ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY COUNCIL
MINUTES OF MEETING OF OCTOBER 24, 2005
Approval of Minutes: Dr. McEachron moved to approve the minutes of October 24, 2005. Dr. Kaner seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Dr. McEachron abstaining.
The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, October 24, 2005, in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Susan Sciarratta, Vice Chairman; Michael Kaner, Secretary; William Heil and Nancy Crescenzo, members. Also in attendance was John Boyle, Assistant to the Township Manager.
Call to Order
Ms. Sciaratta called the meeting to order at 7:40.
Approval of Minutes
Mrs. Crescenzo moved to approve the minutes of September 26, 2005. Dr. Kaner seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Ms. Sciarratta reported that she participated in the Delaware Riverkeepers Network stream assessment of Newtown Creek on October 12. The study began at North Drive and proceeded to Wrights Road, to the dam and on toward the Borough. The Riverkeepers followed a formal protocol, looking at flora and fauna, evaluating erosion, erosion potential, channel width and depth, and sediment deposit. They identified types of plants and invasive species, and looked for opportunities to help enhance the watershed and to slow stormwater influx. They will provide a written report of their findings, and return to take photographs. No chemical testing of the water was performed.
Except for noting some invasive plants, the Riverkeepers thought that the banks of the stream had been left intact during development, and that the stream is in good condition. Riverkeepers Network is willing to help establish a monitoring program and to help collect chemical data; it would also be able to guide the EAC in finding grant money to help establish an EAC baseline study of the creek.
Mrs. Crescenzo said that she had read in recent Park and Recreation Board minutes that they are beginning to evaluate the condition of the Clark Nature Center, and she would like to include the stream on that property in the EAC study. She said that if PRB is forming a committee to do this work that she would like EAC to be part of that committee. She strongly suggested that the EAC take on evaluation of the Clark property. She also said that if a study is to be done, the Community College Earth Science classes might provide students to collect samples and test them, as they are required to collect samples for class.
Ms. Sciarratta provided a copy of a habitat assessment prepared by the PADEP in 2004, based on a 2002 study of the Newtown Creek. It can be found at http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/watermgt/wqp/wqstandards/303d-Report.htm.
She said that Delaware Riverkeepers Network’s volunteer monitoring coordinator, Faith Zerba, trains volunteers in water monitoring methods. She said that Riverkeepers recommended that the EAC walk the entire creek.
The Council discussed whether to proceed with the award as a Township only project. They agreed to speak to Dr. McEachron about whether the Borough has expressed interest. It was decided to wait a few weeks, and if there is not a response from the Borough, to proceed as a Township project only, and include the Borough in subsequent years. If necessary, deadlines could be moved to accommodate delay in announcing the award.
The recording secretary will arrange to have copies of the award application and covering statement available for members to distribute at meetings of local business organizations. Additional copies will be available at the Township office, at the Codes Department office and on line through the EAC Web link on the Township Web site.
Review of Open Space
Mrs. Cresecenzo suggested that the EAC members each visit the Township owned property opposite Newtown Elementary School. She said that this might be a good location to test some ideas for open space use, such as reforestation and meadowing. She said that she has spoken to Representative David Steil about finding guidance for the EAC. He suggested contacting the Penn State Cooperative Extension or the Morris Arboretum.
Ms. Sciarratta said that they would need the advice of a naturalist about the surrounding vegetation before any project could begin. She suggested that this might be a good location to index endangered species.
Mrs. Crescenzo said that she would speak to Representative Steil again about finding a naturalist to help with this project.
Mr. Heil said that he would like to wait on any new projects until the Chairman is in attendance.
Ms. Sciarratta said that she had invited Jane Specter of JDNC to attend this evening’s meeting. She hopes that Ms. Specter will be able to attend a future meeting. She has also been in contact with Melanie Dickersbach, who had attended last month’s meeting, and is very interested in keeping abreast of the work that EAC is doing.
Mrs. Crescenzo urged the members to appeal to the Board of Supervisors to appoint a liaison to the EAC, and require regular attendance of that liaison. She also urged the members to outline their project goals for the upcoming year so that if money would be required, it could be included in the 2006 budget. She suggested that the EAC might benefit from more than just five members, and that the Council should discuss increasing the number of members.
Mrs. Crescenzo moved to adjourn at 8:30 PM. Mr. Heil seconded and the motion passed 4-0.