Minutes - Conservation Committee

Conservation Committee Meeting Minutes

February 5, 2019

Attending: Carol Beidleman, Tom Bredenberg, Tom Brimacombe, Paul Butt, Mary Clark, Jim Daniel, John Parker, Elizabeth Maclaren (ECIA Board Liaison), Mark Young (representative of HOAMCO)

Resignation: Jerry Gulseth announced his resignation from the Conservation Committee (CC). This was accepted by the chair.

The meeting was called to order by chair Tom Bredenberg at 7:01.

Approval of agenda: motion by John Parker, second Paul Butt.

Appointment of recording secretary: Paul Butt volunteered to record minutes for the meeting.

January minutes: approved on motion of John Parker, Jim Daniel second.

Guests: John Reynolds

Report from the Board Liaison: Elizabeth Maclaren mentioned that Santa Fe County plans to construct Segment 5 of the Rail Trail (South of Ave. Eldorado to Spur Ranch Rd) this year.

         She also reported briefly on the 5-year plan brought forward by the ECIA Facilities & Grounds Committee (F&G). Tom Bredenberg stated that F&G appears to be taking interest and making plans for trails in the Eldorado greenbelts that are incompatible with the Conservation Committee's mission to preserve and protect the floodplain in the Eldorado subdivision. Jim Daniel stated that any proposal to create "improved" trails in the greenbelts, e.g., by laying down compacted base course, violates the existing standards for greenbelt trails established by the CC.

         These standards were previously submitted to Elizabeth, but have not yet been presented to the ECIA Board for approval. Elizabeth committed to doing so at the first opportunity. When approved, the standards will be posted to the ECIA website.

HOAMCO representative discussion items

Ecotone Letter of Engagement: Jan-Willem Jansens submitted a draft Scope of Work (SOW) and Letter of Engagement on January 16, 2019. The SOW includes work on the Trail 401 headcut between trail junctions 4A and 4D, and planning and oversight of implementation of a trail entrance/alignment on Vaquero Rd.

         Consensus of the Committee members was that the 401 SOW (priority 1) is acceptable as written. The Vaquero Rd SOW is not acceptable. Pending review by the Committee members, a request for the following changes will be presented to Jan-Willem on 2/14/19:

         Leave the 401 SOW as is.

         Remove the Vaquero Rd SOW. It is to be replaced by the Priority 3 project, below.

         Add the following projects:

         Priority 2: Site tour, planning and direction of work to create erosion control measures to stabilize active headcut and gully in the 404 trail "meadow" area (approx. 1 1/8 miles from TH400).

         Priority 3: Site tour, planning and direction of work to address problems in the braided trail areas of Trail 101- East (east of trail junction 1C and south to trail junction 1G).

         Priority 4: Additional site investigation, planning and direction of work on smaller projects as directed by the Conservation Committee.

         Once the revised draft SOW/Letter of Engagement has been received from Jan-Willem, the CC chair will make a final review and submit it for approval to the ECIA Board through Elizabeth Maclaren, Board Liaison.

         HOAMCO Project Manager Michael Bullock will be contacted for coordination and assistance when planning for implementation of project tasks includes HOAMCO maintenance crew time or will require outside contractors.


Signage Replacement and Installation: In a continuation of the discussion in the January meeting, Jim Daniel stated that new signs are needed for Trail 404 and will be needed for the "new" section of Trail 401, in addition to replacing faded or missing signs elsewhere in the Preserve. John Parker recommended using the existing graphics insofar as possible, to general agreement. Mark Young stated that he had a stack of CDs from the previous signage project, and agreed to find out what format the signage files are in. Both local and web-based printers will be contacted for pricing once Mark determines what condition the existing resources are in. Someone will need to create the additional graphics for Trail 404 and possibly Trail 401. There is $1,000 in the 2019 budget for signage.

Participation in Upcoming Events: The Eldorado Garden Fair (March 2), Earth Day (April 22) and Explora (summer 2019) events were briefly discussed. Tom Bredenberg stated that he would attend the Garden Fair, and requested that the Committee do some brainstorming to develop ideas for Committee participation in Explora. Consensus was that the Committee members would participate individually in Earth Day activities on their own initiative, rather than involving the Committee directly.

Library Trail completion: Paul Butt presented a plan for a pilot project to obtain survey services in the Los Alamos Park greenbelt for the Library trail, in the area adjacent to 11 and 12 Cuesta Lane, including the greenbelt access point on Cuesta Lane. He requested that the Committee follow up with a walk-through of the area to be surveyed by interested Committee members within a week or two after the survey has been completed, to identify any areas where the Library trail needs to be relocated, areas that need to be marked (with brush or other suitable materials) as "Not the Trail" and areas that will require remediation, such as re-seeding.

         There was consensus to proceed to with the pilot project as outlined, which requires survey of eight boundary markers. Paul will contact Mike Bullock and coordinate with Mike to move this project forward. Paul agreed to solicit three bids by phone. If an acceptable bid is received, it will be forwarded from the Committee chair through the Committee Liaison to the ECIA Board for approval. Once this has been done, the survey will be scheduled. An attempt will be made to schedule the survey in mid-March.

         If an acceptable bid is received and approved, Paul will coordinate with Mark Young to send a courtesy letter to the property owners, informing them that the greenbelt adjacent to their properties will be surveyed as part of a project to complete the Library trail in that area.

New Trail Procedures: A draft for New Trail Procedures has been written by John Parker. Carol led the first round of edits. Carol agreed to circulate the most recent draft for final input by Committee members, for action by the Committee in the March meeting. Once approved by the Committee, the procedures will be submitted for approval by the ECIA Board through the Committee Board Liaison.

Condition of trails in the Preserve: Tom Brimacombe reported that people are continuing to use the trails, despite muddy conditions, although signage and gates installed last year at Trailheads 2 and 3 seem to be reducing usage compared to previous years.   Currently, the Trailhead 4 parking lot is a quagmire, yet some people insist on using it.

New Business, Selection of Chair: Tom Bredenberg has completed his term as Committee Chair under the leadership plan currently being tested. There was some discussion and clarification of the intent of the Committee leadership plan. Paul outlined the terms of the plan put in place when Tom was elected Chair. Until modified by the Committee, there will be a chair and a vice-chair, with overlapping short terms of office (minimum of 90 days). The intent of having a vice-chair is to have someone to help take care of Committee business as delegated by the chair, in order to prevent the chair's workload from being burdensome. The intent of having short terms of service is to prevent "burn-out." The intent of having overlapping terms of office by the chair and vice-chair is to provide continuity in the planning and direction of Committee projects.

       John Parker was nominated as the Chair for the next 90 days by Tom Brimacombe. Jim Daniel seconded the motion and the motion was approved unanimously.

New Business, Committee member call for volunteers: There was brief discussion of the impact of recent resignations (three in three months) on Committee membership. Carol agreed to write a brief article for the Vistas, announcing a call for volunteers to serve on the Conservation Committee.

Open Forum: John Reynolds expressed his perspective of the F&G draft five-year plan, and stated that, in his opinion, greenbelt trails should be maintained by HOAMCO staff, as are the paved hike & bike trails.