsbury.  A primary requirement for the expenditure of moneys from the Conservation Fund is that such expenditure must yield a clear benefit to the Town and must result from a voluntary agreement between the Town or a land trust and the owner. In addition the Conservation Fund facilitates the conservation vision for Craftsbury as articulated in the Town Plan.

Ultimate responsibility for the disposition of moneys from the Conservation Fund rests with the Craftsbury Select Board. The Craftsbury Conservation Commission will evaluate requests and make written recommendations to the Select Board.

A major benefit of this Conservation Fund is that it will help attract additional funds for conservation projects because many state, federal and private sources of conservation funding require community support. The Conservation Fund positions our town to consider these opportunities and, if they are deemed worthy, to support and act on them for the benefit of current and future generations, often by attracting additional funds.

Non-native Invasive Plants

The Craftsbury Conservation Commission supports the control of invasive plant species throughout the town. The commission has held workshops on identification as well as removal techniques for various species. The commission has also provided a ‘field guide to invasive plants’ for the Craftsbury Road Crew.

Any questions you may have regarding non-native invasive plant species can be directed to commission member, Elinor Osborn at elinor91@me.com  Also, to assist private landowners and others, the Craftsbury Conservation Commission has weed wrenches available for loan.  These wrenches are useful when eradicating woody plants such as buckthorn, honeysuckle, barberry and burning bush. These tools are stored at the Craftsbury Town Hall and can be borrowed for a limited time. The following are the terms of agreement and a form, available from the Town Clerk, must be signed before borrowing the tools.

Invasive Plant Removal Tool Agreement

Terms of Agreement:

  • The borrower is responsible for returning the equipment in the same condition it was in when borrowed.
  • If the equipment is lost or damaged, the borrower is responsible for the cost of repair or replacement of equipment.
  • The borrower is responsible for returning the equipment by the time agreed.
  • The borrower assumes all risks and damage to persons or property caused by the use of the borrowed equipment.

Links to Other Natural Resource Websites

Helpful Invasive Species Links