Woodlands Committee Meeting Minutes
Attendees: Jerry Uhrig, Linda Spencer-Green, Martha
Dwyer-Bergman, Blair Schleicher-
The minutes from the previous meeting were approved.
Jerry said that he would be out of town for the next eleven days.
Book: Swampwalker's Journal, A Wetlands Year by David M. Carroll
This book was recommended by ENSP biologists at the workshop on vernal pools. To quote the Boston Globe, it "puts a face, or faces, on the creatures we are destroying, something much more effective than a blanket cry to 'save the wetlands.'" The book was written by a naturalist who has spent the past 50 years studying wetlands. He devotes a chapter to each of seven wetland types: vernal pool, marsh, swamp, shrub swamp, pond, floodplain, and bogs and fens. Mr. Carroll introduces all the wondrous denizens of the vernal pools: fairy shrimp, whose eggs can remain viable through a waterless decade or more; mole salamanders, whose longevity can exceed that of most dogs (20-25 years); wood frogs, whose skin becomes increasingly toxic as they mature; broad-winged hawks, who have learned to peel the skin off their prey before eating it; backswimmers, members of one of several aquatic insect families that can inflict painful, often long-lasting, fiery stings. These insects are the best reason not to wade barefoot and bare-legged into vernal pools.
Mr. Carroll also points out that once development starts in the vicinity of a vernal pool, it becomes very difficult to provide sufficient buffer space around the pool. Mole salamanders may need up to 500 feet.
Conversation with Mike van Clef of The Nature Conservancy
Note: This report should have been in the March meeting minutes but it was overlooked.
I spoke with Mike Van Clef of the Nature Conservancy. He said that Lenny Wolgast is retired wildlife management expert and would probably only be helpful insofar as designing hunts, getting hunters, etc.
recovery, Mike said he favors as natural a recovery as possible rather than
running the risk of introducing new genotypes. Badly browsed forests need to
have deer numbers close to 0 to make a comeback. Even deer numbers close to 3
per square mile may be too many. Twenty deer per square mile is too many. This
is the situation in
Regarding earthworms, Mike believes that the Asiatic earthworms (the big ones) may change the nutrient composition of the soil but this is minimal considering the problem associated with the deer overbrowse. He suggested definitely leaving this issue until we have a handle on the major problems.
There are concerns about
a wet borough lot between
NRCS (Natural Resource Conservation Service) Visit (Jerry)
and Jody Peligan visited the Borough on April 9 and
walked through the areas cited in our grant application for invasives species
control. Tim Dunn will write a report with recommendations on management of our
woodlands. We spent three hours walking
Richard Wilcox and Halsey Frederick Parks.
Near the entrance to the multi-use trail back of the beach at Birchwood
was the first of many patches of garlic mustard. The hill back of the beach
seemed to have very few herbaceous plants of any kind. But further out Ogden
Trail, closer to the boundary between Borough parkland and
other observations were made during the tour with NRCS. (1) We might want to
consider fencing an acre or two in
Vernal pool field study
Jerry and Phil visited
vernal pools accompanied by ENSP biologists. It was a very useful first-hand
look at life in vernal pools at
Herptile Survey Workshop
Jerry attended an ENSP
workshop on surveying for herptiles. His area of
responsibility in the ENSP survey includes most of the Borough, actually half of
the Boonton USGS quad and a small portion of the adjacent quad to the east. The
workshop offered a good opportunity to practice herptile
identification skills. Jerry missed a very obvious feature of a Northern Red
Salamander and misidentified it. It showed that it is quite possible to miss
the obvious, which in this case was black spots on the
back of a red salamander. Martha asked about the water snakes commonly found in
our lakes, especially Birchwood and Crystal. They are Northern Water Snakes.
These non-venomous snakes can be found all over the state. They prefer quiet
waters. Darker specimens are sometimes confused with the venomous Cottonmouth,
but the latter are not found in
Final count on the deer
culling was 72 total, 56 does, 83 fetuses. The most
productive site was at the chimney area of
Shade Tree Report
There is ivy on the trees on the street. The Shade Tree Commission doesn’t address this issue. Dead trees in the small lots-Shade Tree not interested in addressing this issue. The question is what is the healthy level of dead trees in the woods? Perhaps we should have John Linsey come and evaluate the ratio of the living trees to the dead trees.
Dead Tree Removal
Martha mentioned that she knows someone who is in the lumber business. He might be interested in removing some of the dead trees. She will get more information about this individual.
Linda and Martha will make a poster for the upcoming Garden Club Annual Plants sale to inform them about invasive plants and the work of the Woodlands Committee.
Sample sites to walk and learn. We will pick 10 sites to do a survey. We will make our own markers since we have not yet heard from the County Park Commission.