Woodlands Management Committee Meeting Minutes

March 21, 2007


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


Guests: Josh Bingham




Minutes from the previous meeting are on the website.




Deer Exclosure:  Josh Bingham gave his presentation to the group.  He is in the process of getting his Eagle Scout project reviewed and approved by the local and area Scout Council. Jerry signed off on behalf of the Woodlands Management Committee. Josh hopes to begin by May 26 or 27 and be completed by June 2 or 3rd of 2007. The exclosure will be approximately 100 feet in diameter and about 7 feet high. It will be located in Wilcox Park near the trailhead off the upper end of Crestview Road. Josh’s project is to complete this enclosure; however, other scouts will manage the continued maintenance.  The fencing product is made by Benner. Josh is likely to get a 10-20% discount because this is a public service project, and there will not be a charge for sales tax.


Culling: The Tourne culling was done in 5 half-days (Tuesdays).  Over that period they culled 14 does and 10 bucks using firearms.  This program appears to be very effective. We should probably learn more about the methods used. In Mountain Lakes, bow hunters culled a total of 14 deer, including 11 does, over the course of the season, which ran from September through the end of the year.


We discussed the question of how many deer we now have in town. Since Martha regularly sees a group of 6 to 8 bucks in her yard, it appears that the number is not yet negligible. Jerry said that the deer count data should be coming in later this month from the Tourne County Park. That will be the best estimate we will have of local deer density since we did not take our own census.


Jerry noted the publication of a new book "Deer Wars; Science, Tradition, and the Battle Over Managing Whitetails in Pennsylvania," which compares the conditions leading to deer overpopulation in that state to "a perfect storm." Since Pennsylvania is hardly unique in this regard, the book is worth looking into.




Richard Uranker contacted Jerry to see what developments there were on the beaver situation at their new location on the springhouse trail. The current state is that our case manager at DEP, Chris Sliker, has not returned our phone call. Jerry recently got leads to two professional trappers but has not managed to make contact with either one yet.





Invasives Control Task Groups


The first field workshop on invasives is scheduled for Saturday, March 23 in Halsey Frederick Park across from the high school. It is expected that sufficient snow will have melted to permit our first two-hour session to be held as planned. It has been publicized in the Home and School Bulletin, the Borough website Calendar, and the Borough website Notice Board. Martha said that she would put a notice on the bulletin board at Borough Hall announcing the event. 


The April workshop is scheduled for Saturday, April 21 and has already been announced in the Home and School Bulletin. We scheduled the May workshop for Saturday, May 19th, Midvale Field/Haswell Park for the usual time, 10am to noon.


Restoration Issue


It has been noted that sometimes the simple removal of an invasive does not lead directly to the hoped for end result. Often the immediate result can be reappearance of the same or another invasive. For example, garlic mustard is removed, and stilt grass grows in its place. We need to be reminded that seeds for these plants can persist for years. Wherever it is possible and practical, native vegetation should be use to replace the invasives that have been removed. But this alternative is not necessarily practical especially until the deer population has been reduced to a manageable level.


Environmental Commission Work on Invasives


An Environmental Commission member, Kathy Harvey, has been assigned responsibility for working to educate residents, garden centers, and landscapers about invasive vegetation on private property.  Jerry is helping her to understand the issues and how to find the good sources of information.


Native Plant Society of New Jersey


The North Jersey chapter of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey meets at Pyramid Mountain monthly, normally on the second Tuesday at 7pm.  They are an excellent resource for information on native plants as well as control of invasives. All meetings are open to the public. They publish a good quarterly newsletter, and their website is www.npsnj.org .




Martha mentioned that perhaps we could contact the High School newspaper and have them do an article on the Woodlands Management Committee focus and need for help.



Mountain Lakes High School Environmental Club


The Mountain Lakes High School Environmental Club is planning several projects involving native plant restoration. One would be a riparian buffer restoration at the stream behind the ball fields next to the YMCA. They have also been monitoring the quality of streams in our woodlands by means of macroinvertebrate sampling. Their advisor, David Fewell, the high school biology teacher, will attend the next Woodlands meeting to discuss details.


NJDEP Bear Feeding Enforcement


The DEP has instituted a program to monitor compliance with bear feeding restrictions in the state. They are looking for instances of food or garbage being left out either intentionally or unintentionally. Accessible bird feeders are also a problem. Violators may be fined up to $1000 per offense. Details can be found in the Enforcement section of the NJDEP website.




A copy of the recent NYT article on earthworms has been put in the Earthworms section of the Woodlands website. Jerry noted that we do have plants in our woodlands that would not be there if we had excessive numbers of earthworms. Nevertheless, we should still do a more careful survey to better understand the risk potential.


Linda noted that the University of Minnesota has an excellent website, Great Lakes Worm Watch, devoted to this problem. It looks like the definitive source that we all should use. Jerry will make sure that we link our website to it. There is not a link yet so interested citizens should Google "university minnesota earthworms."