Woodlands Committee Meeting Minutes
Attendees: Martha Dwyer-Bergman, Linda Spencer-Green, Phil Notestine, Patie Graham, Blair Wilson, Jerry Uhrig
The minutes from the previous meeting were reviewed. Jerry mentioned that
the earthworm argument proposed in the Wall Street Journal article distributed
at the December meeting because the ice cover during the last ice age was not
necessarily as thick as it was in
The Nature Conservancy website has a long list of technical publications as well as descriptions of their conservation methodology, Conservation by Design. Jerry will try tracking down some of the more applicable reports through the borough library.
Jerry passed around three books recently obtained from the Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC) bookstore:
Winter Weed Finder, Miller and Amendolara, Nature Study Guild,
Winter Tree Finder,
3. Season of Promise, Wild Plants in Winter, Northeastern United States, Roberts, Ohio University Press, Athens, Ohio
The Nature Conservancy
As noted in the December meeting minutes, Mike Van Clef in the Skylands
Office is our technical contact. Jerry and Mike had a long conversation about
conservation and diversity. He recommended Lenny Wolgast at
Conservation by Design is described at length on the Nature Conservancy website. At a very high level it is a pretty generic process for nearly any undertaking requiring planning and resources. They identify four stages that are executed sequentially and then repeated cyclically: Setting Priorities, Developing Strategies, Taking Action, and
Measuring Success. Each of these major stages are broken down into a number of tasks as follows:
1. Setting Priorities
· Identifying Conservation Targets
· Gathering Information
· Setting Goals
· Assessing Viability
· Assembling Portfolios
2. Developing Strategies
3. Taking Action
· Buying and managing natural areas
· Negotiating agreements
· Offering training to partner organizations
· Educating people
· Working with resource-based industries
· Helping government agencies
4. Measuring Success
· Evaluate key ecological factors
· Measure the level of threat
Refer to the website for further elaboration. The process needs to be tailored to fit any specific situation but overall it provides a checklist that encapsulates a great deal of experience in restoring and preserving natural areas.
The sampling protocol suggested by Mike Van Clef consists of the following. In its simplest form every 50 feet along a trail locate a point 10 feet off the trail. At this point center a 3-foot radius circle. Within this circle take an inventory. At a minimum, count invasives, herbs, ferns, shrubs, seedlings, and saplings. These sample areas provide a means of monitoring the health as diversity over time. Phil suggested that we probably want to have wooden stakes made to mark the center of the sampling circles. Martha suggested that GPS might be useful. Jerry followed up with a GPS expert of his acquaintance who agreed that GPS could be helpful in locating the stakes but it does not offer the accuracy to consistently locate 3-foot radius circles. GPS operation under a tree canopy might be a problem but we should try the idea out anyway. It is likely that we would want to tailor this procedure to suit our needs. Wilcox park probably does not need sampling every 50 feet along a trail. Fifty yards might be more appropriate and maybe not every trail. At the other extreme the sampling of borough lots probably requires a different means of locating the circles. We also discussed the possibility that we would want more information about particular species, quality of the duff, and fauna, for example. We need to design a data collection form that we can all use. And then we need to set up a database that we can use for analysis and queries.
Other Woodlands Issues
Experts at Picatinny Arsenal are concerned about lead contamination from munitions. They have a "green munitions" initiative which is searching for viable alternatives to lead. They also are conducting remediation studies to determine how best to identify and clean up environmental lead contamination due to munitions. Our primary concern on this point would be possible contamination in and around the old firing range adjacent to Crystal Lake. We hope to get some help from Picatinny/Rutgers on this issue.
Martha will contact Floyd Tompkins regarding the work that he did on the woodlands previously. Are there any photos or documentation of the condition of the woods. Where are the large trees located in Wilcox?
Martha will also contact Valhalla Hemlock Glen research group to gather information on the condition of the hemlocks. Also check on Tillman's Ravine in Stokes State Forest. Montclair State University is believed to be studying both areas.
Jerry noted that there was a local birder, Tim Vogel, who has compiled data on the Tourne's bird population over the years. Carol and John Knapp of the Morris Highlands Audubon Society recommended this person. John also mentioned that Mr. Vogel is a good friend of Rick Radis, so this should lend some credence to his data. John also said that the Audubon Society sponsored a five-year study of bird populations throughout the state. Both Knapps participated. John will review his copy of the report and lend it to Jerry if it looks to be helpful.
Gary Webb furnished us with copies of a spread sheet giving acreage for all the woodlands and borough lots throughout the town. Entries are color-coded to match the maps he gave us. We need this data to help us determine a viable deer population.
Phil reported that the culling has been successful with no problems from the public. There have been reports in the local newspapers with varying degrees of accuracy.
The deer culling information meeting was discussed, and the general impression was that it was well received. There was a very small group opposed to the culling.
One woman spoke of her concern about the culling and indicated in follow-up email that a 6-year contraception shot was available. Martha was unaware of that and will look into it. Martha handed out the pamphets that she received from the Spayvat group, this is the 3-year shot.
Next meeting will be the third Wednesday in February (18), 2004. Check the Borough Calendar if in doubt.