2008-11-17 Ambler Environmental EAC Minutes

Ambler Environmental Advisory Council

Notes of Monday, November 17, 2008 6:45 to 8:15 pm


Attendance:   Members:   Susan Curry, Chair, Susan Johnsson, David Morgan, Sigi Koko

Visitors:          Daniel Brouse, Andrew Salvadore

Next Meeting:            December 11, 2008 — Thursday

(usually 2nd Thursdays, 6:45-8:00 PM)

  1. Budget – Apparently our full request for 2009 is included in the budget.  Susan spent $330 from the 2008 budget on boxes to recycle Compact Fluorescent tubes and spiral bulbs.  The cost does not warrant continuing this program.
  • ACTION: EAC will allocate the remaining 2008 budget amount of $149 to purchase more ClearStream clear bags to support event recycling as well as food store recycling
  • ACTION:  Decks, Denney, and the Borough Highway department will each be offered a box for tubes and a box for spiral bulbs
  1. 2.    Rain Garden – Installed at Ricciardi Park.  Two workshops were well attended and there were many volunteers who helped with the final planting.  Rain Garden brochures were shared with all EAC.  The rain garden is not a perfect demonstration model in that it had to be dug deeper than usual to work with an existing underground stormwater pipe.
  • ACTION:  Design an interpretive sign and get it printed and installed
  • ACTION:  Susan will collect all invoices and expenses, including time sheets of matching donated labor by the Highway department and submit request for reimbursement by Dec. 5
  • EAC will need to organize watering care of the garden next spring until plants are well-established.
  1. HOME TOWN NEWS— Praise for another wonderful issue produced by David Morgan.  PA DEP has pointed to Ambler’s full page “Environmental News” with stormwater education as an example for other municipalities.
  • ACTION:  Next issue will start in February for mailing before April. Hopefully we can highlight a planting event.
  1. Compact fluorescent bulbs       (See # 1 above)
  1. Downtown tree policy – Butler trees assessment started twice but was incomplete due to inclement weather.  The tree in front of the Wine Bar came out due to new sewer pipes needed that would compromise the root structure. Various models for under-pavement root systems were cited by Andrew and Sigi. The importance of street trees for community ambience and economic benefits directs us to try to find a tree solution for that spot if at all possible. Included in the Policy Guidelines will be our recommended change to the development ordinance on landscaping to remove the listed invasive species and replace with native suggestions.  Please note that the mayor’s website for green communities cited in the minutes mentions Also the economic benefits of trees can be mentioned again.
  • ACTION: Think about a spring culminating event: maybe tree planting, and other education.
  • ACTION:  The EAC is interested in knowing the feasibility of planting a tree in front of the Wine Bar since low lying shrubs which offer no relief from the heat). Susan will ask the Graham/Ayres inspection team and determine if they have had conversations with the owner.
  1. Plastic bag free Ambler initiative —  Sigi passed to us a well-written proposal with a rationale and how to proceed with minimizing plastic bags being used by Ambler businesses and stores.
  • ACTION:  Review and give feedback to Sigi, for action decision in December.


  1. Green Committee —  Working simultaneously on having a “go to” website for businesses for information on green practices and sources of green supply vendors, and having the take-out food stores have recycling bins near the exit doors.
  1. Energy Audit —  Ambler Borough’s Report by PennTAP was promised:   Nov. 21
  1. Carbon Footprint of Borough – Susan gave Mary Aversa a copy of the “Post Carbon Cities: Planning for Energy and Climate Uncertainty” but has not followed up.  Daniel posted the Mayor’s 12 Step Carbon Diet program on the Green Ambler website:
  1. Borough investigating having own trash collection truck.  May be too expensive in this era without state grants; alternatives: investigate a partnership with Upper Dublin, or purchase a used truck to get into the business.
  1. TreeVitalize proposal:  submitted for $26,000 — Rose Valley Creek Riparian Planting with removal of invasives along both sides of a 200 foot stretch in lower Borough Park, then planting of native trees, shrubs and grasses through a community wide event in the fall to establish a riparian buffer that is 35 feet wide.
  1. Green roofs of Ambler– Advantages of green roofs:  a best stormwater management practice – absorbs 88% of the rain that falls on it; provided additional insulation so buildings are cooler in the summer/warmer in the winter; provides additional habitat for birds, butterflies and other aerial wildlife.
  • ACTION:  David will ask his son Tim to provide aerials of Ambler roofs so we can begin to identify green roof opportunities.

13.  Green building ordinance:  On hold for Sigi’s schedule