NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY COUNCIL
100 MUNICIPAL DRIVE, NEWTOWN, BUCKS COUNTY, PA 18940
Meeting held on May 24 , 2010
The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, May 24, 2010 in the Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Chairman Jay McGuigan, Vice Chairman Pam Fitzpatrick, Dennis Annarelli (late), Walt Leck and Autumn Thomas, members. Also present was Planning Commission Liaison Dennis Fisher.
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 PM.
Approval of Minutes
Mr. McGuigan briefly reviewed the section of the minutes of April 26, 2010 on the SEPTA R-8 line, confirming that the EAC had only agreed to support a feasibility study for the line.
Ms. McGuigan moved to moved to accept the minutes of April 26, 2010. Mr. Leck seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
Mr. Leck reported that he had seen a demonstration of rain barrels at a recent conference on recycling in Georgia. He provided copies of the literature provided by the vendor to the members in attendance. He explained that the barrels are easily installed and easy to use for watering gardens. He would like to work with the EAC and Recyclebank to include the rain barrels as part of the offerings for redemption of Recyclebank points.
(Dr. Annarelli arrived at this point.)
Mr. Leck also showed a sample valve for a toilet which would reduce the amount of water needed for flushing to one gallon. This item had also been demonstrated at the conference.
The members discussed researching these two items further. Ms. Thomas said that it might be a good idea for the EAC to support their use and promote them on the Township Web site and in the “green corner” of the Township newsletter.
Mrs. Fitzpatrick said that the Park and Recreation Department had applied for a grant for an education program and rain barrels. Newtown Elementary School children were to have created a workshop on the use of rain barrels and were to have decorated them, but the grant was not received. She suggested that perhaps Recyclebank could team up with the Park and Recreation Board, Newtown Elementary School and the EAC to follow through on the project despite the loss of the grant funds.
Planning Commission: The recording secretary reported that although the Planning Commission did not meet in May, the Township Engineer did provide sample literature about stormwater management to the members for consideration in possibly creating a pamphlet to be included with residential permit and variance applications for increased impervious surface. She will try to obtain copies for the EAC as well.
Park and Recreation Board: Mr. McGuigan reported that he has not yet coordinated with the PRB on co-sponsoring a wildlife management program in our parks.
Wildlife Management: Mr. McGuigan said that he had given a presentation to the Board of Supervisors, who expressed some support for investigating costs associated with a controlled hunt in conjunction with the Tyler Park hunt on Township owned properties. He will contact each of the groups which have already presented to the EAC, outlining the location and conditions on the Township owned land and asking for estimates of costs and expected results.
Dr. Annarelli noted that not all Township owned land is appropriate for hunting due to proximity to schools, main traveled roads and densely populated residential area. He also suggested avoiding making any predictions of success or associations of cost with success. He noted some disappointments with results in Lower Makefield.
Mr. McGuigan said that information would have to be gathered quickly to be presented first to the EAC and then to the Board of Supervisors if any effort is to be made in conjunction with Tyler’s hunt this coming December.
Mr. Leck said that as a hunter he feels strongly that the best, most cost effective, results would be with bow hunters.
David Kimball of Big Oak White Tail Management was in attendance to review Big Oak’s offerings, noting that Big Oak provides background checks and id tags for all participating hunters. Big Oak has worked with Senator McIlhinney on obtaining red tags for municipalities, allowing hunting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for an extended hunting season. The key to success is access; the more properties involved, the more hunting permitted, the more successful the effort to cull the herd will be. Big oak would also work with private property owners to acquire permission to recover injured animals which have moved onto private properties.
Mr. Leck suggested that the Township use the first year as a trial, working only on a few of the Township owned large parcels such as Wiggins and Clark. The EAC could then collect data and present it to private property owners to expand the program in future years. It might be easier to gain cooperation if the residents learn that the hunt has taken place unobtrusively and successfully.
Energy Conservation: The recording secretary reported that the Jointure is beginning to consider drafting ordinances to address performance standards for alternative energy sources.
Green Corner: Ms. Thomas reported that she has submitted some information on tree trimming, planting and pruning for the next newsletter issue. She has also included some information on homemade, natural cleaning products to be used in place of chemical products. There will also be registration information for the fall tree-tenders class.
Mr. Leck suggested that Ms. Thomas investigate whether she could work with the youth offender/community service program for volunteers for clearing and mulching trails in the parks.
Mr. McGuigan reported that the EAC has received a letter rom wildlife biologist Gino D’Angelis, offering his services as a consultant as the Township pursues its efforts with culling the whitetail deer herd. It was not clear from Dr. D’Angelis whether this help would be as a volunteer. Mr. McGuigan will follow up,
Dr. Annarelli said that he had been copied on the letter and had been very impressed with Dr. D’Angelis’ qualifications.
Mr. McGuigan moved to adjourn at 9:00 PM. Dr. Annarelli seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Respectfully submitted by:
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary