December 20th 2017 Meeting Minutes

December 20, 2017 6:45-8:30pm | Borough Hall Meeting Room | Recorded by: Erin Landis
**Wednesday January31 at 6:45pm**
PLEASE NOTE CHANGE IN NEXT MEETING DATE

Members in Attendance:

  • Mary-Margaret Monser, Chair EAC
  • ERin Landis
  • Lisa Keenan
  • Perer Nyamu
  • (Quorum)

Absent Members:

  • Jill Sanchez
  • Lindsey Daku
  • Mitchell Cashatt

Associates, volunteers, and friends:

  • Nellie Depietra, Council-elect Ward 3
  • Chris Raines
  • Susan Curry, Former EAC Chair
  • Scott Burman – Associate member of Lower Gwynedd EAC
  • Dimitri Desmit
  • Erin Krump
  • Neal Gale -Associate member of Abington EAC
  • Susan Johnsson
  • Judy Baigis

A special shout out to Lindsey Daku on the birth of her daughter. Mom, Dad, and baby are all doing well!

Action Items by Person:

  • Mary-Margaret: Develop the date and theme for EAC Summit – invite speakers; contact
    council/Gail to ascertain that the proposed EAC budget remain the same and form part of the
    match required of Ambler. Work with David Burke, Gail and EAC members to organize and prepare Growing Ambler Greener grant agreement. With with Connie Liu and Lisa Keenan on evolving and supporting Connie’s project.
  • Lindsey:​ send Nov. newsletter, add meeting time to homepage, create Dec. meeting event on
    FB, work with Nancy to facilitate adding EAC meeting time to Borough website and calendar;
    eventually work with Connie on design of new trifold
  • Jill:​ Secure waterers for each public tree; work with high school students on student projects
  • Mitch: ​Develop materials to include Monarch way stations in all future rain garden designs
  • Erin: ​Picking up meeting minutes until Lindsey is back, follow up with Philly NW Solar Co-op;
    reach out to Mary Aversa about public access in Borough lobby for battery recycling
  • Nellie: ​Support solar efforts
  • Chris: ​Continue to develop children-orientated April event
  • Lisa: ​Work with Connie Liu on evolving her project

Agenda:

6:45-7:00 Meet and Greet

7:00 -8:15 EAC General Updates

Meeting Minutes from November 15th – approved

1. Council/Planning Commission Updates

  • Open Space – Last updated in 2006 – update is in progress! The Planning
    Commission, Ambler EAC, and Montgomery County Planning Commission are
    currently working together to review and update open space plans. Meetings are
    the 4th Tuesday of the month, 7pm at Ambler Borough Hall
  •  Bamboo Ordinance – The Montgomery County Planning Commission made
    recommendations to strengthen the proposed bamboo ordinance in July, Ambler
    Borough Council bounced the ordinance back to the Ambler Planning
    Commission. The Ambler Planning Commission has asked Glenn Kucher ( code
    enforcement officer) to draft a map of bamboo growing in Ambler Borough as
    observed from the street; The Ambler EAC presented a list of 5 known locations.
    Invasive Bamboo from an adjacent property was cut and treated in Ambler
    Borough Park – keeping on top of new growth in springtime is key to eventual
    eradication.
  • Terms of Service – Mary-Margaret’s term expires in Dec. She has submitted a
    letter of reappointment; EAC anticipates she will be reappointed.
  • Pocket Park – Grant awarded to Ambler! The Planning Commission worked with
    the Montgomery County Planning Commissioner to apply for a DCNR grant to
    create a pocket park in front of CVS at Butler Pike and E. Park Ave; current
    impervious surface will be turned into pervious surface, creating a new green
    space in Ambler. The pocket park will feature a plaza, pedestrian walkway, and
    stormwater management measures among other things. Fall 2018 or Spring
    2019 for completion is proposed.
  • Growing Ambler Greener Grant – Mary-Margaret and the Ambler EAC applied for
    and received a 3-year grant from PA Department of Environmental Protection
    (DEP) Growing Greener fund for $206,100 for “Growing Ambler Greener”; the
    grant proposal was modeled after the Philadelphia Rain Check Program;
    implementation of the grant will be a collaboration with Ambler Borough, EAC to
    do much of the implementation and work with Gail, Ambler Borough finance
    manager; included: implementation of 75 rain gardens, rain barrels, downspout
    planters, steep slope terracing at Edgewood Preserve to reduce erosion; and
    includes working with Temple Ambler’s Office of Sustainability to implement
    riparian buffer restoration; agreement will be finalized on January 16; Ambler
    Borough must match the $206,100 grant with 15% (5% monetary and 10%
    payment-in-kind).
  • St. Mary’s Development Impact on Ambler Borough: Council and public are
    concerned about potential impact on flooding, sedimentation of creeks, and local
    traffic; plan looks good on paper, but reality may be different – could have serious
    effects in the next 5 years and beyond; underground basins are proposed to
    manage stormwater; developer’s stormwater management plan is available on
    the Upper Dublin website and the Ambler Borough engineer has written his
    opinion in response to the Upper Dublin stormwater plan (Council Meeting
    Agenda on 12/19/17)

2. Announcements and Opportunities

  • January 2 Ambler Borough Reorganization Meeting
  • January 16 – Ambler Borough Council meeting
  • January 23 – Ambler Planning Commission Meeting
  • January 20 – Ambler Stewardship Saturday + Creek Monitoring at Ambler
  • Borough Park (tributary site 50)
  • January 24 at 6 pm – Wissahickon Valley Watershed Annual Meeting (will likely
    present 3-year strategic plan)
  • March 10 – Watershed Congress along Schuylkill River – there is likely money in
    the budget to cover EAC member registration to attend the Congress
  • April 4 at 12:30 – Delaware Riverkeeper Network’s Maya K. van Rossum will be
    speaking about fracking at Montgomery County Community College.
  • April 12-14 – PA Land Conservation Conference
  • April 21 – Ambler Earthfest

3. EAC Project updates

  • Make Ambler a Shade Better – 34 new trees planted as part of Treevitalize; it is
    critically important to maintain large and old trees; Chris Raines secured the
    donation of over 100 plants from the Temple Ambler Arboretum. (Southern
    magnolia, Osage orange, Amorpha fruticosa, and Common ninebark). The
    Ambler EAC planted over 40 of these shrubs and trees.

    1. Ambler LRB Sons of Italy (with Sal Pasceri, Council President) coordinated with EAC for planting of Osage orange trees next to BoRit site
    2. Ambler LRB subsequently donated $200 to the EAC – discussed in Ambler Borough Council meeting that it would be part of the 2018 EAC budget.
    3. Planting was conducted behind Ambler Extended Care, an area that was identified in a Temple study as needing buffer restoration along Tannery Run Creek on Bethlehem Pike
    4. Trees were planted in a riparian area of a resident’s home (Mary Baldwin) bordering Rose Valley Creek.
  • Solar Workshop – need to gauge community’s interest in homeowner solar installation; Neal will reach out to Meenal and Marion of Northwest Philly Solar
  • Cooperative to inquire about response since the solar workshop; solar in Ambler is long-term goal; solar installation on Weavers Way, CVS, Borough Hall?
  • Stewardship Saturday – 3rd Saturday of each month at 8:30-10:30 AM; goal is to engage and educate the community and encourage public/community responsibility for green spaces, while restoring Borough Park (i.e. invasive plant removal, stream buffer restoration); stream/creek monitoring with WVWA conducted as part of Stewardship Saturday (below); Stewardship Saturday was Borough of Amblerskipped this past month due to the weather, but Mary-Margaret conducted the creek assessment; Stewardship Saturday will be part of the 3-year Growing Ambler Greener grant process.
  • Creek Monitoring, Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association (WVWA) – Creek monitoring in Borough Park focuses on encouraging citizen scientists, as well as community ownership of the quality of the local watershed
  • Beautiful Project – “You’ve Been Caught Looking Beautiful” sign posted in resident’s yards as recognition of homeowner best management practices; Sharon McCormick and Bernadette Dougherty are recognized in December.
  • Growing Ambler Greener Earthfest Saturday April 21, 2018 – This is part of the Growing Ambler Greener grant; there will be greater attempt to incorporate local business members in Earthfest; need for volunteers to coordinate kids activities, food, marketing, vendors – feel free to join in the efforts! Discussed joining with First Friday in the future, as many families are out for First Friday
  • February Ambler EAC Summit – Hopefully Delaware Riverkeeper Network Maya Van Rossum can be the keynote speaker; will likely be scheduled on an evening during the week
  • Took EAC photo for Growing Amber Greener Grant

4. Education Opportunities

  • Student engagement in community environmental projects – two high school projects:
    1. Rachel Bowman WHS on recycling in town; need for recycling bins and
      educational signs on both sides of town (near CVS/new pocket park and
      near Ambler Farmers Market/train station) and one in middle of town;
    2. Connie Liu UDHS: educating the community on how plastic ends up in
      oceans
  • A Healthy Wissahickon: We All Have a Part To Play– a Movie: WVWA to set up
    time to show this movie. Include showing it into the February Ambler EAC
    summit? Can we work with Weavers Way to market the video? Movie could
    potentially be shown in Ambler Borough Hall or Tannery Run Brewery space
    under Twisters?
  • Monarch Waystations – springtime initiatives
  • The Benefits of Trees – workshops, new tri-fold
  • Spring Native Planting Gardens – Install native garden in Knights Park in spring
    2018; solarization being used to destroy bindweed in Knights Park (covering
    bindweed in dark plastic to heat ground and kill seeds) – better method than using
    an herbicide; post facebook message to educate neighbors on this method
  • Weaver’s Way Food Co-op – article being published in the Enterprise about
    volunteering with EAC and WVWA counting for Weaver’s Way volunteer hours
    Weavers Way collects for Terracycle – is a location being set up at the Ambler
    store? Terracycle collects toothpaste tubes, cosmetic packaging, britta containers
    and filters; Senior Adult Activity Center could work with Ambler Weavers Way as
    a drop-off for Terracycle; Mentioned that David Morgan collects Terracycling.
  • When will Feed the Barrel be initiated in Ambler?
  • Terracycle: Good for the Planet, Good for Food Moxie | Weavers Way Co-o

5. Possible future initiatives

  • Temple University Office of Sustainability – Growing Ambler Greener Grant
    includes riparian buffer restoration at 20 sites in Ambler; we will likely need
    Temple’s help to implement this
  • Master Watershed Stewards (MWS) : Penn State Extension
    i. Looking for EAC and community volunteers to take course in the Spring
    ii. Ambler EAC has one MWS and participates in Ambler Area projects.
  • Sustainable Tools for Assessing and Rating Communities STAR
    1. Ambler EAC needs a champion for this; Dimitri will look into it for Lower Gwynedd
    2. Temple Ambler is already using this system, and has a Bronze
  • Electronics Recycling – Reach out to Mary Aversa regarding battery drop-off
    being not accessible in Borough lobby; need more education about taping of
    batteries. Aim to arrange for quarterly electronic equipment drop offs in Ambler
  • Trails and education on BoRit Hill – discussion tabled
  • Short and regular presentations to Borough Council from EAC? Council requests
    a priorities list from EAC to Borough Council
  • Peter suggests future initiative of creating awareness regarding disposal of
    cigarette butts – butts end up in streams! Terracycle collects cigarette butts.
    Dmitri said that other countries have personal ashtrays.
  • Ambler Theater will be playing Pennypack Farm Sustainability film series in spring (February-April)- organizations can sponsor the film series, have a booth and show two slides in the previews
  • Recommendation to “brand” the Grow Ambler Greener grant work so community members will recognize these activities; brand might be an easily recognizablesymbol that would be posted on educational material/signs

6. Volunteer Co-ordinator/Job descriptions/Website/Email/Social Media
7. 8:30-8:40 next Steps/Action items
Next Meeting Wednesday, January 31 at 6:45 pm
ADJOURN