NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY COUNCIL

100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940

Internet: http://www.twp.newtown.pa.us

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Minutes for the meeting held on November 27, 2006

 

The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, November 27, 2006, in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Donald McEachron, Chairman; Susan Sciarratta, Vice Chairman; Michael Kaner, Secretary, William Heil and Jay McGuigan, members.

Call To Order

Dr. McEachron called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.

Approval of Minutes

Mr. McGuigan moved to accept the minutes of October 23, 2006. Dr. Kaner seconded and the motion passed 4-0-1, with Mr. Heil abstaining.

Chairman’s Report

Dr. McEachron reported that he had attended the Board of Supervisors’ meeting on November 21, 2006. He updated the Supervisors on the open space evaluation. He asked the Supervisors to include the EAC in the 2007 budget, as supplies would be needed to conduct the open space evaluations.

Dr. McEachron attended a joint meeting with Newtown Borough’s EAC and Planning Commission and the JDNC, at which a committee was formed to address the revitalization of the Newtown Creek. The committee discussed ways to better utilize the creek as a resource in the downtown area. He indicated that the committee would be looking for liaisons from both Township and Borough EAC’s Planning Commissions and the Park and Recreation Board.

Mr. Heil moved to send a liaison to the joint creek committee. Mr. McGuigan seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Discussion of Projects

Newtown Creek

Dr. McEachron reported that he has made contact with Council Rock School District about recruiting volunteers for this project and the open space evaluation. The grant recipients were to be announced in mid-November. There is no announcement on the Fish and Wildlife Web site, nor has the EAC received any written notification. Dr. McEachron said that he would telephone in the next few weeks to follow up on the application. He noted that frequently first applications are not successful, but that he would suggest re-submitting the application in the next round of grants.

Open Space Evaluation

Dr. McEachron noted that the Bucks County Courier Times had printed an article about the project.

Mr. McGuigan said that he has made no changes to the draft form. The members agreed that it would be a good idea to first attempt to use the form as is, to better gauge its effectiveness as an evaluation tool. The members each agreed to test the form individually on open space near their homes, and together at the Clark Nature Center. After trying to evaluate some properties using the form, they could better discuss the number system and the ease of use of the form.

Ms. Sciarratta said that she has asked both the Heritage Conservancy and the Township Codes Department for various maps that would be used in the evaluation. She suggested that, if the maps are available, the members could look at them together during a meeting to train themselves in using map information on the evaluation forms.

Dr. McEachron suggested that if there is money in the budget for the EAC, a digital camera and portable GPS could be purchased to help with the evaluations.

Ecostar Award

Dr. McEachron said that he informed the Board of Supervisors of the EAC’s decision to award the Ecostar to the Law School Admission Council. He will follow up with the Supervisors as to a presentation time. The members agreed that if the award were presented with some fanfare, it might generate interest in applications for next year’s award.

Member Comments

Mr. McGuigan said that he had attended a lecture on deer population control hosted by Lower Makefield Township. The speaker advocated the use of sharpshooters to cull the herd. As explained at the lecture, teams of sharpshooters would first establish a feeding pattern with the herd in open areas removed from populated areas. After the herd has begun gathering in the feeding areas, sharpshooter teams shoot the deer. A follow-up hunt with bow and arrow takes place a week after the initial hunt. The speaker said that this method has proven much more effective than birth control for reducing herds. The cost is about $200 per deer.

The members discussed the negative effects that the large deer population has on the environment. In addition to being a danger to motorists, the deer carry ticks and diseases, the deer destroy plant life and their waste contaminates the groundwater.

The Council agreed that the EAC should begin to first investigate whether Newtown needs to control the deer population. Mr. McGuigan said that the speaker recommended a “tick drag” to determine an increase in ticks. There should also be some research into whether there has been an increase in lime disease and car accidents. An inventory of the deer population should be conducted. If it is determined that Newtown should address deer population control, a public education program would be needed.

Ms. Sciarratta suggested that the Council discuss deer management with the Park and Recreation Board, which has been very concerned about the deer population in the public parks and open space. It might be possible to work on a public education project jointly.

Because the fourth Monday of December is Christmas, the members agreed to try to schedule a special meeting in December. The recording secretary would check for room availability

Mr. McGuigan moved to adjourn at 9:30 PM. Dr. Kaner seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

Respectfully submitted by:

 

Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary