Woodlands Management Committee Meeting Minutes

January 17, 2007


Attendees: Martha Dwyer-Bergman, Phil Notestine, Cliff Miles, Jerry Uhrig


Guests:  Andy Kohler, Josh Bingham, Sam Kohler




Minutes from the December meeting are on the website.


The Scouts’ attended to observe a meeting and the process of communications. They were encouraged to go to the Woodlands section of the Mountain Lakes Borough website to get a better understanding of the depth of information that the Woodlands has gathered on the list of concerns.  For example, there are color photographs of the invasive plants that we are concerned about. 




Cliff mentioned that he has seen gray foxes in town this winter.


Audubon Christmas Bird Count: The grouse reported the past two years (the first in a number of years) was observed in the Green Pond section of Denville near Wildcat Ridge. A new bird added this year was a golden eagle. 


The American chestnut tree in Valhalla Glen has died. This tree was remarkable in that it actually lived long enough to bear chestnuts. It is very rare that any American chestnut tree lives this long without succumbing to the blight. It was over 30 feet tall.


Phil mentioned that he has seen robins in the past month. 


There was a cougar reportedly spotted in Roxbury.  


Coyotes seem to have moved away from our area.




Phil said that he had no new numbers as to the past month's culling so the number taken by the bow hunters so far this season still stands at 11, 3 bucks and 8 does.  Bow hunters are using baiting stations. 


Jerry handed out a letter from the Morris County Park Commission informing that they will be culling deer in Tourne County Park on Tuesday mornings from January 9 through February 6.  On January 9, there were 11 deer taken, 9 bucks and 2 does.






The beaver activity reported in the two previous months continues. A large beech tree has been completely girdled and will die. All of the sapling root sprouts (about 10 of them) around the tree have been chewed off and removed. Most of the saplings were fairly substantial trees themselves, 20 to 30 feet tall. They have all been removed without a trace. This was definitely not done by a single beaver working alone. The trees would be too heavy, and there is not enough open water to float them. Cliff said that it is likely that there could be between 6-8 beavers in the area. It is expected that when we find the saplings we will find the beaver lodge.


We walked the site on December 21 with a trapper who has a permit to trap beavers in this area. The trapping season is from December 26th – Feb. 9th.  Gary Webb will be contacting the trapper on Friday Jan. 19th.  The trapper wanted to wait for a freeze to enable him to walk the area more easily. Jerry hasn’t seen any traps yet.


If the volunteer licensed trapper is not successful, then there are professional trappers we can call. Contact information was provided to us by a state biologist, courtesy of Phil Notestine.


Aside from damage to the woodlands, beavers can be quite destructive to lakeshore property if they become established. There have been sightings in our lakes and ponds, the most recent being a beaver spotted in Wildwood Lake in June by Cliff Miles. But there haven't been any reports of damage yet.


Eagle Scout Projects


Jerry explained that one of our projects is to build several exclosures of about ¼ acre for observation of how the site might recover from deer browsing. Benner Fencing, which is 7 feet high, will cost $2,000. So far we have about half the funds needed to complete this project so we are looking for additional funding.


A member of the New Jersey Native Plant Society at the January 9 meeting reported using a different approach. She has built a deer exclosure consisting of 3 concentric rings 3 feet high. She said that the deer do not cross over it to enter into her relatively small native plant garden.  This is very interesting, and Jerry will be doing a site visit to see how it is built. The major question is whether this type of exclosure would be effective for a larger plot. If it can be scaled to a reasonably sized area or if we could reduce the size of our control areas, it would simplify maintenance and very like reduce the expense by quite a bit.


The Scouts explained that they need community service hours as well as larger projects that they can scope, manage, and find support funding.  Two projects under consideration are benches at the tennis courts and clean up at Kaufman Park.


As for volunteers, the scouts explained that the high school US Government class requires that all students work 20 hours as part of the course requirements.  Also, that most churches require their youths to do community service.  Girl scouts also do community service projects.  In Boonton Township, the scouts have done stream bank restoration. Current Eagle Scout projects in Mountain Lakes are bluebird houses and bat houses.


It is very likely that both the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts could find some very worthwhile projects helping with control of invasive vegetation throughout our Borough. Restoration of native plants would be an important aspect of such a project.




A suggestion was made that the landscaping companies should become educated about invasive plant problems. Jerry said that Woodlands had an agreement with the Environmental Commission that they would take care of invasives on private property. Working with landscapers would be part of it.


January’s Woodlands article in the Home and School Bulletin stated that there would be a series of Saturday workshops to educate the public as to the most common invasives that we have in our woodlands and how to control them.


Our first Invasives Control Task Group Project will take place on Saturday, March 24 from 10am till noon at the Eco-Hike Trail across from the high school. Martha said that she received a phone call from Penny Leman to say that she was volunteering to help. Hopefully, many other residents will follow Penny's fine example.