2007-07-31 Ambler Environmental EAC Minutes

Ambler Environmental Advisory Council   –   Minutes of Tuesday, July 31, 2007   Approved

cc: Rocco, Mary, Jim Dougherty, Jimmy Wack, Anita, Bud, John Pugliese


Attendance:   Members:   Jeremiah Couey, Chair

Susan Curry

David Morgan

Charles Stewart

Kimberly Koczan-Flory  [Absent]

Peg Williams  [Notice of Resignation]

Rich Palumbo  [Absent – Conflict]

Associates: Judy Baigis (Planning Commission)  [Attended first hour]

Ron Ayres (Shade Tree Committee)

Next Meeting:            Tuesday, September 11, 2007,  7:00 – 9:00, at Borough Hall

(usually 2nd Tuesdays, 7:00-9:00 PM)

1. Minutes Review:  June 12, 2007 minutes reviewed and approved with two minor changes to items 6 and 8.

2Secretary Rotation:  Ron Ayres completed as EAC secretary at last meeting.  Jeremiah proposed that we could fairly rotate the secretary role by going in alphabetical order.  Susan Curry took notes.

3.  Trees:  A)  Trees for Butler Ave. tree pits. Susan sent a list of species to Mary Aversa along with tree nursery sources. Judy noticed the charges among the Borough accounts and asked if a $250 delivery charge is normal. Susan confirmed, depending on location from which trees are shipped.  Judy asked if EAC were notified/invited to observe/assist with the planting process . No notice was given to EAC or Ambler Tree Tenders . If Ambler had a formal Shade Tree Commission, they would have to be notified and be present .

B)  David Morgan happened by while a tree in front of the Ambler Savings Bank annex, next to Health Fair, was being planted; David acquired our last Tree Tenders’ water gator and gave it to support frequent watering . According to Mary, the Borough will water the tree.

C) Judy reported that elder homeowners are cutting down trees to avoid raking leaves .

D) David reported that one of the two trees behind the new liquor store had died (fungus and no leaves). David sent an email to Mary Aversa that the landscape contractor for that newly planted site should be notified.

E)  Bare Roots trees:  some are not flourishing: they have fewer leaves and their branches are not relaxing.

F) TreeVitalize trees – of the 81 received, we know of two that are dead (one killed by landscaper application of herbicide to kill nearby weeds; one by topping at time of planting, piling 8” of mulch and over watering). Many trees need additional mulch. Homeowners will be reminded by email to give extra water during the 90º and higher temperatures. Tree Tenders will be encouraged to pair up to exchange tree watering for each other during their vacations.

G) Old Ash tree in Knight park:  Susan will ask Jimmy Wack for a copy of Pete William’s assessment. Susan  will seek a second opinion from Morris Arboretum. If the tree comes down, then we should come up with a replacement plan .

4.  EAC Membership:  With the resignation of Jeremiah and Peg Williams, there are two vacancies. Sources for candidate members include:  Ericka (via Jeremiah); Kate (via Charlie); Tree homeowners; Tree Tenders; residents trained in the Temple Tree Tender training; Better Ambler residents; stream side homeowners; a couple DEP employees (who can contact?).  Susan Curry was elected the “Interim Chair ”.

  1. 4.     2008 Budget:  EAC MUST submit a budget request letter with substantiation of anticipated expenses by Sept. 1.  We discussed emphasizing how the EAC will save Borough money, or bring money to the Borough. Suggested annual items:  Oktoberfest, PEC membership, stream clean-up, tree assessment, school earth day celebrations. New ideas included: a) full replacement of traffic lights with LED lights – perhaps the Borough engineer could assess the benefits. Note: a good time to make traffic light changes would be at the time of intersection upgrades during Maple Street redevelopments. b)  Support Borough reconsideration of RecycleBank.  c)  Work with Upper Dublin EPAB to clean up the upper branches of Rose Valley Creek. d) Support availability of recycling trash containers at all future Ambler Main Street events – We would need to find out how and when the municipal recycling is managed, and decide whether labels can be put on existing trash cans or purchase new cans.
  1. Stream Restoration Grants:   Susan has not confirmed deadline dates for three funding sources.  She is stalling on writing any grant applications until the EAC is brought back to full membership. Grant sources include: U.S. Fish and Wildlife, DCNR, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Delaware Riverkeepers.
  1. Butler Avenue Tree Care Guidelines:  David circulated Julianne Schieffer’s (DCNR) response to his email draft of Butler Tree Guidelines. Most of the items were drawn from the Tree Tenders Handbook.  Issues the guidelines need to address:  1. Replacement of dying trees– with what species; how many at one time. 2. Acceptable pruning skill level and correct timing – spring and late fall. 3.  Mulch amount and shape. 4. Watering new trees. 5. Widening sidewalk tree pits. 6. Having an arborist .
  1. 7.  DCNR Tree Pruning Training for Highway staff on October 5:  A second 3-hour hands-on training for highway department staff will occur on October 5, form 8:30 to 11:30 am. Since trees can actually get pruned, we should provide Julianne with a list of critical trees or typical problems, such as asking how she would start to correct “topping” that has been done by other individuals apparently unaware of proper tree care. We will: 1) ask Penn State Extension Urban Forester for Montgomery County Julianne Schieffer to examine Borough trees about which we have concerns a few weeks before October.  We will ask her to give expert advice on the priority of those concerns, as well as explore ways to get replacements for any trees that need removal, and 2) scout example trees to use in the pruning training.
  1. Tree Tenders Meeting:  Thursday, October 4 at 7:00 pm at Susan’s house, the Tree Tenders will reconvene to get refreshed on pruning, and plan how to pair up to visit all TreeVitalize trees that were planted last March and April. The originally scheduled date of October 18 was moved up so the Tree Tenders will be able to see more leaves on the trees when we go to prune them.  We will invite Tim Dugan’s DCNR replacement [post meeting note:  Gerald Hoy] can come to refresh our pruning knowledge.

9.  LED Traffic Lights:  An article in the PA Township News explained the cost benefits of all townships and boroughs replacing their traffic lights right away.  The article will be copied and given to Rocco (Mary), Jim Dougherty, and Jimmy Wack.  Susan will find out how many lights Ambler has and if any are already LED.


[End]                                                                                   [S.Curry+DM+JC DR3.  09/24/07 ]