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 October 22, 2007

 

The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, October 22, 2007 in the Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Donald McEachron, Chairman; Susan Sciarratta, Vice Chairman; William Heil and Jay McGuigan, members.

Call to Order

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

Approval of Minutes

Mr. McGuigan moved to accept the minutes of September 26, 2007. Mr. Heil seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Chairman’s Report

Dr. McEachron reported that he has spoken with Mary Kremper and Patricia Armillei of Council Rock School District’s Science Department about involving students in future EAC projects. He said that they were receptive to the idea; the next step would be to meet with the individual science teachers.

Open Space Evaluation

Mr. McGuigan has been working on the evaluation form and a master list of properties. He will forward copies of the final drafts to the members. The members agreed to meet informally on Friday evening, November 9, 2007, to work with maps to gather preliminary data on the various open space parcels, prior to on-site evaluations.

Ms. Sciarratta said that the Delaware Riverkeepers Network offers some free technical assistance for watershed evaluation. She would contact them for more detailed information about what help would be available through C-SAW, Consortium for Scientific Assistance for Watersheds.

Mr. McGuigan said that various organizations and committees have been discussing the referendum on Open Space Preservation that will be on the ballot on Election Day. The members briefly discussed the referendum, and agreed that they are in support, and would like to see funding for the preservation of open space throughout Bucks County. It was noted that the referendum would allow, in addition to open space preservation, projects to preserve and/or improve riverfront, parks and historic sites within the more densely populated areas of the county.

Mr. McGuigan moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors support the referendum on Open Space Preservation. Ms. Sciarratta seconded and the motion passed 4-0.

Wildlife Management

Mr. McGuigan said that he would like to have some of the information on deer and deer/car accidents published in the Newtown News. He has written to the address on the newsletter, but had no response. He will contact Mr. Boyle to learn how to publish this information. The members agreed that keeping the public informed about the data, with times and locations of frequent deer/car accidents could help drivers to be more alert to possible danger spots. Mr. McGuigan will wait until the new year to check with the police department to update the map and charts.

The members were concerned that recent news coverage and letters to the editor about deer hunts in neighboring communities have generated a good deal of negative response. It was agreed that perhaps the EAC should begin a campaign of public education on the various issues involved in all aspects of wildlife management, rather than focusing on deer herd management. Dr. McEachron suggested that an educational approach should first address the misconception that wildlife does not have to be managed. Dr. McEachron said that the EAC could possibly benefit from information that will be available from the Natural Resource Study being conducted by the Heritage Conservancy at the Clark Nature Center. Data on damage caused by deer, erosion, invasive plants, etc. at Clark would be helpful in evaluating similar damage on open space throughout the Township; recommendations for mitigating any damage could also be relevant elsewhere in the Township.

EcoStar

Dr. McEachron said that the Quaker Meetinghouse is taking a green approach to some new construction. He suggested approaching them with the Ecostar application.

Ms. Sciarratta said that Council Rock has initiated a “green” task force to address energy efficiency. She would contact them about the award.

The recording secretary said that she would include information on the award in the next Newtown Business Commons newsletter.

Liaison Reports

Newtown Creek Coalition

Dr. McEachron reported that the Coalition has begun to work with County Commissioners on funding for a full scale analysis of the Creek. If funding is sought, the Newtown Creek Coalition, which has been an informal gathering of representatives of various Township and Borough organizations, would have to become a more formal entity. Currently there are no guidelines or bylaws.

Ms. Sciarratta said that there has been some documentation that the Creek is in pristine condition. If it were to become an “exceptional value” watershed as part of the Pennsylvania Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, regular monitoring could be required. Ms. Sciarratta and Dr. McEachron agreed to continue to investigate this through the Coalition.

Correspondence

Ms. Sciarratta reported an invitation to participate in the BuxMont EAC Summit in Doylestown on October 24, 2007. Dr. McEachron volunteered to attend this meeting.

Ms. Sciarratta reported that she has an e-mail from Emily Dickenbach of Lockheed Martin offering to help with any community projects EAC is involved in.

Mr. Heil and Ms. Sciarratta reported that John Duggan of the Newtown Borough EAC had contacted them about USA Environmental Management’s presentation on leaf recycling. It was Mr. Heil’s understanding that very expensive equipment is required. The members discussed the idea of leaf recycling, and agreed to consider it, although their initial reaction was that this would be more appropriate to areas with more mature trees and short front yards, where leaves could be raked to the gutter for pick-up. The members also discussed whether BFI is including some kind of leaf recycling in its trash pick-up service, as customers are being encouraged to bag leaves in paper bags for a separate pick-up.

Without objection the meeting adjourned at 9:00 PM.

 

Respectfully submitted by:

 

Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary