2012-11 EAC Meeting Minutes November 29

Ambler Environmental Advisory Council

Date: Thursday, November 29, 2012     7:00 to 9:15 PM

Member Attendance (a quorum present):

Skip Kershner, Susan Curry, Susan Johnsson, Sue McDowell, Ken Trautwein, Estelle Wynn Dolan

Member Absence:

Candace Kanaplue


Justin Murray

Next Meeting Date: Wednesday, January 9, 2013   7:00 to 9:00 pm at Borough Hall.  The new regularly scheduled date will be the second Wednesday of each month. The starting time has officially moved to 7:00 PM

  1. 1.          Review Borough Council – Justin attended — he introduced himself to Council.  Borough Budget proposes $2,000 for the EAC budget in 2013.  Council approved applying for the DEP environmental education $7,500 grant for Rain Gardens. Other details were not reported.
  1. 2.          Rain Gardens Campaign:  The third rain garden which had been delayed due to weather was finished. It is holding water a bit too long.  GreenTreks video-taped the final planting.  Sue McD suggested that all EAC members (and Upper Dublin EPAB?) take the two day Rain Garden training by Rutgers.  Could Rutgers trainers come here to present it? Should we acquire an augur and a laser level transit?

Rain Garden Workshops:  Tentative dates for spring would be either March 20 or 21 and March 23.  Presenters could come from Master Gardeners (free); WVWA (presenter’s fee); PEC (?).  Sue McD will contact and schedule.

Partners report:  (Sue McD) Soil analysis and perc tests will be performed again by Lyle Jones from Delaware on properties this spring, even though he will have retired.  Partners include:  Campaign for the Bays, PEC, Cooperative Extension, Montgomery Conservation District, Audubon, GreenTreks/StormwaterPA. Can we rent a mini-track hoe and operate it ourselves or persuade Caddick Construction to participate at reduced costs to save volunteer digging?  Apprehension was expressed that the equipment might be destructive to the yards.

Homeowner Agreements:  (Ken) Copies of a 6-page draft were handed out at the meeting. Ken had added 3 pages of maintenance suggestions from another website.  Sue McD suggested adding some graphics and parsing words to make it more visually pleasing, change all fonts to Calibri, and add in a paragraph on Rain Gardens for the Bays, left justify all pages, clarify maintenance actions that are optional. Ken will reach out to interested homeowners who signed up during Oktoberfest to set up a scouting visit to see if their yards look feasible.  We decided to give the homeowners the weekends to choose from, allowing two homes on the same weekend, so that we schedule weekend breaks for the EAC leaders.  Also, either we need to plan on two days for one garden or schedule 10 hour days with volunteers in two 5 hour shifts.  Will we request homeowners to buy tarps and provide refreshments for volunteers?

DEP Proposal Budget and Accounting:  Susan Johnsson, Sue McDowell and Susan Curry will meet next Sunday at 11:30 at SueMcD home to develop the DEP EE budget and clarify accounting procedures.

Publicity/Marketing/Outreach: Justin has put photos from the first two gardens in a “drop box” and will invite Ken, Susan C and Sue McD to view them. Justin will make an attempt to draft first case studies with metrics from Sue McD and unexpected lessons learned from SusanC.  Other promotion avenues include: booths at events such as Oktoberfest, Upper Dublin Community Day, Sustainability Movie Series.  GreenTreks will call us when their YouTube is available.  Lower Gwynedd “Gwynedd Green Committee” is planning an Earth Day event on April 20, 2013 and invited us to present our Rain Gardens Campaign.  Case studies would be posted on the EAC website, but where else – PEC?  Do we need an EAC owned digital camera in case Justin is not available to photo an event?

  1. 3.          Miscellaneous:  ClearStream:  Bob Rocco is open to storing the event recycling containers, and wanted to know what the cost would be to share with EAC.  Justin is checking into another option for event recycling that might be free. The backyard chicken information was circulated to interested members; anyone who wants to have it that didn’t get it may contact Susan Johnsson. 2013 EAC meetings Schedule:  second Wed. of the month (Candace absent: confirmed later).
  1. 4.          Transfer of EAC Leadership:  Susan Curry’s move to California may occur in March. Members are dividing the roles and tasks for shared leadership – Sue McDowell and Justin (if appointed) are willing to co-chair and liaison to Mary Aversa and Council president. Susan Johnsson will manage the accounting function for the EAC budget, grants, and submission of invoices to Bernie. Justin is considering serving as secretary. Another member can send approved minutes to the Borough and post on the website.  Other roles will be worked out in a sub-group meeting in December.


  1. Susan C will a) meet with Susan J and Sue McD on the budget for the DEP EE grant and the accounting Sunday, Dec. 2 11:30, b) email Susan J the link to the grant manual; c) tell Justin the amount left in the EAC budget and cost for Public Works to share one 5-unit set of ClearStream; d) retype EAC Leadership list with names of members beside roles they claimed – bunch the unclaimed roles at top [Will be attached to minutes]; d) Give to Sue McD the old original Revitalization plans for Butler Ave to assist in stormwater/tree trenching in the future; e) Accept Gwynedd Green Committee’s invitation to present April 20, 2013; f) take tools, bins of gloves, banner and EAC materials wrapped in plastic bags to Susan J’s garage.
  2. Susan McD will a) contact workshop presenters for March workshops; b) meet to help determine the budget for the DEP EE proposal; c) contact the Upper Dublin EPAB to partner in the workshops and expand promotion; d) get the photos from Donna Herron from first RG; e) meet with Ken Wed. Dec. 12 to parse the leadership roles; f) check into the schedule for Rutgers rain garden training and inquire under what conditions they would come here to present the training (presenter honorarium, attendee fees, enrollment number, etc.); g) contact Steve Saffier to acquire any photos he took of Kershner’s rain garden installation, then get the added to Justin’s “drop box”
  3. Ken Trautwein will a) revise homeowner agreements with input from the meeting, b) begin to reach out to people who signed up at Octoberfest as interested in a rain garden in order to solidify 10 properties for Spring perc testing; c) meet with Sue McD Wed. Dec. 12 to parse the leadership roles.
  4. Susan J will a) continue to observe and report on Council meetings; b) meet with SusanC and Sue McD on the rain garden campaign accounting; c) make garage available for storing EAC tools, banner, and other materials.
  5. Estelle will look over the leadership roles to identify ones for which she can be responsible.
  6. Candace will a) be prepared to report on Planning Commission news; b) prepare a draft press release on the 100 Rain Gardens campaign, incorporate photos from SusanC and Sue McD; c) look over the unclaimed leadership roles to identify ones for which she can be responsible.
  7. Skip will consider getting a computer so he can become savvy with email and serve as the volunteer liaison. SusanC has a Dell CPU but no monitor and keyboard.
  8. Justin Murray will a) check with Del Val College for student perc tests and soil analysis; b) send an invitation to view the photos he took at the two weekend garden installations; c) meet with SueMcD after New Year to divide co-chair roles; d) tie down free offer for folding event recycling containers, e) draft case study reports on the first three gardens, f) consider if can function as secretary and co-chair.


  • Artman Becoming Center and Nursing Home needs a rain garden – there are a couple of swales that could be planted.
  • Tour of the incineration plant
  • CVS should plant new trees as promised to replace 2 dead ones, along with supporting or replacing one leaning tree, replacement trees do not need to go in the exact same spots.
  • Where do the new street sewers flow to and outfall (such as one installed at the corner of Bethlehem and Tennis?
  • Justin mentioned a “stand pipe” solution to the Fire Department’s need for access in the new Bottom Dollar parking lot – though more expensive, it would allow the green islands with trees in the parking lot which fire engine maneuverability would not.
  • Suggest a tree species for the empty Ambler Savings tree pit.
  • Solicit and compile every EAC member’s short list of neighbors to approach to install a rain garden next year.
  • Continue to encourage Boro. to adopt green infrastructure best management practices by public  and private developers when retrofits are being planned, e.g. permeable pavement for the Bottom Dollar parking lot/parking spaces nearest the entrance; stormwater tree trenches.

Meeting was adjourned at 9:15 PM.