Meeting held on May , 2011

The Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council met on Monday, May 23, 2011 in the Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Co-Chairmen Jay McGuigan and Autumn Thomas, Sanford Bender, Shannon Escalante and Perry Katz, members and Dennis Fisher, Planning Commission Liaison.

Call to Order

Ms. Thomas called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.

Approval of Minutes

Mr. McGuigan moved to approve the minutes of April 25, 2011. Ms. Thomas seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

New Business

Geese Management Presentation: Brandon Shaff of Geese Management, Langhorne, was in attendance to discuss methods for controlling the nuisance of geese on public properties. He explained that brings border collies to the properties with goose problems to harass the geese. He visits on a regular basis, in some instances more than once a day. This can disrupt the feeding schedule of the geese. Over time, the geese will begin to avoid the properties where his dogs are visiting. While it prevents subscribers’ properties from being damaged by the geese, it does not help to reduce the overall population. The geese will move from the properties he services to other properties. He explained that there are both migrating geese and resident geese. Resident geese, when harassed, only move a short distance away. If the process of management is started in early spring, it can prevent the geese from nesting and reproducing. He will also find nests and coat eggs with corn oil, which will prevent them from being hatched.

In response to questions from the Council members, Mr. Shaff said that the goose droppings are unsightly and can pollute waterways. Typically geese will drop 1-3 pounds of feces each day. While the droppings do carry bacteria, there is no particular disease specifically attributed to geese.

The members asked for some idea of costs for his services.

Mr. Shaff explained that he provides year round service and the costs vary depending on the size of the properties. He said that if he were to take on a large shopping center, like Village at Newtown, his cost would be about $5-6,000 per year, which would include harassing, nest searches and addling. A permit is required for addling.

Mr. Bender asked if there have been any legal issues when his services are used and geese move to a neighboring property.

He said that he has heard of some difficulties like this but usually recommends that adjacent property owners work together on the problem.

The members briefly discussed the use of dog and fox cut out silhouettes. Mr. Katz said that the Penn State Cooperative Extension has some manuals on the use of the cut outs. He suggested that the EAC do further research.

Liaison Reports

Newtown Creek Coalition: Mr. Fisher urged the members to take a survey on The organization gave a brief presentation at the Board of Supervisors meeting recently.

Planning Commission: Mr. Fisher said that the Planning Commission would be recommending adoption of the new Act 167 Stormwater ordinance at its next meeting. He would provide the PC members and Township Engineer with copies of Ms. Thomas’s draft pamphlet on stormwater management to aid residents with small projects.

Park and Recreation Board : The recording secretary reported that the Park and Recreation Board voted to recommend that the Township accept a fee in lieu of open space for the Weglos dental office at 759 Newtown Yardley Road.

EAC Projects

Bird Town: Mr. Fisher said that he had recently seen former EAC Member Walt Leck who expressed an interest in making a donation toward the Bird Town membership.

Ms. Thomas said that she had spoken to Steven Saphir of the Audubon Society and learned that there could be some granting opportunities for Bird Town. Audubon is eager to help the municipalities which have expressed interest in the program; our Board of Supervisors has expressed approval and given permission to the EAC to seek donations. She learned from Mr. Saphir that the $850 membership is for the first year and for training six volunteers; ongoing membership after the first year is $450.

Wildlife Management: Mr. McGuigan reported that there were 82 deer/vehicle collisions in 2010, while there had been 146 such accidents in 2009. This is the first time there has been a drop in the number in ten years.

The members were not sure whether the drop is directly attributed to the hunts in Newtown and the neighboring communities or that in combination with the EAC’s education efforts using signs and circulating maps which highlight the most frequent accident locations.

Ms. Thomas said that perhaps the EAC could work on getting some of the private property owners to work with Eccologix on a hunt, instead of limiting the hunt to only three properties.

Energy Conservation: Mr. McGuigan said that he will be researching the use of solar panels on streetlights in New Jersey and Virginia.

Green Corner: Ms. Escalante said that she would be including information about Bird Town in the summer “Green Corner” of the Township newsletter. She would also try to gather information on recycling and disposing of household hazardous materials and electronics.

Member Comments

Mr. Bender said that he was disappointed in the turnout for the Chemical Reaction film. He said that perhaps future efforts on education on environmental issues should focus more positively. He sees the tree-tenders efforts and Bird Town as a more positive way to improve the environment.

Mr. Katz said that perhaps the EAC could host environmental forums on a regular basis. The members discussed the idea of quarterly forums, with speakers on specific topics or panel discussions.

Ms. Escalante said that she would like to take on the organization of the forums.

He would like to partner with the Park and Recreation Board on some projects, especially on Clark Nature Center, which is in great need of attention. He is aware that Ms. Thomas and Tree Tenders have undertaken some efforts on clean-up in that park, but he would like to expand the effort with a long term goal of creating an environment similar to Churchville Nature Center. He said that he would review the Heritage Conservancy’s Stewardship Plan for Clark to see where the EAC might be of some help in preservation and restoration of the property.

Mr. McGuigan moved to adjourn at 9:15 PM. Ms. Thomas seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

Respectfully submitted by:


Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary