restoration project. The Conservation Commission had previously identified a total of 7 bridges that needed to be either replaced or constructed for new access, and one culvert replacement. The Conservation Commission continues to take a phased approach to the bridgework and has tried to prioritize bridges. These projects on conservation lands have been very successful over the course of 2009. With the assistance of Tim Prouty, a teacher at Tantasqua High School, students at Tantasqua High School successfully completed the construction of two footbridges that were permitted in 2008. Additionally students in Darcy Foley’s Environmental Science class worked with the Conservation Department on an Erosion Control project along Hamant Brook. With guidance and Conservation Commission funds these students created mitigation plans with selected plantings and installed/planted them along the Hamant Brook in the summer of 2009.
In April, the Conservation Agent had the privilege of being selected to be Keystone Cooperator through UMass Extensions. The training program included a 3-day intensive training program at Harvard Forest in Petersham, MA. In May, the Conservation Agent completed the Advanced Certification Program through the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions.
In mid September, the Conservation Agent organized a public Forest Stewardship Walk. Speakers at the walk included Joe Kowalski, Associate Conservation Commissioner and Certified Arborist, Michael Downey, Service Forester, DCR / Bureau of Forest Fire Control & Forestry, and Douglas Hutcheson, Green Certification and Private Lands
Conservation Commissions Forest Stewardship Plan. In hopes to hold more Forest Walks to educate the public management and to provide information to other municipal
on the establishment of the the coming year the Agent on the importance of forest officials on the establishment
Forest Stewardship Plans.
In November of 2009, the Conservation Commission and its contract forester, John Clark, completed a Forest Stewardship Plan for submission to the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). In mid December, the DCR Service Forester and Regional Supervisor approved the plan, which encompasses 982.03 acres of Conservation Commission owned land on 3 properties. In late December the Town of Sturbridge received a check in the amount of $7,500 from the Berkshire-Pioneer RC & D (Resource Conservation & Development) reimbursing the towns costs for producing the plan. The completion of the Forest Stewardship Plan was the result of over 18 months’ work by the Conservation Commission, Commission staff and the contract forester. Work included soliciting quotes for services, reviewing qualifications of foresters, interviewing & selecting a forester, budgeting funds for the creation of the plan, holding several public forest walk information sessions, holding public hearings before the Conservation Commission, reviewing multiple plan drafts and revisions and requesting
state reimbursement for components for wildlife
the plan costs.
The completed plan includes
development, harvesting to two “Self-Guided Forest
generate income, and Stewardship Trails”.
recreational components to In the coming year, the