Tag Archives: EAC Meeting Minutes

March 16, 2016 Meeting Minutes

Members in Attendance:

Stephen Maakestad, Chair of EAC
Mary Margaret Monser
(No Quorum)

Absent Members:

Matt Cooley
Karen Polesir
(Two Vacancies)

Associates and Visitors in Attendance:

Chris Raines
Raija Suomela
Jill Sanchez
Christian Sanchez
Brooke Marshall
Ben Bergman, Greener Pastures, Farm to City
Brian Forrest
Rachel Rosenfeld
Whitney Lingle, Ambler Senior Center
Hannah Miller, Solar City

Next Meeting Date: April 20th at 7:00PM – 131 Rosemary Avenue, Auditorium

Action Items by Person:

  • Steve Maakestad – Man the table in the lobby at the film series. Add articles to the EAC Facebook page, occasionally. Attend BoRit Cag meeting.
  • Susan Johnsson – EAC Treasurer. Attend council meetings and report on decisions. Add articles and to the EAC Facebook page, occasionally.
  • Mary-Margaret Monser – Organize Texas Hold’Em Tournament, Attend planning commission meetings. Man the table in the lobby at the film series. Occasionally, add information and articles to the EAC Facebook page.
  • Chris Raines – Add monthly minutes to EAC web site and occasionally add items to the EAC Facebook page.
    Design flyer and tickets for upcoming events and tree information desktop tri-panel display. Man the table in the lobby at the film series. Help with Texas Hold’Em event. Schedule a showing of the Healthy Wissahickon Film.
  • Susan Curry –Edgewood Preserve project. Attend Planning Commission Meeting. Design Tree Information Desktop Display. Man the table in the lobby at the film series.


  • Matt Cooley – Assist with Edgewood Preserve project. Add articles to the EAC Facebook page, occasionally.


  • Raija Suomela – Map of storm drains, Communicate with park maintenance contractor. Add info to EAC website and Facebook page. Choose some dates for Volunteer Clean up  Borough Park

Agenda Topics:

  1. Council/Committee Updates:
    • Red Tail was approved with a budget of up to $5000. Work will start in Ambler Borough Park after April 1st.
    • An accessibility grant has been approved to receive; will be used to improve sidewalks. This grant must target low income people.
    • The Hometown News has been completed and is being sent to the printer. It will be delivered to Ambler residents shortly.
    • The next Planning Commission meeting will be held on March 22nd.
  2. TMDL was discussed: According to EPA, Pennsylvania has committed to reduce its urban/suburban storm water load for nitrogen by 4%, phosphorus by 45% and sediment by 50% by 2025.  In Ambler, the phosphorus level is so high, that a 95% reduction from the current level is required.  Ambler borough is looking for alternatives.
  3. Penn State Extension Service: As of this EAC meeting, it was reported that the Penn State Extension Service could be forced to close several offices and furlough over 1000 employees throughout the state of Pennsylvania. Since that time, a new budget has been passed that provides funding to avoid the critical shutdown.
  4. Mary Jo Daley will be holding a town meeting at Ambler Borough on March 24th.
  5. Ben Bergman of Greener Pastures: discussed the Ambler Farmer’s Market. He suggests the EAC have a table on several Saturdays and stressed the importance of providing environmental educational lessons for children. Sustainability and environmental stewardship were discussed. The Farmer’s Market is held for 25 weeks from May to October each year.Several opportunities for lessons were discussed.
    1. Grace Samans has a program on growing plants.
    2. A project presenting the benefits of trees is planned.
  • Planting sunflower, squash and tomato seeds could be planned.
  1. The Wissahickon Watershed could bring their Enviroscape.
  2. Walking tours from the Farmer’s Market to the Watershed could be organized.
  3. A rain garden tour could start at the Farmer’s Market.

The Farmer’s Market has tents available for the EAC to use on Saturday mornings.

Marketing was discussed. Ben has over 4000 Facebook friends on his page. He has offered to meet with several EAC members to discuss methods of improving Facebook presence.

  1. Hannah Miller of Solar City recently held a meeting at Saxby’s to discuss a solar leasing program that is now available. This program has been available in other states for quite some time, but has come to Pennsylvania only recently. Hannah said that Solar City leases solar panels to homeowners, then installs and monitors them. Solar City owns the panels and the customer pays for the electricity through PECO in this grid-tied net-metered system. Solar City has 25,000 customers.  Hannah answered many of questions about solar energy.  Forty-six percent of Ambler residents are renters. Non-homeowner opportunities for solar were discussed including solar community gardens. The problem of residents cutting down trees to increase light to panels was mentioned. The EAC will consider organizing a mini campaign on solar energy spring 2017.
  2. A Free Workshop – Planting Bare Root Trees will be held in borough hall on April 2nd in preparation for the tree planting project that is planned for later in the month. A Penn State Watershed Steward will give the presentation.
  3. The Edgewoods Preserve fundraiser, Texas Hold’em is scheduled for Saturday, April 2nd. Mary-Margaret and Susan Curry have spearheaded this project with the help of Sal Pasceri and Tony Isabella and several EAC members and friends. An EventBrite page has been created for registration, payments and donations.
  4. Pennypack Sustainability Series: Volunteers are needed to set up and man the EAC table. The next film will be shown on Tuesday, April 12. It is called, “Cowspiracy.”

The Sustainability Secret is a groundbreaking feature‐length environmental documentary following filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today – and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are afraid to talk about it. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean “dead zones,” and virtually every other environmental ill. Yet it goes on, almost entirely unchallenged.

  1. A shredding event will be held in the Fort Washington Industrial Park on April 30th 11am to 2pm on at DeVry University. It is organized and sponsored by Secure Planning Group. The EAC is welcome to have a table at the event for a fee of $10 that will be used to help a physically handicapped child in the area. http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07ecgpf7zucaf4f2ce&llr=rvxxu4vabAmbler Savings and Loan’s Shred Day is scheduled for May 7th 9am to 1pm. http://www.amblersavingsbank.com/More shredding events can be found at http://www.montcopa.org/documentcenter/view/8560
  2. On April 30th, the Wissahickon Watershed Stream Cleanup will be held. Each year, Susan Johnsson leads an EAC group to clean up Rose Valley Creek.
  3. The BoRit Cag meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 6th. Stephen Maakestad is a member of the CAG.
  4. Whitney Lingle, Ambler Meals on Wheels Coordinator, spoke briefly about the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger. The “What a Waste Program” is an anti-hunger initiative for community-based nutrition programs that reduces food waste, increases program efficiency and helps the environment while providing new sources of healthful foods to those in need. Whitney is in the process of setting up a composing program at the Senior Center.  She would also like to start a community garden at the senior center. The senior center has applied for a grant, and received a preliminary letter stating the center is a finalist.Ben Bergman mentioned that the Farmer’s Market accepts senior vouchers.
  5. Park Maintenance: Red Tail will begin removal of invasive plants in April. Plants that could be considered for removal include Knot Weed, Clematus, Privet, Honey Suckle. The lower section of the park will be the main focus.
  6. Park Cleanup: Rachel Rosenfeld is willing to set up a Park Cleanup day this summer. Raija will work with Rachel to coordinate this event.
  7. Dumping in the park has become a problem. Signs will be posted stating that dumping is prohibited.
  8. Facebook: Raija and Mary Margaret have been diligently posting information and articles on the EAC Facebook page. Rachel mentioned that the WVWA is attempting to reach a younger audience and is utilizing Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
  9. Transparency: Brooke Marshall discussed the need for transparency in borough government in regard to the TMDL. The five-year permit process, street sweeping, surface erosion and storm water runoff were briefly discussed.
  10. WVWA Workshop: Thursday, Apr 21, 7 p.m. Rain Barrel Workshop at Wiss Valley Watershed.
  11. Suggestions to Reduce Runnoff: Pet waste, car washing, leaf waste, and fertilizer contribute to runoff and pollute streams. Sustainable parking lots, stream bank plantings, restoration projects, reestablishment of barriers between streams and developed areas are helpful.  Light pollution was discussed.. The headwaters of Rose Valley Creek are located on Temple Ambler’s property.
  12. Temple Ambler’s Earth Fest is scheduled for Friday, April 22nd.

Upcoming Meetings:

  • Tour of Upper Gwynedd Preserve.
  • Mary Aversa’s suggestion:  Focus on minimizing lawn chemicals for Fall Mini-Campaign
  • Plant swap event with a Farmer’s Market, Spring 2017 (Mary Margaret)
  • Edgewoods Preserve Tree Fest: on Edgewood Drive

The meeting was adjourned around 9:15pm.

January 27, 2016 Meeting Minutes

Members in Attendance:
Stephen Maakestad, Chair of EAC
Matt Cooley
Mary-Margaret Monser

Absent Members:
Susan Johnsson,
(Three Vacancies)

Associates and Visitors in Attendance:
Susan Curry
Chris Raines
Raija Suomela

Next Meeting Date: February 17, 2016 at 7:00PM
131 Rosemary Avenue, Auditorium

  • Action Items by Person:
  • Steve Maakestad – .Annual Report to Council on February 2nd. Move items from garage to borough building with Susan Johnsson (Completed on February 2nd), man the table in the lobby at the film series. TREEmendous Party volunteer.
  • Susan Johnsson – EAC Treasurer. Move items from garage to borough building. (Completed February 2nd)
  • Mary-Margaret Monser – Organize TREEmendous Party, Attend planning commission meeting. Man the table in the lobby at the film series. TREEmendous Party volunteer.
  • Chris Raines – Add photos from EAC events and monthly minutes to EAC web site
    Post updates to Facebook page. Design flyer and tickets for TREEmendous Party. Tree Information Desktop Tri-Panel Display. Sustainability film series slides. Man the table in the lobby at the film series. TREEmendous Party volunteer.
  • Susan Curry – OrganizeTREEmendous Party. Work on Edgewood Preserve project. Attend Planning Commission Meeting. Tree Information Desktop Tri-Panel Display. Sustainability film series slides. Man the table in the lobby at the film series. TREEmendous Party volunteer. Will be interviewed by Dutch Godshalk from the Ambler Gazette about Edgewood Preserve.
  • Matt Cooley – Assist with Edgewood Preserve project. Attend TREEmendous Party volunteer. Write lawn care article for Hometown News (completed Feb 4th).
  • Raija Suomala – Map of storm drains, Communicate with park maintenance contractor. TREEmendous Party volunteer.

Agenda Topics:

  1. Council/Committee Updates:
  2. Reorganization: Borough Council voted for incumbent, Sal Pasceri for president and Ed Curtis for Vice President. Frank DeRousi is Chair for Parks and Recreation Committee. Ed Curtis is      Chair of Public Safety Committee. Public Utilities Committee chair is Sal Pasceri, Finance Chair is Jonathan Sheward. Claudio Zaccone is chair of Salary and Personnel.
  3. Appointments:
    Sarah Hertz has been appointed to the board of the Wissahickon Watershed Association.
    Julie McCabe has been appointed Executive Director of Pennypack Farm and Education Center.
  4. Next Borough Council Meeting: Steve Maakestad will give a brief overview about EAC          accomplishments at the next borough council meeting.
  5. Removal of Invasive Plants: Raija Suomela is communicating with Red Tail landscaping        service about recommendations for removal of invasive plants during the coming months. Steve    and Raija will present a proposal to Mary Aversa about the removal of invasive plants and brush in the park.
  6. Next BoRit CAG meeting is the first Wednesday of even-numbered months. All are invited to come to Upper Dublin Township Hall at 6:30 pm. (Wednesday, February 3rd then April 6th)
  7. Ordinances: Mary-Margaret attended the Planning Commission Meeting. Brian Quinn was in disagreement about the flood plain ordinance. He stated that there are several culverts discharging into the creek and said that environmental ordinances will not make a difference in the health of    the creek. More discussion about the ordinances will occur at the planning commission meeting in February. Joe Bresnan will attend that meeting. Brooke Marshall would like scientific evidence    proving that these ordinances will make an impact on the condition of the creek. The EAC would like assistance from the Wissahickon Watershed, Clean Water Action or the DEP in presenting the evidence supporting the impact riparian buffers, and steep slope protection have on the health of  waterways.

Matt Cooley stated, “Downstream flooding…people downstream have a voice. They should be    made aware (of the ordinances). I believe we are fighting because it is the right thing to do, so the Ambler waterways can be the best they can be. I recommend that we find an expert”

Susan Curry noticed that part of the ordinance had been crossed out. She is planning to attend the next Planning Commission Meeting.

The Wissahickon Watershed’s goal is to have all communities work together to reach the goal of  the TMDL.

  1. Wissahickon Watershed Stream Cleanup is April 30th, as always the last weekend of April. Earth Day is Friday, April 22nd.
  2. TreeVitalize Grant –. There is a minimum order of 10 trees – maximum number is 20 trees — to participate in the Tree-Vitalize program. Species of trees are on a 1st come, 1st serve basis and      cost $25. There are currently 6 tree orders. The EAC will purchase several trees to be placed in    Ambler Borough Parks and other public locations throughout the town. The borough public works department will pick them up and transport them to Ambler. David Morgan, Judy Simpson and Joe Sampson ? will be organizing this project. Jill and Chris gave out flyers announcing the program.  A stack is also located at the Borough Building.
  3. Edgewoods Preserve Tree Fest: April 16, 2016 on Edgewood Drive as a street fair. Lots of    children’s activities, tree planting instruction, information booths, restoration projects, music,        refreshments.
  4. Tree Information Desktop Tri-Panel Display: Susan Curry and Chris will work on the display.
  5. Sustainability film series slides: Susan Curry and Chris to work on slides and send them to      Brooke at Pennypack Farm & Education Center. Mary-Margaret, Steve, Chris and Susan Curry    will man the table in the lobby at the film series.
  6. EAC Plans for 2016: To have a greater presence in the community, particularly have a table at the Ambler Farmer’s Market, hold a plant swap, and lead a talk. Rain Garden Tour: Promote our “Do-it-yourself” model. Find landscapers who are willing to provide tentative example plans with estimated fees and possibly join the tour to discuss with attendees. Rea Monaghan’s husband is a landscaper who builds rain  gardens. Contact: rea@wvwa.org.
  7. Storm Drain Map: Raija is working on acquiring a map of storm drains throughout Ambler    for the EAC to use. Justin Murray has an older version. Glenn Kucher is also designing a storm    drain map for the borough.
  8. Fort Washington Business Alliance is scheduled for Thursday, February 18th, 2016. Two        representatives from the EAC may attend this event to discuss EAC initiatives to local business      leaders. Presentation: “Active Shooter Situation” Location: Upper Dublin Township Building, 801 Loch Alsh Avenue, Fort Washington, PA 19034. Time: 11:30 a.m. Networking, Noon to 1:15 p.m. Meeting. Email kathydisque@verizon.net to RSVP.

Officer David Madrak, UDPD, will present the various safety parameters for this               emergency situation., David E. Madrak, Professional Standards Officer, #81 – Patrol        Division, Upper Dublin Township Police Department

  1. EAC Budget was briefly discussed. $2,610 has been approved.
  2. TREEmendous Party: A DJ will provide music. Addicted2Dance will perform. The event is    scheduled from 7pm to 11pm. Tickets can be purchased at the door. There will be a 50/50 raffle as well as other raffle items. Setup volunteers will meet at 12:30pm to decorate the auditorium.

The meeting was adjourned around 9:30pm.

November 18, 2015 EAC Meeting Minutes

7:00PM to 9:30PM

Members in Attendance:  
Stephen Maakestad, Chair of EAC
Susan Johnsson,
Mary-Margaret Monser

Absent Members:
Charles Charlesworth

(One Vacancy)

Associates and Visitors in Attendance:
Susan Curry
Chris Raines

Action Items by Person:

  • Steve Maakestad –   .Meet with Mary Aversa. Give presentation to Borough Council in December. Contact prospective EAC members. Check with Gail about carryover process for unused budget funds. Attend BoRit Cag Meeting. Move tools from Susan Johnsson’s house to the EAC storage area in the borough building. Monitor EAC email.
  • Susan Johnsson – Send application to the Fort Washington Business Alliance. Contact Raija about invoices from Greg Gagliano.
  • Susan Curry – Work on Edgewood Forest Preserve Project. Send letter to the editor about the EAC and need for new members.
  • Mary-Margaret Monser – Mary Margaret will contact Charles Charlesworth to encourage him to attend the next EAC meeting. Plan Edgewood Preserve Beef and Beer Fundraiser with Chris Raines and others.
  • Charles Charlesworth – Attend BoRit Cag Meeting.
  • Chris Raines – Add photos from EAC events and monthly minutes to EAC web site.
    Post updates to Facebook page. Work with Mary-Margaret Monser on Edgewood Preserve Beef and Beer Fundraiser.
  • Rachel Rosenfeld – Participate in organization, planning and support of EAC projects.
  • Raija Suomela – Communicate with park maintenance contractors to begin work in Borough Park.
  • Matt Cooley – Attend Fort Washington Business Alliance Meeting in January, if work schedule allows. Participate in organization, planning and support of EAC projects schedule permits.

Agenda Topics:

  1. Council Meeting:

The Riparian buffer ordinance is being pursued. The Steep Slope ordinance has been postponed.

Rose Valley Creek Conservation District Ordinances were received. A letter submitted by Joseph Catuzzi, Esquire representing Mr. and Mrs. Quinn was also received. The Solicitor scheduled a meeting to discuss the letter and proposed language in the Riparian Buffer ordinance. Two clauses in the ordinance have been agreed on and two are being rewritten. One of the Quinn’s buildings is within 17 feet of the banks edge. This building has been grand fathered. Mr. Quinn would like to use his property as a business.

There was a discussion about the health of local creeks. Raking of leaves into creeks is not a good practice. An education program was discussed.

The EAC will consider reintroducing the woodlands ordinance after the Riparian buffer ordinance is completed.

  1. Protecting Green Spaces in Ambler (Library Presentation)

Mary-Margaret gave an excellent presentation with the help of Rachel Rosenfeld. Chris presented a certificate of appreciation to Rachel. Attendance was outstanding with standing room only. The audience was engaged and responsive to the subject.

The borough has written a MS4 TMDL Strategy (link at –http://www.boroughofambler.com/assets/MS4-TMDL-Strategy-2015-10-23.pdf) and is accepting comments during a 30-day public comment period (verbal and written comments). A public meeting date was advertised and comments were accepted at the November Committee meeting.

  1. 2016 Budget:

Public Meetings are scheduled for November 17, at 6:00pm, November 24, at 10:00am and December 1, at 6:00pm. This budget includes funding the EAC and Edgewood Preserve.

Donations of remaining budget funds for allocation to the Edgewood Preserve was voted on and affirmed by EAC members. At this time, there is $913.03 available. Susan Curry suggested purchasing sturdy shelving to hold EAC supplies at a store such as Staples or Quill for approximately $100. Edgewoods Preserve vote – Restricted account for open space. Susan Johnsson will give all to give to Gail by next week.

  1. Edgewood Preserve:

A total of $30,000 has been raised for the Edgewood Preserve and $45,000 is needed by February 2016. The fundraising committee is formulating an agreement of sale. A letter of intent was submitted with a $10,000 nonrefundable deposit. Attorney, Joe Breslin is in discussion with Mr. Retowski to extend date to April 2016. There is no agreement of sale yet. The EAC is also considering purchasing property from Tim Alexi as well. Sarah Hertz has done quite a bit of fundraising and the EAC will encourage her to join the fundraising committee.

  1. EAC Membership Availabilities:

Environmental Advisory Council (3 year term) –two seats. Susan Curry will send a letter to the editor to seek new members.

  1. The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program:

The program provides communities with resources to address community development needs. Susan will pursue a grant from the CDBG to purchase open space in the Edgewood Preserve.

  1. Ambler Borough Park Maintenance:

Greg Gagliano of Red Tail Restoration and Land Management LLC. has completed 8 hours of park maintenance. He will continue work within the next few weeks and the total cost should be $800 when complete.

  1. Mini Campaigns:

Showing Health of Wissahickon film (WVWA) at the borough building was suggested with an attendance goal of 35 or 45 people. Refreshments of wine and cheese is being considered.

A new mini campaign on trees is beginning. An information page called, “10 Reasons Why We Save Trees,” was posted on the EAC Facebook page. The Treevitalize program will start in Spring 2016. The EAC will hold a tree planting event in April on Edgewood Drive.

Treevitalize needs tree orders two months in advance. All trees are native and 12 to 15 feet tall. The list of available trees changes from year to year and is sent out in February. Municipalities from all over state order trees which are delivered to the Naval Yard in South Philadelphia. Trees are picked up there by municipalities representatives. Ambler borough will send a truck and EAC members must meet to choose the trees. The trees must be planted with in 2 days.

  1. CAG Meeting:

The Next BoRit CAG meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec 2nd. – Steve Maakestad or Charles Charlesworth will attend. The BoRit cleanup at the reservoir will be finished by early spring. Meetings are held at the Upper Dublin Township Building.

  1. Fort Washington Business Alliance:

The EAC is joining the Fort Washington Business Allliance to help gain support for environmental projects. FWBA luncheon meetings are held on the third Thursday of each month with networking from 11:30am to 12:00, followed by introductions and presentations. Up to two EAC members can attend each meeting.

  1. Other items:
  • Tools will be moved from Susan Curry’s house to borough building.
  • Susan Curry will ask the borough manager if a spare file cabinet is available. Otherwise Susan Johnsson will purchase one.
  • The December EAC meeting will be held at the Lucky Well –
  • There are 144 likes on the EAC Facebook page.
  • EAC – 2015 EAC Accomplishments Report and 2016 Plans to Council Dec. 1 (Maakestad)
  • Steve will talk to Mary about her ideas for 2016. Education for TMDL. January talk about the value of trees.
  • Earth Day is April 22nd, 2016.
  • Wissahickon Watershed Stream cleanup is scheduled for the last Saturday in April. The EAC will participate.

Items Postponed Until The Next Meeting:

Inventory of tools, signs, banners, flyers, info, etc.
The meeting was adjourned around 9:45pm.

Next Meeting Date: December 16th at Lucky Well at 6:30pm.