Minutes for the meeting held on April 23, 2007


The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, April 23, 2007 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 7:30PM.

Approval of Minutes

Dr. Kaner moved to approve the minutes of March 26, 2007. Ms. Sciarratta seconded and the motion passed 3-0-2, with Messrs. Heil and McGuigan abstaining.

Open Space

Dr. McEachron reported that the Township Technology Department had been unable to help him with maps needed for the open space inventory. He has requested help from Township Planner Judith Stern Goldstein, but has not gotten a response yet. If Ms. Goldstein is not able to provide the mapping that he has requested at a cost below the cost proposed by the Natural Lands Trust, he will speak to the Board of Supervisors about authorizing the expenditure. The Council members agreed that it might be a better idea to speak to the Supervisors during a work session, when he could have a more open discussion than to discuss the request during the EAC report at a televised meeting.

Newtown Creek

Ms Sciarratta reported that the application to the PADEP was mailed on April 13, 2007. She said that Riverkeepers might have some other resources available to help the EAC.

Newtown Creek Coalition

Dr. McEachron provided copies of Coalition minutes and maps of the creek to the members, along with the emergency response plan in the event of a complete failure of the dam. He said that the Coalition has decided to remain as an unofficial group. The Coalition has requested that Newtown Borough and Township EAC’s perform and creek walk and evaluation this spring. The creek has been divided into sections for the evaluation. Bucks County Community College students of environmental science will be performing water quality analysis.

Ms. Sciarratta said that a protocol exists for evaluating the stream. She suggested that she could provide copies to every group involved in the stream walk/evaluation so that the same criteria are consistently used.

Resident Roger Taylor urged the EAC to pay special attention to the area of the creek upstream of the dam, between the dam and Wrights Road. He briefly discussed the difficulty in accessing Hidden Lake and the county dam.

The members agreed to target the second week in June for the walk. They agreed to take photographs to document the walk. Mr. McGuigan suggested that if private property is involved in the walk, a letter should be sent to the homeowner in advance, followed up with a telephone call, to explain the nature of the evaluation project.

Wildlife Management

Mr. McGuigan said that he has been following neighboring municipalities’ approaches to wildlife management. Upper Makefield and Lower Makefield are both conducting extensive research. He will be attending meetings in June at which their findings and recommendations will be presented. He suggested that, because the deer population problem is regional, it might be a good idea to learn what our neighbors have decided and gear our efforts toward learning from them and working with them.

Dr. Kaner reported that he has researched the public health issues. He provided each member with a CD of some of the articles and statistics he has found. Lyme Disease has been a reportable illness since 1987. The incidence has been steadily rising; in Pennsylvania it has gone from 13 cases per 100,000 residents to 97 per 100,000. Bucks County has the highest incidence in Pennsylvania. Reducing deer populations does not necessarily reduce the incidence of Lyme Disease because the deer ticks have adapted ot other hosts.

Dr. Kaner found research that indicates that ecologists believe that permanent damage will occur and forest sustainability will be forever reduced if aggressive measures are not taken to control deer population.

Dr. Kaner said that one reason for the rise in the reported Lyme Disease cases is better diagnosis and public education; because the symptoms are frequently vague, it is sometimes undetected or misdiagnosed.

The Council discussed coordinating efforts in research and in possible response to wildlife management with our neighboring municipalities.

Member Comments

Ms. Sciarratta reported that she had attended the Leck & Son program at Rosebank Winery earlier this month. Leck has contracted with The Recycling Bank for recycling. Customers will receive new recycle bins with lids. Each bin will have a bar code. Recyclables will be weighed, and each customer will earn coupons from local businesses are reward, based on the amount of recycled materials collected. She suggested keeping this in mind when the EAC begins searching for deserving recipients for next year’s Ecostar Award.

Ms. Sciarratta reported that Lower Makefield has recently adopted a low impact development ordinance to address reduction in stormwater run-off. She suggested that the EAC review this ordinance for comparison with our own stormwater management requirements.

Mr. McGuigan reported that Goodnoe Elementary School participated in Arbor Day celebrations recently. They held a poster contest promoting environmental awareness. Posters are now on display along State Street.

Because the fourth Monday of May is Memorial Day, the members agreed to attempt to schedule a special meeting in mid-May. Available dates would be circulated among the members.

Dr. Kaner moved to adjourn at 9:00 PM. Mr. McGuigan seconded and the motion passed unanimously.


Respectfully submitted by:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary