Woodlands Committee Meeting Minutes

November 19, 2004


Attendees: Jerry Uhrig, Phil Notestine, Martha Dwyer-Bergman, Linda Spencer-Green


The minutes from the previous meeting were approved.






Jerry mentioned that the bamboo dumping problem off Crystal Road had not been completely cleaned up. He will follow up with Gary Webb.


Deer Management (Phil/Martha)


Culling: Phil reported that bow hunters have taken 9 deer.  Bow hunters were hunting in the following areas: Wilcox, Frederick, beyond York Village, and on private property on the Boulevard.  Across from the Borough garage and York village and condo areas are the only areas that the bow hunters will continue to hunt. A night time (infra red) aerial deer count has been budgeted for the spring.


The Tourne county park will have a deer hunt this year for the first time.  There will likely be hunters not only in tree stands but also on the ground.  The park will be closed during the hunt days, which will be in mid-December.  They have posted the times at the entrances to the roadways into the park but we are not sure if they have done it at all the trails that enter the Tourne from Mountain Lakes.


Contraception: Martha reported that she finally had a response from Jack Schrier regarding the Deer Sterilization. He requested that our Borough adopt a resolution that calls on the federal government to allocate $5M to the Department of the Interior to develop a formula for a safe and effective single-inoculation of the deer.  Martha will contact Armen Melikian of Mountain Lakes regarding his experience with deer contraceptives and the drugs.  He serves on the Environmental Commission.  We should also follow the Princeton area’s experiment with deer contraceptives and use that as our research model.


Invasives (Jerry)

Jerry and Lynn went to the Autumn Plant Symposium at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum. The entire day was spent on invasive plants and deer and how to control them. One expert from the National Park Service suggested that a “Hack and Squirt” method can be effective in controlling ailanthus. That is, you hack the side of the tree with an ax and then squirt pesticide into the cut. But a luncheon discussion with Morris County Park staff members suggested that a permit may be required to apply Round-Up in some cases. We need to investigate this. Ray Rodgers of the Environmental Commission might be helpful here.


Rob Jennings, Morris County Parks biologist, stated over lunch that there are three major mechanisms changing the woodlands: earthworms, deer, and invasive plant species.

Earthworms are breaking down the duff, which then prevents the native plant seeds from germinating and enabling the invasive plants to take root. Rob said that there were no native species of earthworm anywhere in New Jersey.


According to Emil DeVito, even if an area is protected by fencing it may take 10 years for sufficient recovery to occur in the native habitat so that one can see much difference. We should seriously plan on fencing areas of the woodlands so that there will be control areas where the recovery can be observed more clearly.


According to a policy directive issued by the State DEP Commissioner on October 14, the State of New Jersey will NO LONGER plant invasive plants on state lands or roadways as a way to contain and control soil erosion.


Woodlands threats-                                                                                                  


Hemlock Woolly Adelgid: Jerry mentioned that there was a report of some healthy hemlocks in the Wawayonda State Park, to the north of Mountain Lakes. He will investigate.


Emerald ash borer: Pennsylvania hunters are being cautioned in the Pike County Dispatch (Pennsylvania) not to bring firewood from Michigan because of the risk of transporting the emerald ash borer. So far there have not been any of these beetles detected in that state.  Signs of the emerald ash borer infestation include upper crown die-back, woodpecker damage, “S” shaped galleries under the bark and “D” shaped emergence holes. This beetle has been found in the states of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Maryland, and Virginia and the Canadian Province of Ontario. In Michigan alone this insect has claimed over 7 million ash trees.


Jerry mentioned that the Wild Flower Trail at the Tourne has a white ash tree in their enclosed area. It is their largest tree and should be helpful in identifying other ash trees throughout our woodlands.


Bacterial Leaf Scorch: Northern red oaks in New Jersey are being attacked by this bacterium.  It “clogs” the tree’s water conducting tissues or xylem.  Water transport becomes disrupted in roots, branches, and leaves due to large amounts of multiplying bacteria and their by-products.  It may also trigger a reaction in the tree that plugs the xylem, further impeding water transport.  It can be diagnosed based on time of symptom developments, leaf color change and the annual progression of the symptoms throughout the crown.  Symptoms start to appear in mid-summer and continue until fall.  Leaves on diseased tress begin to dry along leaf margins and death of the leaf progresses slowly downward toward the midrib and petiole. The leaf color changes to a dull pale green and finally, the entire leaf dies and turns brown. This happens during the height of summer not during the fall.


Sudden Oak Death: Linda reported that there has been one reported death in New York State.  What makes it unusual is that it was in a very isolated area. No one knows how it was infected or what connections there might be.  Jerry reported that the fungus had been found in the Cape May area but it was hopefully contained.


Asian Longhorned Beetle: Linda said that this coming summer (2005) New York City will be inoculating the trees in the city parks against this insect. This disease came to this country in infested pallets from China in the mid-90's.


Woodland Threat Priorities: Threat priorities were updated from the list given in the June status report to Council. The update was prompted by new threat information obtained in the months since June. The new list is as follows:


Threat Priorities (revised November 04)

(Highest first)


  1. Deer
  2. Invasives
  3. Sudden Oak Death
  4. Bacterial Leaf Scorch
  5. Asian Long-horned Beetle
  6. Emerald Ash Borer
  7. Hemlock Woolly Adelgid
  8. Earthworms
  9. Runoff, flooding, erosion
  10. Fragmentation
  11. Contaminants
  12. Gypsy moths
  13. Dutch elm disease
  14. Chestnut blight





Website:  Jerry said that all the minutes are now up on the site.   Andy Bulfer said that a new server is being installed that will enable the individual sites to be more easily updated. 


Martha brought a magazine that has some websites that we might want to include in the Woodlands site. For a list of Problem Plants go to http://plants.usda.gov/java/noxiousDriver and www.nps.gov/plants/alien/    If you want to learn more about the birds, butterflies or plants in the area, go to the FREE online Wildlife Guides.  Merely enter your zip code and e-mail address to access hundreds of photos and detailed information: www.birdsandblooms.com  (This is from the magazine Birds and Blooms.)


Martha has pictures of burning bush at Birchwood Lake that she will send along with the minutes.


Linda and Martha will walk the trail near the spring house to look for the spicebush and maple leaf viburnim.  Pictures will be sent for inclusion on the website.


Shade Tree Ordinance 

Jerry and Linda discussed the draft ordinance that the Shade Tree committee presented to the Borough.  There was a concern by the Mayor that there needed to be additional strength in the ordinance with regard to the planting of trees to replace those that are being removed. Should replanting be included in the current ordinance or as a separate ordinance?  Should there be a list of specific trees that choices can be made from and reasons why other trees are at risk and list the concerns for the diseases that are pending.



Jerry said that there needs to be a fencing program to establish control areas to study the progress in the woodlands regrowth.  Jerry pointed out that the fence at the Wildflower Trail is inspected weekly for breaks. It is likely that we would have to do the same.


In the News

In Pike County, Pennsylvania, Peter Pinchot is an expert on deer control.  He has been involved in a variety of conservation projects and outreach initiatives that have a far-reaching effect on the environment: re-establishing the American chestnut, saving the once abundant hemlocks from the wooly adelgid infestation, working to rescue the Pennsylvania forest eco-system from the pressure of the whitetail deer overpopulation, campaigning for growth management and open space conservation, and promoting stewardship ethics and sustainable forestry practices. An article on this appeared in the November 11 Pike County Dispatch. The Pinchot Institute is a valuable resource for experience and expertise.