Woodlands Management Committee Meeting Minutes

November 16, 2005


Attendees: Martha Dwyer-Bergman, Bob Dewing, Linda Spencer-Green, Jerry Uhrig




Jerry brought to the meeting various information booklets for the committee to use:

·        Birds of Delaware Water Gap, listing all the birds found there and the seasons found,

·        Purple Loosestrife, identification and control,

·        Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas, the excellent guide to invasive plants published by the National Park Service,

·        Wild Wealth, a poster illustrating the benefits of native plants. 


It was suggested that perhaps we should find a way to use the borough library’s display case to share the poster and related materials with Borough residents.  Jerry said that the head librarian should be contacted about this.





Jerry said that the minutes for the last month's meeting should be up on the website soon.




We reviewed the list of Milestones for 2005 as a starting point for planning next year's goals.


We noted that the planned deer exclosures have not been erected due to the lack of sufficient funding to date. So this will be carried over as a goal for next year. 


We discussed the need for a more comprehensive, coordinated approach to invasive plant management. This should be done as early as possible next year. This should include locations and species together with remediation plans.  For example, there is a lot of burning bush on the Tourne trail behind Birchwood, knotweed along Pocono Road near the Borough garage, and purple loosestrife around Sunset Lake.


As noted last month, we will probably need to find a way to assess the effectiveness of our deer management activities.


Another useful goal would be a demonstration of the woodlands reforestation procedure proposed by Bob Dewing.


Jerry mentioned that there is some interest in having a second Eco-Hike trail located at Birchwood.  But there does not seem to be enough support for the work at this time. 






It is not too easy to get a complete count of the exact number of deer that have been killed by the bow hunters. We had some email to Phil from Dan at United Bowhunters of New Jersey, stating that "the deer totals are as follows: 8 does killed, one doe killed but not recovered until too late to eat it, and two bucks.”  Phil's note attached to the email mentioned a non-UBNJ hunter who had taken several deer. Phil pointed out that we need to have a tally of all the deer reported to the state. Susan Martka of the Fish and Wildlife Department should have the exact number of deer. Jerry mentioned that we also don’t know how many deer were killed as a result of impact with cars but that this number would be available from Gary Webb. Jerry thought that perhaps a total of 15 deer killed in town by various means would be a good rough estimate until we get better numbers. 


Recall that in January they will be culling in the Tourne County Park with shotguns.




            Recent Activities


Jerry removed all the remaining barberry and bittersweet on the sled run using the "cut-and-squirt" method.  Although he removed a fair amount of burning bush along the trails in the Tourne, there is still a lot that needs to be removed.  He also worked on the bittersweet along the ECO-Hike trail in Halsey Frederick Park. This approach is proving to be very labor intensive. If we are going to proceed in this manner, we need to look for more volunteers to help.




Martha reported that a young man called her home and she asked that he send her an email so that she could contact him directly; however, he has not followed up at this point.  Jerry will contact Patty McElduff to reconnect with the young man. 


We discussed what would be the best approach to using student volunteers in the removal of the invasives.  Jerry suggested that we could have a workshop to teach about the specific plants that we are removing or this could be done with a booklet on their own.  However, there may be problems with allowing them to claim volunteer time for preparatory work on their own.  We are probably going to have to determine what few (maybe only 3) specific plants we want to focus on and have the students only go after those plants in specific areas.








Linda explained that you can see this “Princess Tree” growing on Morris Avenue in Boonton near the train depot on the left side of the road close to the bridge; it has large leaves and beautiful flowers in the spring and grows to be very tall.


            Delaware Water Gap Demonstration Site


Jerry reported a 27-acre site near Walpack Center in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (DWGNRA). DWGNRA and the National Park Service Northeast Exotic Plant Management Team (EPMT) have cleared the site of non-native shrubs, brush, and plants so that grassy meadow areas can be re-established.  These fields provide habitat for the grassland bird populations, declining because of the loss of habitat caused in part by exotic plants. Park Superintendent John Donahue states, "The elimination of exotic species is critical to preserving the resources of this outstanding unit of the National Park Service."


There are 16 EPMTs stationed throughout the country so that they can coordinate a rapid response approach, similar to wildland firefighting, by creating a highly trained, mobile strike force of invasive plant management specialists.  The techniques used by these teams can assist parks in the management of their invasive plants.  For further information, contact Betsy Lyman Liaison, Northeast Exotic Plant Management Team 570 588 0513 or Larry Hilaire, Integrated Pest Management Coordinator, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area at 570 296 6952 ext. 27.




Jerry handed out the current Threat Priority List. Bob wondered why earthworms were perceived as a threat.  Linda and Jerry explained that the earthworms are not native to this area and when released into the woods they destroy the duff in the upper soil layer that is vital to other members of the ecosystem. This, in turn, contributes to the decline of the woodland habitat. 


There was a mention of the return to neighboring areas of gypsy moths in recent years.  Martha and Jerry explained the severity of the last infestation 20 years ago. Jerry said that the egg masses are now fairly common across the river in Pike County, PA.


Linda mentioned that the Shade Tree Commission would like to meet with Woodlands this coming year to discuss the threats to the trees that are coming closer to our community.  We need to compile a listing/guide of the diseases so that we have an understanding of the problems. We need to understand what are the long-term effects of those diseases and what types of plantings should be considered for the future.


Jerry handed out a sheet on the quarantine of firewood entering Pennsylvania from parts of New Jersey, along with New York, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan, and the list is growing.  The Asian Long-horned beetle and the Emerald ash borer are the two insects that are being watched.  See the Woodlands website for more information.



            Reforestation Demonstration


Bob Dewing proposed to do a demonstration this coming spring of how we might use certain dead trees in the woodlands as part of our reforestation activities.  The trees of interest are those which have partially fallen and remain leaning against other trees. Removal of such trees would mitigate possible damage to neighboring trees. Moreover, the fallen tree can be cut up and used to construct protective corrals for seedlings planted as part of our reforestation activities. The corrals decompose and provide food for the seedlings as they grow after sheltering them when they might be tender food for woodland browsers. Bob has used this procedure in his family's forests in England and believes that it might have useful application here. He would like to demonstrate it for us. We will choose a few such partially fallen trees, probably along Fanny Road up from the YMCA, for the demonstration.