Council re-ups environmental group
- Published: September 4, 2014
At their Aug. 18 meeting, Village Council members agreed to re-activate the Village Environmental Commission in order to advise Council on a host of upcoming environmental issues.
Council is seeking a minimum of four village volunteers with expertise in environmental issues to serve on the board, along with one Council representative.
“We want people with skills and passion for environmental issues who can work well together and also consider different points of view,” said Council member Marianne MacQueen, who made the proposal to Council.
The Environmental Commission, formerly one of the most active of Village commissions, has been dormant for several years. However, Council is being asked to weigh in on several issues that concern the environment, and local experts could provide valuable research and advice, MacQueen said. Potential activities for the group could include assisting Council and Village staff in managing the adoption of the Wellhead Protection plan and overseeing the educational portion of the plan; developing a draft policy on Village use of herbicides and pesticides on Village-owned land; assisting in the rehabilitation of the Yellow Springs Creek area behind the Bryan Center, if Tecumseh Land Trust receives funding for the project; and recommending best options for stewardship of the eastern part of the Glass Farm, according to MacQueen’s proposal.
The Village is currently advertising for Environmental Commission members; interested persons should contact Council Clerk Judy Kintner at 767-9126 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Council aims to finalize a list of prioritized projects for the group in September.
In other Council Aug. 18 business:
• Council members unanimously approved a proposal from Tecumseh Land Trust, or TLT, to apply for a grant from the Clean Ohio Fund in order to restore the about two acres of the Yellow Springs Creek area behind the Bryan Center. Council tasked Village Manager Patti Bates with bringing legislation to its Sept. 2 meeting to pursue the grant funding.
The project would aim to remove invasive species, especially honeysuckle and Tree of Heaven and nurture returning native plants in the area bordering Yellow Springs Creek behind the Bryan Community Center. The project would also place a conservation easement on the area.
Clean Ohio grant applications are due Oct. 31 and $3.7 million is available in state funds for an eight-county area, according to TLT Director Krista Magaw, who said the project is likely to secure funding due to its linkage with the protected area of Glen Helen. The project is projected to cost about $50,000 overall, with the Village contributing $12,500.
“This is a really interesting parcel of land that is now a negative contributor to the Glen and the village but has the potential to return to glory as an ecological and cultural asset,” Magaw said.
The project also requires Village maintenance, according to Magaw, and the Village could provide a staff worker four days a year to help maintain the property, Bates said, stating that the Glen and TLT will also provide maintenance help.
• Council heard an update on a beaver dam project on the Glass Farm detention farm. According to Council member MacQueen, who has promoted the project, beavers moved into the detention area on the Glass Farm several years ago. The purpose of the detention pond is to alleviate flooding in the area by detaining excess water, and occasionally beaver dams have blocked the culverts through which water flows.
However, beavers provide several ecological benefits, MacQueen said, including creating wetlands that allow beneficial species to flourish. For instance, dragonflies that live in wetlands feed on mosquitoes, and the dams also serve to filter and clean the water. Consequently, the Village is attempting to find ways to allow humans and beavers to coexist. The effort was recently aided by efforts from Green Environmental Coalition head Vickie Hennessy, who contacted a wetlands expert to speak with consulting environmental engineer John Eastman on the issue, MacQueen said.
At this point, the Village is waiting on additional information in order to determine the size of pipe needed to aid drainage, according to Manager Bates.
• Council unanimously passed a resolution that requests that the Greene County auditor add past-due amounts from unpaid utility bills on the property taxes of several villagers. The move is the first step in an attempt to collect the almost $200,000 owed to the Village from past-due utility accounts, Finance Director Melissa Vanzant has said. However, the amount owed by current property owners is very small compared to that owed by past renters, and Council has stated it intends to have a broader discussion on collecting those bills.
• Council’s next regular meeting is Tuesday, Sept. 2, at 7 p.m. in Council chambers.