Woodlands Management Committee Meeting Minutes

May 17, 2006


Attendees: Martha Dwyer-Bergman, Bob Dewing, Phil Notestine, Cliff Miles, Linda Spencer-Green, Jerry Uhrig. Louise Davis was unable to attend due a family illness.




Minutes from the April meeting are on the website. No changes were needed.




            Owl House at Birchwood There are two owl houses at Birchwood. At least one of them needs some attention. It is hanging from the bottom edge of the box. Bob will follow up on this.



                        Chronic Wasting Disease Status The April issue of Quality Whitetails, the monthly magazine published by the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), has an excellent status report on chronic wasting disease. For the most part, the disease is still found mainly in the western states. There is, however, one significant exception. Wherever deer and elk are imported and kept in captive herds, there is a risk of importing the disease. The cases found in upstate New York started with captive, imported deer. There are conflicts in some states between the deer farms, who would prefer to be regulated by the state department of agriculture, and the hunters, who feel that the state department of natural resources would do a better job. It is a situation that bears watching because if this disease becomes widespread in the East, it would be a major complication for deer management.




                        H&S article This month's invasives calendar advised people to bag any garlic mustard that they cut to avoid spreading the seeds. In the next article (September) we will tell them that they can cut woody invasives off at the ground and apply herbicide to the stump.


                        New Initiatives


Cliff also has seen an invasive plant called lesser celandine, a yellow buttercup-like flower with dark green leaves growing at the Wildwood Dam. (The dark green leaves fade to pale green by summertime.  This needs to be removed. Jerry added that the Burkett's have a significant patch of it in their back yard. Jackie Burkett has been successfully treating it with Round-Up. She has gotten rid of about half of it so far. Jerry also noted that this particular invasive has been a problem at the Tourne Wildflower Trail. The County Park staff used a more powerful herbicide on it. So far, it looks like they have been successful.



Jerry located a European Scythe from Maine to be able to cut down the Garlic Mustard plants successfully.  Other tools are not sharp enough to cut the plant rather it just bends over.


Martha suggested that we consider having the Sheriff’s department‘s “SLAP” program come and help us with the Garlic Mustard removal.  Phil suggested speaking with Chief Tovo regarding this.  She also suggested that we put up signs in heavy foot trafficked areas that point out areas of Garlic Mustard and request that they help us pull it out.  The signs need to be waterproof. 


Phil mentioned that the children who are making Confirmation need to have done community projects and we might be able to use these students help in the removal of Garlic Mustard.  We need to contact the local churches with the proposal.


Educating the Community:


Martha mentioned the use of the Library for educating the community by using the display cabinet.  Linda’s slide show could be put onto a DVD and be made available to the public or watched at the library.  The question is what do we want to focus on to educate the community?


 Linda suggested focusing on an event for the public to attend.  It was suggested that perhaps Bob’s tree planting could take place in September and that people could come and watch it.  It could be announced in the Home and School for September.  Also, we need to list ways that people can help us on their own. 


Phil mentioned that we have four seasons and that perhaps every season (3 months) there could be a notice sent out saying what needs to be done during this time period and what is happening in the natural world during this time.  Perhaps the various committees could come together and create this notice, highlighting each group’s interests: Shade Tree, Environmental Commission, Woodlands, Trails. Jerry mentioned that there are old Environmental Commission reports in the archives that we could use as resources.





                        Clean-up Demonstration Status Bob said that he will be speaking with Gary regarding the Tree Clean Up demonstration that will be done in the Early Fall.


Status of Lists for Shade Tree Commission


Jerry presented the status of the lists of trees for the Shade Tree Commission to work from in picking out appropriate trees to plant or to remove.



            Other Topics or Discussion


Cliff gave us an update on a new rust disease that is affecting the boxwood family.  This new disease has never been seen before. 


Cliff also showed us the official report on the Garlic Mustard article that was in the New York Times.  You can go to the site: http://biology.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pbio.0040140


and read the complete report in the Journal “Public Library of Science Biology” regarding the destruction of the soil fungi by Garlic Mustard that directly affects the ability of hardwood tree sapling to grow.


Cliff also mentioned that he had sighted a male Bluebird but it was apparently unable to find a mate and left the area.


Birchwood Lake understory is beginning to come back.  There have been an increased number of birds sighted in town - returning to the woodlands as a result of the understory growing back.


Cliff has seen a beaver swimming in Wildwood Lake.  And on the ECO-Hike trail there are baby foxes.


There was a general statement regarding the amount of chipmunks this year.  The cycle has swung to the increase in the population.


Phil mentioned that about three weeks ago in his neighborhood there was a fire set by some neighborhood children.  It burned about 200 square yards of woods before the fire was put out and the children were caught.  It will be interesting to see how the area regenerates itself and what new plants might appear. 


Phil mentioned that the Pine Barrens used to experience this type of stress before they began to strictly control forest fires. It is a natural occurrence which allows many types of native vegetation  to flourish.  Phil encouraged everyone to take a weekend trip down there to enjoy it.  Bob also suggested that you rent a canoe and travel down one of several rivers down there.


Jerry mentioned that the ECO-Hike trail has not been seriously vandalized so far this year. Only two of the signs have been removed.


Linda mentioned that the Shade Tree Commission is speaking with the landscapers regarding damage to root systems that can be caused by over-zealous cleanup efforts.


Martha told the members of the Memorial Day Market Day and said that she would be having a booth at the event.  She wants to give the town an update on what we are doing and having Garlic Mustard the highlight along with Bob’s tree event.  Perhaps we could have people sign up with their e-mail addresses if they want to help us in the future.


Finally, Cliff mentioned that he found an American Chestnut sapling on the ECO-Hike trail near stations 13 and 14.