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TNRC Minutes January 11, 2019

Meeting minutes for Transylvania Natural Resource Council
Regular Meeting

January 11, 2019

Welcome

The meeting was called to order at 9:05 A.M. by Lee McMinn; the business meeting was called to order at 9:40 A.M. by Lee McMinn.

Roll Call:

Addison Bradley Peter Chaveas Jeff Parker

David Whitmire Kent Wilcox Lee McMinn

R.K. Young Brannon Bryson Wesley Sketo

In addition, seven members of the public were present.

Speaker Series:

Program consisted of a presentation by N.C. Cooperative Extension, Transylvania Center.

Approval of minutes from December 2018:

R.K. Young made a motion to approve, seconded by Kent Wilcox. Minutes were approved unanimously.

Future Presentations:

Program for February: No business meeting. Event co-sponsored with the Chamber of Commerce and Transylvania Economic Alliance: (Tom Sweeney) The economic and environmental impact of the outdoor recreation industry in the county.

T.N.R.C. event on February 14, 2018: Climate Stories N.C., David Salvesen, Institute for the Environment. Co-sponsored with the library to be held in the Rogow Room 6:30-8:30 P.M.

Program for March: College Day, Jennifer Kafsky.

Program for April: Kids in the forest, presented by various groups.

Program for May: Field trip to D.S.R.F. to revisit Chestnut restoration project.

New Business:

Accepting program suggestions for fiscal year 2020 beginning September 2019:

• David Whitmire suggested a wildlife and fisheries biologist. (October?)

Old Business:

Landslide subcommittee: resolution passed unanimously at the Board of Commissioners meeting.

Subcommittee on Significant Natural Areas: no update.

Updates from public land managers:

Brannon Bryson, Gorges State Park: received funding of $5,000 to improve the Rainbow Falls Trail. Two new rangers completed law enforcement school.

Michael Cheek, Headwaters State Forest: 90% complete with management plan. Tower on Sassafras Mountain will be open by Memorial Day.

Wesley Sketo, DuPont State Forest: Single track trails have been closed due to weather. There was recently a timber sale, cutting will begin soon. Restrooms will soon be complete at Hooker Falls area. Acquiring two new properties, will not be open to the public until explored and property lines determined.

David Whitmire, Town of Rosman: 16 dead deer have been found in the East Fork of French Broad River this year, presumably shot in the dark while spotlighting. There needs to be public awareness regarding the issue.

Other:

Lee McMinn: requested someone write a resolution for a voluntary ban on single use plastic items (such as straws and bags). R.K. Young volunteered to begin research regarding the topic. David Whitmire agreed to assist, as Headwaters Outfitters has begun this transition.

Lee McMinn: There has been support for the Natural Resource Specialist Position from the T.D.A. T.D.A. has agreed to write a letter of recommendation for the position. Lee McMinn made a motion to submit the position again to the Board of Commissioners, Peter Chaveas seconded, motion passed unanimously.

Kent Wilcox made a motion to adjourn, R.K. Young seconded, approved unanimously.

Meeting was adjourned at 10:55 A.M.

From: Lee McMinn, Chair, Transylvania Natural Resources Committee
Date: March 8, 2019
Subject: Draft Letter in Support of AmeriCorps Volunteer in Cooperative Extension Office
Department: Civilian Advisory Councils

Public Hearing: No

Contact Information: Lee McMinn 828-674-0318 or Leemcminn@comporium.net

The Transylvania Natural Resources Council is tasked with two main objectives:
• Inventory Transylvania County’s natural resources and recommend to the Board of Commissioners County policies, procedures, ordinances and changes to general statutes to responsibly manage those natural resources to promote the environment
• Conduct education programs to promote understanding of the importance of those natural resources to our future
The AmeriCorps program has a mission that is closely aligned with these objectives, and has provided significant assistance in moving these objectives forward. Currently, Cooperative Extension is managing an AmeriCorps member who is doing an excellent job with educational outreach and community organization related to Cooperative Extension programs, many of which impact our natural resource issues. Examples of programs that our member has facilitated include:
• Delivery of educational programs at Rise and Shine
• Planning and promotion of the Upper French Broad Riverfest
• Farmers Market Education series
• Promotion of Hemlock Cost Share program
In addition, AmeriCorps Project Conserve currently consists of a network of 33 AmeriCorps members working in 19 different environmental organizations in Western North Carolina. The placement of an AmeriCorps member within Transylvania County enhances collaboration and joint-project development between these entities, as demonstrated by ongoing partnerships with organizations such as MountainTrue and the Hemlock Restoration Initiative.
The Transylvania Natural Resources Council believes it is in the best interest of the county to support the permanent placement of an AmeriCorps Member with an appropriate county organization such as Cooperative Extension. We encourage the Board of Commissioners to provide necessary funding, in collaboration with other supporting agencies, to ensure the continuation of this program.

Lee McMinn, Chair
Cc: Cooperative Extension Office
Resolution supporting voluntary reduction in the use of single-use products

Whereas the North Carolina Outdoor Recreation Industry Office has identified outdoor recreation as a significant source of jobs and revenue for Transylvania County, and
Whereas Transylvania County is the headwaters of the French Broad River, its waters feeding our economic development, infrastructure needs, agriculture, local wildlife, recreational opportunities, and health needs, and
Whereas the quality of these waters and all other waters in Transylvania County is decreased by contamination with single-use products, especially plastics and foam containers, and
Whereas the cleanup of this contamination requires investment of county resources, landfill space, paid and volunteer hours, and tax dollars, and
Whereas the presence of litter along our roads and trails, clinging to our bushes and trees, killing our land and forest animals and fish is not compatible with our emerging best source of county jobs and income from outdoor recreation, and
Whereas the presence of litter would be greatly reduced by decreased consumption of single-use products;
Be it therefore noted that the Transylvania Natural Resource Council finds that:
a) The use of single-use carryout bags, foam food containers, and straws by consumers at retail establishments is detrimental to the environment, wildlife, public health, and welfare.
b) Single-use carryout bags, foam food containers, and plastic straws contribute to environmental problems, including litter in storm drains, along rivers and streams, and beside our roads and trails.
d) Single-use carryout bags, foam food containers, and plastic straws impose unseen costs on consumers, local governments, and taxpayers and constitute a public nuisance.

Therefore, be it resolved that the Transylvania Natural Resource Council recommends voluntary reduction of single-use carryout bags, foam food containers, and plastic straws by replacing such items with compostable or recyclable items of the same purposes, and

Be it further resolved that merchants continuing to offer single-use plastic bags are encouraged to offer recycling or recycling information and to offer alternatives of paper bags or reusable bags, and

Be it further resolved that food service businesses offer straws, either plastic or compostable (encouraged), only at customers’ request, and

Be it further resolved that expanded public and private pursuit of recycling partnerships and a public relation campaigns to promote voluntary reduction and recycling efforts is highly recommended.

Drafted by RK Young

Transylvania County Agenda Memo

Agenda Item:

Meeting Date:

From: Lee McMinn, Chair, TNRC

Date: March 8, 2019

Subject: Position Description Natural Resources Specialist

Department: Civilian Advisory Councils

Public Hearing: No

Contact Information: Lee McMinn 828-674-0318 or Leemcminn@comporium.net

Attachments: (1) Letter of Support from Transylvania Tourism Development Authority
(2) Position Description, Natural Resources Specialist

Purpose: To provide extensive County involvement in the management of natural resources, thus enhancing opportunity for Public Land Managers and Private Citizens to collaborate with the County on the protection and management of our Significant Natural Resources.

Background: Attached is the proposed position description for a County Natural Resources Specialist, someone who can specialize in all things environmental. We see this person as a linkage, a collaborator, between various public and private entities and landowners in the management of natural resources on public and private lands and as a “consultant” on green issues for businesses seeking to establish in Transylvania. Our county is classified by the North Carolina Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, a division the NC Economic Development Alliance, as one that relies on outdoor recreation as an economic driver. Of course, there are many aspects of economic development but the bottom line in outdoor recreation is this: If we are to be a county dominated by outdoor recreation, either through tourism or industrial expansion, we must have places in which to recreate outdoors. The protection of those vital outdoor sites and resources is becoming more and more important to us.

When this PD was initially written, it was staffed through Soil and Water and Cooperative Extension to deconflict duties and responsibilities, introducing new responsibilities or augmenting existing efforts at conservation. Both offices supported the original submission three years ago with no objections. Both Jeff Parker and Bart Renner supported its submission. This year, our recommendation to add this position to County staff has received endorsements from Transylvania Always, a subcommittee if Tourism Development Authority (Enclosure 1) and

Some changes to the original document dealing with reporting structure and qualifications are highlighted in red on the enclosure. These possible enhancements to the original allow this position to be incorporated into existing staff and reduce the necessary qualifications to apply for this position, thereby enlarging the recruitment pool.

Financial Impact: Salary impact of approximately $54,000 per year with benefits, this to be verified by Personnel.

Strategic Plan Goal & Strategy: 1A&B; 4A&B;

Recommendation: Approve the attached Position Description for a new staff position “Natural Resources Specialist”

Enclosure (1) Letters of Support
(2) Position Description

Enclosure 2
Natural Resources Specialist

General Definition of Work
Performs complex administrative and field work administering and overseeing the management and conservation of Natural Resources and facilitating other departmental conservation programs. Under the general direction of (to be determined), works independently with interested private landowners who voluntarily seek to participate in Natural Resource management and conservation on their lands, and with public land managers to integrate the management of Natural Resources. Serves as a focal point for identifying citizen interest in Natural Resource issues.
Qualification Requirements
To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential function satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
Essential Functions
Gathers and prioritizes data relative to commercial activities and economic opportunities related to the management and conservation of Natural Resources.
Participates in and provides liaison among various governmental boards, commissions, councils, other civic groups, and non-profit organizations whose priorities include the management and conservation of Natural Resources.
Assists various civic groups and staff departments in navigating the myriad regulations, mandates, rules, and strategic plans of federal, state, regional, and local organizations pertaining to the management and conservation of Natural Resources.
Develops and implements a program of information and assistance to public land managers and private landowners to assist in the management and conservation of Natural Resources.
Provides outreach to civic groups and concerned citizens to identify Natural Resource issues of public interest and facilitate delivery of relevant information and citizen feedback. Promote participation of volunteer organizations and individuals.
Works closely with related Staff to ensure consistency, economy of effort, and efficiency in the delivery of programs and supporting policies pertaining to the management and conservation of Natural Resources.
Works closely and in coordination with related Staff, public land managers, volunteer private landowners, and contracting agencies to implement Management and Protection recommendations to protect and, where practical, conserve the Significant Natural Heritage Areas listed in “An Inventory of Natural Areas of Transylvania County, North Carolina (2008)”.
Provides required reports and monthly updates of activities to the County Manager and to the Transylvania Natural Resources Council.
Represents Transylvania County during all public lands planning and management activities.
Researches and pursues grant opportunities on behalf of the County and interested private landowners to increase funding for management and conservation activities.
Assists interested private landowners in understanding, applying for, and gaining conservation easements.
Provides initial technical services to the County relative to water treatment, wastewater management, and stormwater.
Serves on various boards and committees as necessary.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with private landowners, public land managers, land users, associates, governmental officials and the general public; thorough knowledge of the theory, principles, practices and techniques of Natural Resources management and conservation in rural areas; general knowledge of the various guidelines, codes, ordinances, and regulations pertaining to Natural Resources management and conservation, erosion, land development, and land and water management; skill in the use of basic engineering surveying equipment; ability to plan, organize and carry out projects effectively; ability to present the results of research and recommendations effectively in oral, written or graphic form; a working knowledge in the application of various chemical pesticides and biological treatments of arboreal infestations. Ability to use word processing and database computer programs including GIS, mapping, and spreadsheets.
Education and Experience
Bachelor’s degree with coursework in conservation, small water systems engineering, biology, or related fields or four-years’ experience in Natural Resource management or conservation or any combination of education and experience adding to four years with expertise in program planning and supervision or in environmental education.
Physical Requirements
This work requires the regular exertion of up to 10 pounds of force and the infrequent exertion of up to 50 pounds of force; work regularly requires standing, walking over rough ground, wading in streams and creeks, speaking or hearing, using hands to finger, handle or feel, pushing, pulling, and repetitive motions, frequently requires reaching with hands and arms and occasionally requires sitting, climbing or balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching or crawling, smelling and lifting; work requires close vision, distance vision, ability to adjust focus, depth perception, color perception, night vision, and peripheral vision; vocal communication is required for expressing or exchanging ideas by means of the spoken word and conveying detailed or important instructions to others accurately, loudly or quickly; hearing is required to perceive information at normal spoken word levels and to receive detailed information through oral communications and/or to make fine distinctions in sound; work requires preparing and analyzing written or computer data, visual inspection involving small defects and/or small parts, using measuring devices, assembly or fabrication of parts within arms’ length, operating machines, operating motor vehicles or equipment and observing general surroundings and activities; work requires exposure to environmental conditions; work is generally in a moderately quiet location (e.g. in fields, along stream banks, in forests, and in offices).
Special Requirements
Possession of an appropriate driver’s license valid in the State of North Carolina.