CU Reporter June/July 2003

Thursday, July 10, 2003
Millville Public Library, Gant Room
Millville 6:30 p.m.-8:30

CU Member and Natural Lands Trust preserve manager Steve Eisenhauer took the initiative to lead us in a project that complements our Celebrating Our Sense of Place, Teachers’ Curriculum. The lesson involves orienting skills using aerial sky photographs. Steve took the photos and then had them labeled and framed. We have been helping in the enjoyable task of distributing the finished product to the schools, corporations and municipalities. Steve distributed these photos to numerous schools that participated in school-yard habitat creation and also to companies and municipal entities including Millville Municipal Sewage, Landis Sewage, Silverton Marine, Millville Rescue Squad, City of Millville and T-Fal. Each is received with great enthusiasm by participants and it is a lot of fun to make the deliveries. A special thanks to the National Park Service Wild and Scenic Rivers Partnership Grant Program for making this possible.

CU assisted in banding this year’s young eagles and made arrangements for Vineland HS biology teacher/ swim coach John Casadia to document the event.

“Eggs to Flight” is a photo essay on the maturation process of osprey chicks which is being posted on our website. The first photos were taken on May 17th after two of three eggs in the Meadowview nest had hatched. A photo is added each week and it is amazing to see how fast they grow. The link for “Eggs to Flight” is on the bottom of our home page – The harsh spring has taken its toll on osprey productivity; we had more active nests this year than last, but will band fewer than 35 chicks in contrast to last year’s 60.

We have been involved in the marathon of cell tower applications in Maurice River Township for a full year! Todd Heck has done a splendid job of representing our objections to placing industrial structures in the Wild and Scenic River viewscape. Special thanks to Todd and members who attended these meetings.

On May 22nd Millville’s R.D. Wood School’s teaching staff held a Down Jersey teachers’ workshop. It was well attended and Christine Raabe covered a lot of ground in a short amount of time. The teachers were enthusiastic participants and everyone seemed to take away some new ideas for lessons.

Jane Morton Galetto visited our sister group, the Great Egg Harbor Watershed Association, at their last meeting and shared the Down Jersey visitor film and the Celebrating Our Sense of Place Teachers’ Kit. It appeared as though everyone enjoyed an evening of networking.

In our last newsletter we reported that Millville sought to create a Redevelopment Area which would expand the existing Airport Industrial Park to about 4200 acres. The City has made two important commitments/ omissions. One is to support the preservation of the river corridor just south of Center City Millville, which represents about 300 acres of coastal bluff. This is an area we have sought to protect since 1986. The second is the removal of the Triangle from the proposed Redevelopment Area. This includes about 700 acres that we have advocated protecting throughout a seemingly endless barrage of deleterious development proposals, including a barging / sand mining operation which, if permitted, would have resulted in a borrow pit that exceeded Union Lake’s 850 acres (an adjacent 800+ parcel was also involved), and a projected sludge disposal site. The Redevelopment Plan will continue to warrant close examination. There are a number of issues that remain, especially for adjacent neighbors of the Redevelopment Area: noise, traffic, impact on property values, expanded infrastructure, etc.

Over 400 signatures were presented to DEP officials and the City of Millville, encouraging Millville and the State to preserve some additional large critical habitat areas. (Sadly, one of our volunteers reported that 6 pages of signatures were stolen at Bayday, representing about 120 signatures – we did not learn of this until after we turned in the petitions. Imagine that.) Folks are still asking for petitions.

Members Leslie Ficcaglia, Allen Jackson, Pete Dunne, and Steve Eisenhauer have been participating in the planning for the second Purple Martin Festival on August 23, 2003, which will be held at the Port Elizabeth elementary school in Maurice River Township this year. They hope to top last year’s attendance of approximately 300 people. A special thanks to them and the Cumberland County Office of Planning and Development, Public Information, and Heritage/ Tourism Office for all their efforts.

We had some good sports for Bayday. Saturday, the scheduled day, proved to be one of the nastiest spring days on record! Yet our volunteers not only showed up but returned for an unscheduled rain day on Sunday. These are the brave wet souls who literally dove into Bayday: Mary Lou Barbose, Joanne Murphine, Ethan Aronoff, Katie Waltman, Ed & Donna Pio, Mathew Pustizzi, Jane Morton Galetto, and Laura Johnson. A number of these folks worked both days! Umbrellas-up and hats-off to these hearty workers.

As Chairwoman of the Endangered and Nongame Species Advisory Committee (DEP, NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife) and Marine Fisheries Horseshoe Crab Subcommittee, member Jane Galetto offered testimony regarding horseshoe crab harvest before the Marine Fisheries Council. The Council elected not to veto DEP Commissioner’s emergency rule thus putting in place the current rule which reduces the harvest by 50% and limits harvest times to exclude the shorebird stopover. This will result in a higher level of protection for shorebirds and crabs.

The National Park Service’s NJ Coastal Heritage Trail was kind enough to provide their newest brochure for our members to enjoy.

CU on the River!