Woodlands Management Committee Meeting Minutes

March 16, 2005


Attendees: Jerry Uhrig, Phil Notestine, Linda Spencer-Green, Martha Dwyer-Bergman, Bob Dewing, Patie Graham


The minutes from the previous meeting were approved.




Charter Status


Patie Graham brought a draft of our charter for review.


Phil suggested adding the work developing in the first sentence of the Establishment section.  Perhaps the word analyze should also be incorporated.


Martha suggested that continuing education be included.


Steve Shaw, the mayor, would like to have this presented to the council on April 11th, 2005 so that it can be approved at the meeting.  The information must be presented to the Borough Council on the Thursday or Friday before the meeting so that Council members have time to review it.


ECO-Hike Project


Jerry reported that the Eco-Hike is coming along fine.   Laurel Durenberger is designing the trail guide layout while Jerry writes the content.  Jerry said that the next thing to decide was the issue of the signs along the trail.  Should they be laminated or something else or perhaps the high school shop should make the signs?  Phil said that Gary Webb can get the signs done at very little cost by the Morris County Park personnel. However, Jerry said that this approach did not work well last year and that he would like to have more unique signs, if possible.  Laurel is thinking about it.


Jerry handed out the draft trail guide and asked for input. 


It was noted that the guide needed a map. Jerry explained that the Trails Committee was working on a new trail map but that it wasn’t ready yet for us to use.  We need to find a current one to include into the guide. 


The font size needs to be larger for easier reading by the general community. 


Phil asked if the American Beech tree could be included on the guide as #14 on the list.  It is located toward the end of the trail near the tennis courts. 


Linda had questions about the Lichen area and the “British Soldiers” as to whether they are present on the trail.  Jerry said that it is not clear that they are at this point.


Bob mentioned, incidentally, that the largest known fungus in the world is located in Minnesota.  It is over 35 miles wide and has the same DNA for all that area thus making it a single organism.


Martha suggested that the websites for the various sponsoring committees could be added. This way people can go on the web to gather more information and also become more aware of the committees. 


Martha suggested that under the topic Spice Bush that there could be an explanation of the word “Indicator”. 


Also, there could be an explanation of who was Halsey Frederick and why the park is named after him in the history section of the guide.




Garlic Mustard is all over the town and is easy to spot and identify.  The Rockaway Valley Garden Club had a speaker, Carol Stober of Stoney Hill Gardens, Chester, who gave a talk on invasive plants.  Her approach for garlic mustard was to tailor the control method to the habits of the plant. 


It is a biennial so you can attack it at two separate growth periods, the cluster of leaves late in the first year, then the flower and seed period early in the second year.  By the calendar, the first control opportunity is in the spring when it is early enough to just cut the stalks off at the stem rather than pulling the plant out of the ground.  By eliminating the stalk, you don’t allow new seeds to disperse and grow new plants.  Since each plant can disperse as many as 1000 seeds, this is a significant return for your effort. The second time in the year is in the late fall when that year's new plants are still green, in November and December.  This is a good time treat the garlic mustard with a non-persistent herbicide, such as Round Up, which will neutralize once it is in the soil.  Since there is very little else green this late in the year, the chance of collateral kill is minimized.


Also, we have some recipes for garlic mustard that we need to share in the Home & School Bulletin.


Sudden Oak Death Status


The website suddenoakdeath.org is a useful place to find updates on sudden oak death status. They have a newsletter that you can subscribe to.


Website: Threat Priorities


The Website Committee is in the process of getting a new server, which will enable us to put the minutes up on the site without support.  We should also be better able to manage other routine site operations by ourselves.


Fenced Areas


We need to develop a plan and pick the appropriate site locations.


Jerry is getting cost estimates from the best known supplier, Benner's Gardens of Conshohocken, PA. Jerry thinks that it will run about $1500 to do the fences and plans to look for grants to fund the project.  Possibilities are the Town Club and at least one local bank.




The Audubon Society has taken a public stand on hunting as a means of controlling the impact that the deer overpopulation is having on the woodlands.  There was a set of articles in the spring 2004 issue of Audubon on the state of the woodlands. So Audubon has been presenting the rationale for their position for over a year now.  The most recent paper, which spells out their position on deer hunting, is entitled “Forest Health and Ecological Integrity-Stresses and Solutions” Jerry has e-mailed this article to us. We should add this article to our website as a link. 


Phil was asked about the infrared counting of the herds that will be done here in town.  He doesn’t know when it will be done but it will be done by helicopter in the night. 


There was a conversation about the Princeton’s deer culling and the costs per deer.  Phil said that he thought the Mountain Lakes cost was on the order of $130 per deer.


Other Topics and Discussion                                                                                                           

Field Trips


Phil suggested that sometime we all meet at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum and walk the guided nature trail.


Herptile Survey and Vernal Pools


Bob suggested that we attempt to get the high school science students involved in the study of the vernal ponds; the one above Birchwood Lake is the largest.  They could take it on as a research project.


Note: Such studies should be coordinated with the NJ DEP ENSP, to assure that the individuals have the proper training. One student did take at least some of the training last year, but apparently did not pursue the studies any further.


Values and Visions for the Woodlands


As we proceed in our work, we need to all recognize that ultimately our values and visions do shape the way we choose to manage our woodlands. There is an interesting and certainly stimulating (likely to be very controversial) article in the May issue of Discover magazine that does make this point. And we do not all necessarily share the same ultimate vision for the woodlands. Some might prefer that they be more wild and, hopefully, lower maintenance. Others might prefer a more "managed," if not manicured look. Still others might find themselves somewhere between the extremes. Bob opened what needs to be a continuing discussion about such different visions by relating some of the management practices that have been used in his family's forests in England. We all need to listen to each other's concerns and, at this point, just reflect. In the future we will be using the results of our discussions to work out alternative management plans for the consideration of the Borough Council.


Bob spoke of the interest in having the woodlands cleared of dead trees that are leaning against living trees to minimize the chance they might take down the healthy trees.  He cited the woodlands on Fanny Road above the YMCA as an example.


He also suggested that a triangle of logs could be created from the dead tree to provide protection to young seedlings from deer and perhaps other threats.   As the tree grows, the logs will rot and decay and the forest will be regenerated.  This is the way it is done on his family’s forests in England.


He would also like to see the vines removed from the trees.


As we go forward, we need to use this space on the agenda to share, to weigh and to consider. Remember that this is as much a part of the task of this committee as is the fun stuff out in the woods.