Minutes - Conservation Committee

Conservation Committee Meeting Minutes

January 8, 2019

Attending:  Carol Beidleman (recording secretary), Tom Bredenberg (Chair), Tom Brimacombe, Mike Bullock (representative of HOAMCO), Mary Clark, Jim Daniel, John Parker, Elizabeth Maclaren (ECIA Board Liaison)  

The meeting was called to order by Chair Tom Bredenberg at 7:05 p.m.

Approval of agenda:  There was a motion and second for approval, after modified by Tom Bredenberg following discussion.

Appointment of recording secretary:  Carol Beidleman volunteered to record minutes for the meeting.

December minutes:  Approved on motion of John Parker, Jim Daniel second.

Excused absences:  Paul Butt, Jerry Gulseth 

Guests:  Jan-Willem Jansens, Justin Poehnelt, Betsy Walker

Report from the Board Liaison:

Elizabeth Maclaren asked the committee if there were any comments on the Committee Rules and Responsibilities document from the ECIA Board, which the Chair emailed to the Committee on Jan. 3 for review and discussion at this meeting.  Elizabeth introduced the document as a rewrite.  Carol Beidleman brought up several points, including appreciating the need to “coordinate the committee’s work with that of other Committees” (to be done via Elizabeth).  This was echoed by Thomas Bredenberg regarding the Information Committee Vista article on the 404, and Mary Clark stated she has reached out to the Stable Committee regarding trail conditions in the 101-105.  Some concern was expressed about the requirement for joining a committee to include submission in writing with a “statement of qualifications” and signing of the Charter and Roles and Responsibilities documents.  This seems off-putting and unnecessarily restrictive, given that committee members are volunteers and may come from different backgrounds but have interest and ability to contribute, so we felt a one paragraph bio would be sufficient.  There was some discussion about the perceived overly negative and legal tone of the civil conduct text; positive language might be more effective and better enhance cooperation.  Regarding providing an Open Forum, this committee welcomes guests and has not experienced a need to formalize or constrain such engagement.  The Chair will take these concerns back to the Board.

Elizabeth mentioned the upcoming meeting at ECIA on January 17th about fire preparedness.        

HOAMCO representative:

Mike Bullock introduced himself and explained his role as ECIA’s new Project Manager, to gather information and provide it to us and assist us with making good decisions.  The Chair said that both the proposed Trail 401 trail gully repair and the mitigation of horse damage at Trails 101-105 would require heavy equipment, and asked if the equipment HOAMCO has would be sufficient.  Mike said they have several current projects using heavy equipment (pool and dog park) and a contractor who does the work, so Mike just has to look at the scope of work and then can put numbers on it and make a decision, and will provide resources.  Mike has a Kubota and Skid Steer; his contractor ran a C900 with a monster backhoe.  Asked about doing projects on weekends and issues about paying overtime, Mike said he can find ways to make it work and can get contractors from outside Santa Fe, but needs more information.  Mike will work with the Chair on this. 

Jan-Willem Jansens mentioned his work will require a small backhoe or bobcat, which he will need to supervise and have done to our specs.  Regarding the Trail 101-105 work, Jan-Willem will need equipment in some places, but first needs to come up with the design and then determine the order and timeline of work so he can make a plan.  Mike said he just needs a scope of work, conversation, and couple of pictures.  Jan-Willem emphasized that all proposed structures are already described in [trail maintenance] booklets.  The Chair asked if a new contract with Ecotone would be required, and Mike said that if we are providing Jan-Willem with compensation he would need to do a vendor packet with business license, W-9, liability insurance, etc.  The Chair complimented Mark Young’s effort a couple weeks ago on Estambre, where someone was accessing greenbelt on private property; Mark located proper access and put up signage. 

Greenbelts: Library Trail completion, status of surveying project, RFP and contract status

Paul Butt sent an email to the Chair that no proposals were received by the deadline of December 21 for the Surveying Services RFP, to locate and mark all lot boundaries for properties adjacent to the Library Trail and the connecting greenbelt access points.  Asked about switching to an informal bid, Mike said as long as the RFP effort was documented, we can proceed without ECIA Board approval and can get bids over the phone.  Mike said it was a difficult labor market, and HOAMCO just wants to see a responsible attempt, that we’re doing due diligence, have some justification that the price is reasonable, some guarantee on the work, and an idea of how well the contractor would perform.  It was felt that the RFP was very thorough, comparable to a price agreement in government, and John Parker thinks we need to do more of an individual contract for the Library Trail.  Mike basically wants the framework–a goal and series of bullet points about want you want to get done, not making it too difficult.  If it is over $5,000, we’ll need three bids, and have a reason why we didn’t get three bids.  John Parker suggested we wait until Paul Butt gets back to make any calls.  Mike can first go over it with him and give comments, then will make sure it gets through HOAMCO.  Mike said we should have something in there to protect the community if the contractor is not doing what he is supposed to do, and have points of performance that need to be accomplished, to protect the ECIA and their funds.    


Preserve projects:

Ecotone proposals, billing, contract status, remaining work on 400 trails

Possible 301 re-route

Regarding the Trail 401 gully, Jan-Willem Jansens said we need to decide what the problem is and the purpose of the restoration.  He said the 401 trail is compromised, and we need to close that trail; water is eroding the trail and increasing the headcut.  Even if we address the damage, we have to fill that gully or move the trail.  Better drainage of the reservoir is important, as it is breached on far side.  [See his handout “Trail 401 Gully Treatment Idea.”]  We need to first come up with a plan as to where we want the trail, then address drainage.  Jan-Willem wants to know the scope and timeline. 

John Parker expressed that since we are going to the effort of formulating a proposal, we ought to do as much as possible.  He said it is really an old road, not a trail, but that it might be nice to have a service road, e.g. for EMTs, a pickup with supplies (to repair the fence at foot of Cougar Canyon), etc. 

               Jan-Willem said he has $900 in his proposal from last year and has spent 25%, so he can continue with the remaining $675 and will do it for what he promised.  He will contact Mike and set up a new contract.  Mike said the best way to approach it would be to put everything in there, and then we could do it in phases if needed.  Jan-Willem said this year we should address the trail reroute, plugs, start reshaping the gully, and put in some dams/brush to slow erosion in the gully, then the area will be functional and stable.  More work can be done in the longer term.  Work can start this spring, the sooner the better.  The expectation with El Niño is a longer winter and plenty of spring precipitation, so we’ll be well served to get it done sooner.  John Parker warned it gets messy when wet, so Jan-Willem suggested May/June when it’s drier, but if we have to wait until October/November that would be okay.

Regarding the 101/105, Jan-Willem agreed to walk it on field trip and would make a plan on what we agree needs to be done.  We should talk about our priorities, then let him know about the total scope.  John Parker said the 101/105 was a priority, and the area west of there, which is badly cupped and gullied; he suggested after the contract is in place and snow is gone to set up a time (February or March) to go out and to bring flagging. 

Regarding the 301 loop, Tom Brimacombe said that at the southern point it becomes steep and goes up a knife-back ridge and a steep grade.  There’s a drainage with ponderosa pines at the southern tip of the trail where he would like to explore an alternative route through the valley and switchback up.  He wanted to abandon that steep section, and build a more gradual section.  In the next month he will do some flagging and make a map, and invited us to go out with him if we have time.  John Parker said there are two ways up onto ridge already, and as a cyclist he enjoys the downhill and it doesn’t seem to be having erosion issues.  Tom and John agreed that we should go out to look at it, so an email will be sent out with proposed dates.

The Chair emphasized that for Jan-Willem the priorities are the 401 gully and the 101/105, but if he wants to be involved in the 301 he can adjust his scope of work. 

Signage replacement and installation

Jim Daniel sent an email and brought images of the six trail signs (“You Are At”) along the 300 trails, to review their condition.  He said all show some fading/bleaching except the newest one, probably due to the fact that almost all are facing south with considerable sun exposure.  He thought new signs should be put in shade to avoid this problem, but John Parker reminded us that the priority is line of sight.  Jim said, in addition, that the circles at junctions are badly worn on three of these signs; we could make stickums.  Mike said signs aren’t that expensive, and that they have contracted with a Santa Fe company for full color signs (they make whatever style, font, colors, wording).  Jim reminded us that we have to do signs for the 404.  Carol Beidleman said if we replace signs we should make sure they all have consistent language regarding rules and safety etc., and that we should look at the status of signs on all the Preserve trails.  The Chair said Mark used Fast Signs.  Mike said to get copies of what you want, and they’ll put it out for bid; if we have it as a package we should get better pricing, and just identify the problems with bleaching and they’ll check on warranty.  Elizabeth said there were some beautiful new signs in Lamy, and she’ll check into who made them.  John Parker mentioned the Galisteo Basin Preserve signing (Betsy Walker will check with her County trails contacts re who made them), and said there was a contractor who did both the design and fabrication which is more efficient and saves money.  Mike will touch base with Mark to see what he had, and once we have something new Mike could digitize it and have it on file.


Review of the Committee Charter:

There was a discussion about the Board version of our charter we received in December, which was very different than the version we submitted to the Board in August.  The main concern was some deletion of greenbelts under the “Level and Scope of Activities” section.  The Committee expressed that the greenbelts were an important component of our activities, and should be retained in the charter per all previous versions.  The Committee feels it has made important contributions to this community amenity.  Mike said he has heard a lot about the volunteerism and that the greenbelts are an incredible value to the community, and he thinks it is important to make a log of what is going on.  The Chair said he can provide information from our Annual Reports and we can also take the Board out in the field to see our projects.  Elizabeth invited the Chair to attend the next working board meeting on January 21st at 6 p.m., and said she will talk to David tomorrow to find out about the proposed charter changes.   [NOTE: A communication by Elizabeth with David on January 9th resolved this question: the charter we submitted in August was the correct one and is now considered the final version.]      

Old business; tools update: 

Given the purchase of our new wheel barrow in December, the Chair asked Mike what to do with the old one.  Mike said to put it behind the barn and he will look at it and can scrap it for us if necessary. 

New business, Selection of Chair: 

Regarding an Open Forum, Justin expressed interest in helping us out with trail work days, given his experience with trail building/maintenance (NPS/FS).  We should include him in work day emails, at Justin.Poehnelt@gmail.com.  Tom Brimacombe said we need volunteers for the 401 alternate and on the 404 way out at the end where we have rock structures and an arroyo crossing we need to define.  Some tasks may only take several hours (John Parker said to send an email blast; we could do it during week, after hours, more flexible), but community work days would have to have Jan-Willem there.  Elizabeth said education about what volunteers can do and learn during such events is important.  The January Vistas has article with a placeholder for Preserve Trail Maintenance Days in April, May, September, and October 2019. 

Regarding Selection of Chair, Thomas Bredenberg is willing to carry on and said we will postpone this agenda item until Paul Butt is back.  John Parker made a motion for Thomas Bredenberg to continue as Chair, tabling this until the next meeting, which was seconded. 

The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.