Woodlands Committee December 17, 2008


Present: Philip Hoffman, Junior at Mountain Lakes High School working towards Eagle Scout level, Phil, Martha, Bob, Charles, and Judy,


Minutes were accepted by all present.


Bob Dewing presented his overview of the Woodlands Husbandry and gave out handouts to all members.  His approach is to take a pocket park and create an actively managed lot. His suggestions are the lot at the corner of Morris Avenue and Crane where the stop sign is located or on the Boulevard near the Boonton boarder.  It is the second lot on the left hand side from Boonton.  It is imperative that the neighbors get involved with the project so that they will continue to maintain it afterwards.  Charles commented on the Summit discussions on the need for high profile projects and the importance of educating the public.  Bob stated that a small lot is needed to insure assistance and to measure the recovery and regeneration of the site.  Both sites have bittersweet and garlic mustard.  Bob will be contacting the neighbors to introduce them to the recovery of the site and to measure their willingness to participate in the project including the watering of the plants that maybe introduced to the site.  The time line for this project will be a few months in the Spring.


The High School is looking for a year project that will start in the Briarcliff level in 2009.  The idea is to be “Growing Trees”; they will plant trees while they are at Briarcliff and then move them to the High School for the next four years, in the fourth year the trees will be planted in a specific location within the town.  The size will begin with one gallon containers and graduate to 5 gallon containers.  The gardening contractors will be contacted to save the containers and also ask if they will donate soil for the seedlings.  The quantity of trees is estimated to be planted in containers will be 50 with a probable survivorship of 25 after 4 years that will be planted at the height of 6 ft tall, thus a possibility of 200 trees growing. The trees would be placed in the internal courtyard within the High School.   American Chestnut Coop Foundation has free trees available.  The High School has agreed to this idea and there will be an overview that will be handed out that explains the concept.  There will be a need for 50 small pots and soil to begin this project followed by transportation to the High School,  during the summer there will be a need to water the plants, and when planted in the environment each tree will have a white sleeve/tube to protect it from wildlife.  The project will be combined with Arbor Day events in the town.  There will be a need for a one page write up within the Home and School explaining the project that should go into the March issue.


Philip Hoffman, a junior at Mountain Lakes High School working towards Eagle Scout level, presented his Invasive Plants project to the committee.   Jerry Uhrig and Phil Notestine have spoken with Philip in regards to this project and Jerry has agreed to be the contact person for Philip.  His proposal is to offer to the residents within the borough an assessment of the invasive plants on the property and then remove them.  He has already gotten the commitment of other scouts to assist him in the removal of the plants.  He will be putting notices in the newspapers requesting sites.  He has done research on Google.  The committee offered suggestions as to including a handout with photo identification of invasive plants and the life cycle/stages of plants and the process of proper removal of the plants.  It was suggested that Philip limit the invasive plants to the top 5 so that he can focus his efforts.  Philip needs to write up an implementation plan for the committee.  It was also suggested that he go to the local nurseries and see what is available to be planted and what should not be planted.  Drew University professor, Susan Webb, and Doug Morrison were suggested as excellent resources for Philip to contact.


Phil Notestine spoke of his contact with Rich Radis and the Fauna ID for our NRI.  This morning, Wednesday Dec. 19th, 2008, Phil and Mr. Radis walked the parklands behind the Village to King of King’s Church. They observed that the under story was coming in well although there was old browsing still evident. They saw a lark flock of about 30 turkey – several hens and their collective poults; the tracks of a small bear but few signs of deer.  There was a large area, about 6 feet in diameter with reddish-brown spots on top of the snow that was both odoriferous and curious; they thought it might be a fungus bloom.  They also walked the area around Tower Hill Road and observed this it is badly browsed but there is evidence of plants budded out - thus the area will be coming back as the deer herd lessens.  There were footprints of coyote and fox; however there were also footprints that were unknown, due to the rain over the snow, causing track deterioration.  Rick Radis was informed of the probable Fisher Cat that was heard a few years ago in that area. They are now reported in all counties of New Jersey. Rick Radis asked the committee to contact him if we have made any observations and email them to him: isotria@verizon.net


Update of the Bow Hunters is not yet available. The last number taken was 14, well over that of the last two years, to date. There have not been many deer sightings but there was a large bear at Kathy Harvey’s home under the deck of a neighbor.  Bears give birth every two years.  On Arden Road there was a deer killed by a bear this fall (in November).


Radis, Notestine and Scott Goldthwaite had examined part of the Wilcox Park on December 3rd. They noted that the Beaver Pond at the edge of the Tourne has caused the trail to be submerged under water.  It has been decided to leave the beavers alone.  Cliff suggested that perhaps a boardwalk be built in that area. Phil added that the beavers were doing such a good job on their dam, that it could soon become the trail bed, once again. Deer damage was “on the mend”, and signs good signs were observed.


Charles asked about the new markings on the trees in the Tourne. No one knew about them.


A walk to the Beaver Pond in January was suggested for the Committee.


Phil urged the committee to consider buying the new series of Audubon books.


Cliff notified us that the Christmas Bird Count was going to take place soon.


Our brunch for Jerry and Lynn will be in January the date will be determined later.  It will be held at Martha Dwyer-Bergman’s home at 61 Tower Hill Road on a Sunday, either 18 or 25 January.


Phil went over the Proposed Budget for 2009 and suggested that the request for the infra-red counting of the deer be dropped as the observation of the deer have been very limited and it would save the Borough $5,000.00.  Charles suggested that funds be added to the budget for the purchasing of soil and pots for the tree growing project at the High School.