CLAREMONT — The Conservation Commission heard a request by Parks and Recreation Superintendent Tim Hernon for permission to ditch around Monadnock Park. The ditching will take place in a forest wetland area, which required conservation commission approval.
Stormwater from Arrowhead Recreation Area and behind the middle school flows into a catch basin and then toward the ditchline in Monadnock Park. The ditch behind Monadnock Park has filled in and meandered, Hernon said. “We had to pay to have a survey to know where that ditch line should be.”
The survey took place last winter.
Hernon said the stormwater flows into the park into the new playground area and floods the adjacent field. “There’s no ditch left; it’s all filled up with silt.”
He explained that the permit that will be issued by the state Department of Environmental Services is good for five years, but nothing can be done until it stops raining and the ground isn’t so wet.
“If it’s gentle rainfall it’s fine but if it’s heavy downpour it can’t find what’s become a four-inch wide ditch line,” said Hernon. At the moment they can’t get the ditching equipment in there, because it would sink into the boggy ground.
The department is also looking for grant funding to get rid of standing water in the park and improve drainage overall.
There are two culverts under the Rail Trail near the park, to which no one knows where the inlets are. There are also pools of standing water by the Rail Trail that have no outlet, said Hernon.
The commission approved the wetlands permit application.
Source to Sea
The annual Source to Sea cleanup takes place Sept. 27 and 28. Teams of volunteers organized by the Connecticut River Conservancy clean up designated areas adjacent to the Connecticut River. The Conservation Commission and other volunteers will meet at the Visitors Center at 9 a.m. on North Street in the morning. Trash bags and rubber gloves will be available.
In other business, recycling has gotten problematic, said chair Steve Wood. Many towns and cities that accept recycling are finding there is no longer a market for used plastics.
“The regular triangular logo- recycling doesn’t cover more than 25%,” said Wood. “We, the United States, have been sending tons of baled plastic to third-world countries and letting them deal with it. Since 2018 China has shut that door. The most discouraging part of that, from what I’ve read, is just the very nature of plastic itself.
“At one point they were advertising biodegradable plastic bags,” he continued. “Yeah , they break down, but the plastic just gets smaller and smaller. It never really biodegrades. It just gets ingested by everything... But it’s hard, you can’t deny it, everywhere you go, any kind of store or supermarket and take an inventory of what constitutes the packaging material, the vast majority of it is plastic. I’m not saying we can’t live without plastic... but for single use kind of stuff, to me, plastic just does not make sense.”
Gary Dickerman asked if Wood was suggesting a course of action for the commission. Olivia Uyizeye said shoppers are limited by what’s available. “I’d like the idea of once a month acknowledging stores that take steps to make it possible for consumers to (avoid plastics).”
The Connecticut River Conservancy has two campaigns to address the issue. In addition to getting individuals to take responsibility for their trash and stop “wish-cycling” – trying to recycle items that are not recyclable- individuals can reduce the single-use and plastic items they use. A second campaign looks at corporations: two type of trash frequently found in the Source-to-Sea cleanup are Dunkin’ cups and food containers, and Cumberland Farms cups and food containers.
Dunkin’ has pledged to end use of foam and plastic cups by 2020, but the conservancy is asking them to also offer customer incentives for using their own cups, and to use eco-plastics. Cumberland Farms has not made any commitment to reducing waste. The conservancy’s campaign for Cumberland Farms asks them to “Do something... anything” to reduce waste.