Regular Meeting of the Board of Directors
Watson Rare Native Plant Preserve
November 18, 2022
Internet Meeting via Zoom.com
Highlights of the minutes
Members present: Pauline Singleton, Kathleen Appelbaum, Linda Knowles, Joe Liggio, and Chris Eldredge
Guest: Misti Little
Kathleen reports that board member Wanda Smith understands that the only time anyone is allowed to remove plants or fungi from the Preserve was during our sponsored Mushroom Walks. Kathleen asked for clarification on this. Pauline Singleton suggested that this might be so during an organized walk and/or that it is sometimes the only way to identify a mushroom. Discussion ensued between Kathleen and Pauline who decided that we should have input from a wider range of people. Kathleen suggested an email discussion group.
Pauline reports that we are expecting matching contributions from Exxon-Mobil for Jim Willis and Rick McLain. Pauline reports that EM has moved their contributions mechanism to CyberGrants.com and she had to reapply for our organization. She reports that in the application process she needed to submit a logo for the Preserve. Motion to use Geraldine’s hand drawn artwork as the official logo for the Preserve by Pauline Singleton, seconded by Kathleen, passes.
There followed a brief discussion of our Guidestar standing which is Silver. The next two higher levels in standing require audited financial statements and more.
In our continued quest for the guaranteed long-term sustainability of the Preserve, the Board revisited the discussion of having a Conservation Easement Agreement.
To review: A conservation easement is a voluntary, written agreement between a landowner and the “holder” of the conservation easement under which a landowner voluntarily restricts certain uses of the property to protect its natural, productive or cultural features. The holder of the conservation easement must be a governmental entity or a qualified conservation organization. With a conservation easement, the landowner retains legal title to the property and determines the types of land uses to continue and those to restrict. One of the requirements would be to have a trustee organization.
Joe suggests we talk with Ellen Buchanan of the Big Thicket Natural Heritage Trust as an example of a trustee organization for the agreement. We also could delineate the Preserve for wetlands designation which would provide protection from development in the future. Such designation is made by the U.S. Corps of Engineers. Joe says that he will initiate the designation process. Visitor Misti Little offered her and her husband’s experience with the designation process. Joe feels that we have all the necessary qualifications to get the wetlands designation, but we will have to wait for spring, when the vegetation returns, in order to proceed.
The US Highway 69/287 Expansion Project, set to begin late next year, will greatly expand the right of way. The subsequent development that the project will bring and how it may affect the Preserve was discussed.
Another section of the boardwalk has been painted with non-skid paint. It is reported that the paint has been very effective in making once slippery sections of the boardwalk safer for visitors.
No meeting is scheduled for December 2022. Next meeting is scheduled for Friday, January 13, 2023 at 1:00 pm via Zoom.
There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned at 2:20 pm
Minutes submitted by Christopher Eldredge, Secretary