Woodlands Management Committee Meeting Minutes

May 21, 2008


Attendees: Martha Dwyer-Bergman, Josh Bingham, Scott Goldthwaite, Judy Edwards, Cliff Miles, Phil Notestine


Guest: Lee Higgs




Scott chaired the meeting.


Minutes from the previous meeting are on the website.




Cliff mentioned that a bear was caught in the area. Phil produced the flyer on the Black Bear Awareness Program.   It will be held at the Mountain Lakes Library on June 11 Wednesday at 7:30, it will be presented by Michelle Ruggiero of the NJ State DEP Fish and Wildlife Department.  Three groups in town are sponsoring this program: Woodlands Committee, Environmental Commission and the Police Department.




Cliff spoke of an article in the Audubon Magazine that discusses invasive plants that was very good.  He will try to reproduce another article published in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens magazine that is also excellent on invasives.  He mentioned that there was a Carolina Blog that features Invasive multi-flora rose.  Members commented on the fact that there are barberry bushes all over the town. National Public Radio has also been doing features on invasive purple loosestrife.  Phil stated that Pocono Road has a large amount of Japanese Knotweed.  Cliff has noted that he has spotted Royal Polonium trees growing at the Fusee property, corner of Morris and Fanny. They have purple wisteria-like flowers.


Invasives Field Work Plans:


May 31st is the next work day.  The general consensus was that the group needs to focus on garlic mustard (until it has finished going to seed) and knotweed this summer.  Locations that were discussed were Pollard Road for garlic mustard, Birchwood for return attack on knotweed.  Lee asked what knotweed was, and members of the group explained that it was growing along Pocono Road across from the Borough Hall. Judy said that Round Up is good for treating knotweed but that you have to stay on top of it for a number of years.





Mountain Lakes Day/Memorial Day:


Cliff will see if he can get more Asian Long Horn Beetles for the booth.



Other topics:




Lee Higgs introduced himself as a returning Mountain Lakes resident.  He is very much interested in the beaver concerns and the deterioration of the trails in town. Phil gave an overview of the mission statement of the Woodlands with a focus on deer management and invasive plant removal.  Lee mentioned that he saw a coyote near the new development on Fanny Road.  Lee brought in two photos that he had downloaded from Google Earth that showed the Beaver Dam in the Tourne.  There was a discussion as to exactly where it was and the location of the newest dam that is causing the Blue Trail to be destroyed.  Phil gave us an overview of the workshop that he attended on Beavers and reported back that the experts have determined that it is best to do nothing and that the beavers will self monitor and not continue to extend their territory beyond 50 feet in either direction of their dam/lodge.  They will allow the creation of a new habitat for birds and other wildlife.  Lee Higgs mentioned that he had read that introducing a long plastic tube that begins 15 feet upstream from the dam and continues through the dam can lower the water level enough to have the beavers move on or at least control the height of the water level for flood control.  Lee said that the trail is blocked off by the flooding and hikers are confused as to how to get around this area and he has had to direct hikes to other trails.  Most of this land is in Mountain Lakes. Only the original dam is in the Tourne County Park.  Lee mentioned that in the 1930’s this area was a swamp and that the way it was drained was to cut three “streams” to drain it.  Lee asked what can be done about the loss of the trail and how to correct the trail map for hikes.


Phil concluded that the beavers will not be removed but Phil asked Lee to consider restarting the Trails committee.  Phil asked Lee what he would do to make improvements: The blue Trail ends at the flooded area and perhaps it should be rerouted; there needs to be better signage with both the Tourne and Mountain Lakes trails shown in both areas: mileage needs to be marked for the various trails.  Scott spoke of Tom Carr’s work on the trails and that Tom is very involved in the Morris County Parks’ trails.  There is a group that is called the Morris Trails and they advise the Park Commission on maintaining the trails in the parks.  There is also the NY/NJ Trails Conference that offers information and workshops for trail maintenance that Scott has attended.  There was a discussion on the possibility of building a bridge over the flooded area and it was decided that the DEP would need to be contacted before a bridge could be constructed.  Tom Carr would be someone to get involved in this idea.  Scott said that he would be very interested in helping Lee with the repairs on the trails.