Woodlands Management Committee Meeting Minutes
November 20, 2013
Attendees: Martha Dwyer-Bergman, Richard DeVenezia, Margaret Gossett, Jerry Uhrig
The DPW has been very helpful this year to the extent that available resources allowed. Trees have been cleared from trails, and the beaver dam has been dismantled. This year, we began reforestation throughout that area, with the planting of nearly 100 black gum seedlings. Next year, in conjunction with DPW resources, we hope to improve the signage throughout our parks to facilitate compatible usage among all residents and visitors.
We have obtained seedlings from the NJ Forestry Dept for the past two years. They are a good source but you do have to accept seedlings in bundles of 100 for each species ordered. In out case, this means we do not get much diversity in any one year. Our first year in the program, we ordered 600 seedlings. This was too many to manage even though we did get them all planted. Last year, we ordered a more modest number, 200. This was definitely more manageable but we did not get our preferred species. So this year we are placing our order early, hopefully before all the preferred species are gone. We are going to give priority to our wetland reforestation and try to get red maples and spicebush.
We have had an interest for some time in finding ways to use the Borough Library to help residents understand some of the current woodlands management issues and how they are being discussed. The Woodlands Committee has a number of books that would be helpful in this regard. We are hoping that the Borough Library might be a good means of making these books available to interested residents and students. This would be in support of our Educational Goal for 2014.
Proposed Bear Legislation
A question was raised about the potential impact on deer management of recently proposed bear legislation which apparently could restrict the use of feeding stations by bow hunters. The general feeling was that we will have to understand it better to more realistically assess the ramifications.
We have this yearŐs chestnut seeds planted. We learned this year of the importance of the part of the protocol which specifies applying cayenne pepper to the area around newly planted seeds. Jerry planted two seeds on a Thursday and did not return until Saturday with the pepper. In the meantime, one of the seeds had been dug up and eaten: the work of a raccoon.
Deer Exclosure Repair
The only recent work to report was done by Dave Fewell and his students. Hopefully, some of us will find some time for it in the near future.
Deer Management in the County Park
According to signs posted in the Tourne County Park, they are currently participating in a deer management program using bowhunters, similar to the one in the Borough.
We need to clarify the signage, particularly in Richard Wilcox Park, so that visitors have a clear understanding of whether they are on Borough Parkland or County Parkland. The boundaries are not simple by any means, and different rules apply. It is not fair to hold people accountable in a situation that is so vaguely defined.
We will always have invasive vegetation spreading throughout our woodlands as long as such vegetation continues to be planted by the Borough, the schools, and by residents. This is why the Centennial Cove Project in particular and our Education Goal for 2014 in general are so vitally important.
For the convenience of the reader, our 2014 Goals are included.
Woodland Goals 2014
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Desiderata, first stanza
Education – Help residents to understand what constitutes a healthy forest and what role they can play as keepers of the Commons.
Explore possibility of having a Woodlands section in the Borough Library
Help residents understand the critical importance of:
Centennial Native Plant Garden at the Cove to woodlands management;
Town-wide cleanup to gaining a healthy appreciation for the woodlands environment;
Centennial American Chestnut Project to fostering woodlands appreciation across generations.
Management – Within the resources available, continue the ongoing management programs.
UBNJ Deer Management Program
Invasive vegetation removal
Trails management, e.g., clarify signage and rules