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Meeting Location: SRPEDD Offices, Taunton

Chairman Jim Ross called the meeting to order at 7:15 PM. Committee members in attendance:

Kitty Doherty, Bridgewater; Francis Pereira, Bill Taylor, Middleboro; Ray Brierly, Jim Ross, Raynham; Aria Brissette, Taunton; Joan Pierce, Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife; Bill Napolitano, SRPEDD; Mary Joan Bull, SRPEDD; Scott MacFaden, Wildlands Trust.

Review of Agenda Items

Add your comment on this item1 (2) Town Updates: On behalf of Bridgewater, Kitty Doherty reported that the Natural Resources Trust of Bridgewater presented conceptual designs for six municipally-owned parks to the Conservation Commission. The designs were prepared in partnership with the Conway School of Design, and were well-received by almost all who examined them. A stewardship meeting was also held for the town-owned Titicut Conservation Area along the Taunton River. This meeting attracted the attention of abutters and local cable access TV, thereby ensuring a wider audience for a discussion involving the management of important conservation land along the Taunton. And, although it is too early yet to divulge details, work continues toward the completion of a conservation restriction on the state prison lands in Bridgewater, which include extensive Taunton River frontage.

Add your comment on this item2 Bill Napolitano reported on behalf of Middleboro and related that the June 27th canoe trip on the Nemasket River was a success. The trip garnered good press coverage, and attendees included Senator Marc Pacheco.

Add your comment on this item3 Jim Ross spoke for Raynham, and reported that he had appeared twice in recent weeks before Raynham Board of Selectmen, initially to present a plan for restoring habitat around Johnson's Pond with Bob Davis and subsequently to provide the Board with an update on the Wild and Scenic Study effort to date. The selectmen indicated that they will support a Wild and Scenic study for the lower Taunton River.

Add your comment on this item4 Bill Napolitano also reported on behalf of Taunton, and mentioned that he and the National Park Service had toured much of the lower Taunton River in anticipation of a potential Wild and Scenic study for that stretch of the river.

Add your comment on this item5 (4) By unanimous consent, Chairman Ross moved ahead to Agenda Item #4, and asked Joan Pierce to put into context the desire expressed by many committee members to revisit several of the votes taken at the June committee meeting. The votes in question asked for up to $25,000 to fund a Recreational Access Study, and for $8,000 to help fund a Tributary Study Strategy, to be used as a matching grant in conjunction with funds from the Taunton River Watershed Basin Team.

Add your comment on this item6 In the interval since the June meeting, several committee members had second thoughts about voting on proposals involving the potential expenditure of thousands of study dollars, particularly in view of the fact that these proposals had been presented to the Committee with no opportunity for anything other than a cursory review. Joan expounded on this point in further detail, highlighting the need for the committee to establish criteria to use for evaluating proposals that seek to utilize study funds. She also suggested that the committee refrain from considering any proposals for funding until elements of the study work plan are in place.

Add your comment on this item7 Committee members articulated several other concerns regarding this topic, including a belief that all funding proposals must be in accord with the committee's core mission and that the committee should proceed with great caution when evaluating funding proposals.

Add your comment on this item8 At this point, Joan Pierce made a motion to rescind the two votes taken at the June 12th meeting because committee members did not have enough information to make an informed vote, and because the so-called Wild and Scenic Executive Committee and the National Park Service did not have an opportunity to evaluate the proposals in question. Joan's motion made no commentary, implied or otherwise, on the merits of the proposals, and left open the option of reconsidering these proposals in the future. The motion, seconded by Scott MacFaden, was approved unanimously.

Review of Wild and Scenic Brochure

Add your comment on this item9 Extensive discussion ensued on the latest draft of the Wild and Scenic Brochure. Concerns expressed by Committee members included apprehensions about the grainy quality of several of the photos in the brochure, and comments about errors in the text. Several members, however, expressed a desire to move forward ASAP with the brochure, and indicated the need to begin distributing it within the five-community study area.

Add your comment on this item10 Following the discussion, it was agreed that the least desirable photos will be changed, that the text will be revised where committee members had requested, and that the revised brochure will be mailed to all committee members, hopefully prior to the next committee meeting. 2500 copies of the final, approved brochure will be printed and available for distribution.

(4)(d) Discussion of Work Plan Items

Add your comment on this item11 It was agreed that Items 5 and 6 on the Proposed Work Plan should be deleted now, with the understanding that they can be reconsidered later.

Add your comment on this item12 Joan P. articulated the importance of viewing the work plan in its entirety, and not simply focusing on the upcoming year. Jim R. emphasized the need for a more detailed draft work plan.

Review of Non-Agenda Items Discussed

Add your comment on this item13 As the meeting moved toward its conclusion, the following items received mention:

Add your comment on this item14  What's in a name? The so-called Executive Committee, comprised of the full committee's Chairman, Vice-Chairwoman, and Secretary, will meet on August 30th at SRPEDD (since changed to Friday, September 6th) at 9 AM to discuss the next meeting's agenda. Bill N. will have available a draft summary of Year One's accomplishments, including maps. Exec. Com. members are expected to come to this meeting with ideas on establishing criteria for evaluating funding proposals coming before the full committee. It should be noted that some have raised questions about the purpose and very name of the Exec. Com., which will likely receive a new title soon.

Add your comment on this item15  Policy on Press Releases: Committee member Pat Rogers issued a press release following the now-rescinded vote in June to announce that Wild and Scenic Study monies would be used to fund a Recreational Access Study. In the interest of maintaining a clear and consistent policy going forward, henceforth only Bill N. shall be authorized to issue press releases on behalf of the full committee.

Add your comment on this item16  Joan P. requested a budget depicting Bill N.'s and Maisy McDarby's availability for the next study year.

Add your comment on this item17  Ray B. requested that the committee consider the value of creating a Power Point presentation describing the Wild and Scenic study effort that committee members could use as an outreach tool in their communities.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 PM.

Submitted by Scott MacFaden, Wild and Scenic Study Committee Secretary