Woodlands Management Committee Meeting Minutes

December 21, 2005


Attendees: Martha Dwyer-Bergman, Cliff Miles, Phil Notestine, George Jackson, Linda Spencer-Green, Jerry Uhrig




George asked if all of us on the committee were interested in continuing to serve.  All agreed to continue. Jerry will contact Patty Graham about her availability.




Jerry said that the minutes for the last month's meeting are up on the website. He posted them using a tool provided by Mark Watrous of the Website Committee. The tool works very well. Mark deserves a lot of credit for a job well done.






Phil stated that two additional people from Mountain Lakes will join in the hunt with the United Bow Hunters of New Jersey. There will now be a total of seven hunters from Mountain Lakes.  The hunting will continue through January/February 2006. 


Martha reported that she has seen 4 does and one buck in her front and  back yards over the past month and saw deer at the corner of Pocono Road and West Shore Road.  Cliff noted that he has seen prints in the playing fields at the high school. 


There was a question of whether there will be posting of the Tourne hunt at the paths from Mountain Lakes.  George stated that he will look into it.




Jerry passed out handouts from Brian McDonnell of the Northeast Exotic Plant Management Team of the National Park Service, located in Bushkill Pa. 


Jerry had asked him about how they manage to staff their teams with enough people to do the job.  Brian explained that they rely on the use of herbicides to augment the effectiveness of their teams, usually a three-person crew.  For example, by treating Japanese barberry with an herbicide, they can leave the shrub in place and provide cover for the native plants replacing them.


Ailanthus Trees are sprayed with Garlon 4. It kills both the tree and the root system, which prevents regrowth.  However, a licensed person must apply the chemical.  There was a question regarding the long-term effects of this chemical.  Cliff said that he would do some research on it.


Somerset Environmental Education Center Efforts  Jerry met recently with Jane Parks of the Somerset Environmental Educational Center at the Great Swamp to discuss their efforts removing invasive plants.


Purple loosestrife had been a serious problem in that area until they removed it by digging out the roots with a long-bladed shovel. This worked well in their soil, which is more or less homogeneous muck without a lot of rocks. Unfortunately it is very different in our area. 


Jane also mentioned that the deer have been eating Ailanthus seedlings. It is not often that we hear anything positive about deer.


They have also had good luck finding high school volunteers who really seem to enjoy using the weed wrenches. 


Their biggest problem currently is wisteria. Their approach has been to dig it or pull it when they can and to use "cut and squirt" when the plant is to large. Woodlands Committee members noted that in Mountain Lakes, smaller lots are being overcome with wisteria along Fanny Road and along Lake Drive and Morris.


Devil's Walking Stick  Cliff said that devil’s walking stick (aralia spinosa) is on the Boulevard, Laurel Hill and at the high school; however, some have no thorns. At this point it is not clear whether the ones without thorns are actually aralia spinosa or not.




Asian Long-Horned Beetle  Cliff brought samples of the Asian Long-horned Beetle for everyone. We all agreed that it was quite a Christmas present. He also showed us a box that contained examples of the entire life-cycle of a beetle: a mature beetle, a piece of tree containing a hole made for depositing eggs, a beetle larvae, a piece of tree with an exit hole in it, and a section of tree showing the passages bored by larva. Such a box would make an excellent information display, perhaps at the library, if we could borrow one for a while.


Sudden Oak Death  Cliff also brought copies of a brochure "Phytophthora ramorum: Stopping the Spread." This brochure describes the nationwide effort to keep this disease in check, primarily by monitoring nursery stock. It also tells what to do if you suspect that a tree or plant is infected.


One troublesome aspect of this disease has been the different perceptions of risk. A recent report has been made available on the Sudden Oak Death website suddenoakdeath.org.  It can be found by selecting "Research" in the left-hand column and then selecting "Modeling Phytophtha ramorum" in the sub-list under it. The report is the result of a meeting of researchers at the USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station in Asheville, NC. Various models and the resulting risk assessments are presented.


Bacterial Leaf Scorch  Jerry passed out some recent material on this problem. I included a map which showed a considerably greater spread than the 1999 map shown on the BLS website maintained by the NJ Forest Service.  It is believed that insects carry it and spread it to a large selection of trees, especially Northern red oaks and pin oaks. Several other tree species, including other oaks, mulberry, sweetgum, and some maples are also affected but not yet to the extent of the Northern red oak and pin oak in New Jersey. In other states elms and sycamores are affected but such evidence has not yet been found in New Jersey.  If caught early enough the infected branch can be removed and the tree will not be threatened.  There are “host plants” that are not affected but carry the disease.  Evidence of the disease is that the leaf has a “scarring on the leaf surface” due to the lack of water to the leaf.   One question is how to properly dispose of the infected material from trees?


Our February meeting (the 15th) will be a joint meeting with the Shade Tree Commission to discuss the specific topic of threats to our trees. We need to be sure that we have a coordinated effort on this problem.


Other topics


Bears  Linda asked about the bears in town and whether the bow hunters are allowed to hunt them.  Cliff said there was one that broke a lot of ice on Wildwood Lake. No bear hunting is allowed in town.


Pocono Land  George mentioned that the land across from the Borough garage could use some attention. It is becoming a dumping area. We need to determine what kind of habitat to encourage.


Bio-Blitz  Cliff brought a report on the Lenape Park Bio-Blitz held in Union County last May. "A Bio-Blitz is an effort to identify the different forms of life that can be found in a given location over a 24-hour period." They identified "660 different species, ranging from mushrooms to oak trees, from ants to coyote and deer, and from bees and butterflies to hawks," all in a 45-acre park. This was the first Bio-Blitz ever held in New Jersey. The report gives details in seven categories: plants, fungi, insects, fish, reptiles and amphibians, bird, mammals.