CU Reporter April/May 2003

Thursday, May 8, 2003
Millville Public Library, Gant Room
Millville 6:30 p.m.-8:30

Thursday, Thursday, Thursday, Thursday – did you say Thursday? Yes, we have changed to Thursdays (at 6:30).

Current Action Items
This is an unusual time for us. On a rather infrequent basis we need to engage ourselves in objecting to proposals at the municipal level. Presently we have at least two very time-consuming struggles. One is directed at maintaining the scenic vistas along the Wild and Scenic River corridor. A number of telecommunications companies are seeking to place a 150’-199’ tower just outside of the quarter-mile protection area. To avoid similar threats we have provided several municipalities with model ordinances that have subsequently been adopted. These ordinances help to maintain the local viewscape. We have a real concern that construction along the linear infrastructure on either side of the river will cause the loss of the vistas. One only needs to cross the Mauricetown Causeway to see the industrial image the two looming towers send. We have legal grounds to object to the current proposal and have spent countless hours attending the Land Use Board meetings in Maurice River Township. In the past we have had success in finding alternatives or redirecting the cell companies to sites that are not visually objectionable. If you get a chance to come out to encourage us, or to voice your own objection, please do. This applicant will be before the board for several more months, unless they politely withdraw.

The second situation is much more distressing. It involves the City of Millville looking to expand development into Agricultural and Land Conservation zones by pursuing a “Redevelopment Area” (RA). This is in direct opposition to our mission and the City’s master plan. The very board that is the guardian of the master plan has voted unanimously to move forward to create a proposal for 4,200 acres. From an environmental perspective many conservation groups in New Jersey see this and the City’s bogus moratorium as “a” if not “the” pivotal battle in the Smart Growth initiative. This not only bears watching but begs participation. We will need every ounce of help we can muster. The RA attempt looks at 2800 acres of land, including the prized triangle that we have a long history of seeking to protect (the old Genstar battle). Some of the 15 objectives that the City asked the consultant to consider include attracting a motor sports facility, financing a highway connecting route 55 to the airport with a Maurice River bridge, and allowing City officials to exercise the power of eminent domain over the affected RA.

In the past 24 years we have generally negotiated a conclusion to all of our challenges. Normally we can reach solutions that are win/win scenarios for the majority of participants. In this instance we need to prepare to contest the statutory basis for this designation, which claims that land that was never developed and is environmentally sensitive is in need of redevelopment. Let’s hope a positive conclusion can be achieved on an informal basis. We are going to need everyone’s help!

Leslie M. Ficcaglia Wins EPA Award
Trustee Leslie M. Ficcaglia has been selected to receive an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Quality Award for Individual Achievement in Region 2, which encompasses New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. These awards recognize achievements by citizens, organizations, businesses, educational and government entities, and the news media. They are the highest external awards the Agency bestows and they are presented in observance of Earth Day in NYC at the EPA Regional headquarters on April 24, 2003.

Leslie Ficcaglia has distinguished herself through over 30 years of contributions to the protection of natural resources in the Southern New Jersey Delaware Bayshore Region and the Pinelands Preserve.

Citizens United President Jane Morton Galetto stated, “I can think of no more deserving individual than Leslie for such an honor. She has devoted countless volunteer hours to the environment and its species. Her devotion of time, expertise and genuine concern has greatly impacted the positive growth and development of the Southern New Jersey watershed in many ways.”

Window Display in Downtown Millville
We were very honored that carver Dotty Berner thought to ask Citizens United to participate in the Renaissance Center for the Arts recent wildlife art show. Our display made a nice splash in their window and enabled us to encourage folks to check out CU. A special thank you to Donna Vertolli and Suzy Merighi for hanging the window display!

Osprey PlatformThe Place is Hopping!
The Ospreys have returned in full force and it appears that most of the platforms have tenants. The volunteers this year outdid themselves in making the March 9 deadline. We straightened up the ice-damaged nests and even got up a new platform. So everything is a go.

Our Sixteenth Winter Raptor Waterfowl Study Is Complete.
It is most wonderful to note that for the first time it is dedicated to someone’s memory, our friend Dr. Ed Nemore. Ornithologist Clay Sutton did this unprompted. Quote: “Beyond his exemplary dedication as a physician, Ed was very well known for his devotion and support of environmental causes, and for his love of Cumberland County and the Maurice River and its tributaries. Particularly, I had the honor and pleasure of sitting with Ed several times on the banks of the lovely Manumuskin river, and discussing arts, politics, and environmental issues, along with, mostly, the wonder of the rivers.”

Kickoff of the Volunteer Stream Assessment Program
On April 19, 2003 a training session was held at the Parvin and Tarkiln Branches as the first step in a grant conducted under the direction of our consultant Omni Engineering. Fred Akers and Tim Jacobsen.are managing this project and need volunteers to do stream assessments. It is very interesting and you can learn a lot about the health and nature of waterways. Fred’s e-mail address is –; his phone number 856-697-6114 and Tim’s address is – timjacobsen@cccnj.nj. Tim and two Rowan professors are getting their students involved. Please contact them and participate.

CU on the River!