CU Reporter July/August/September 2007

Updates from Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and Its Tributaries, Inc.

Meeting September 12, 2007 – 6:30 p.m.
(Our normal schedule is the second Wednesday of odd-numbered months)
Millville Public Library, Gant Room

Presentation By
Kenneth Strait, PSEG

Estuary Enhancement staff member Kenneth Strait will give a presentation to Citizens United about the status of the revegetation of the Delaware Bayshore marshes through its the Estuary Enhancement Program. PSEG began working in 1994 to restore and preserve portions of the Delaware Estuary in both New Jersey and Delaware. Since then, they have restored, enhanced, and/or preserved more than 20,000 acres of salt marsh and adjacent uplands to vital, healthy habitat for fish and wildlife.

Please vote! – This November election will allow you to support critical bridge funding for the Green Acres / Garden State Preservation Trust by voting yes on a ballot question. This bond is crucial for the continuance of open space preservation in NJ. Clean air and water depend on us. Please vote YES! Thank you.

Mark those Calendars – the Ah Why Knot Awards are on Saturday, October 20, 2007 from 6:30 pm til 11:30 pm. Please keep an eye out for your invitation. We are going to need a wide variety of volunteers: returning chefs and new ones too, a clean up crew, decorations, beverage servers, sponsors, ticket buyers and sellers. So if you can help out in these areas please let us know. We promise not to use the fireplace this year!

Campfire Recollections – On October 11, we will have our second Recollections event of the year. It will be held at the Laurel Lake Property Owners Association from 6:30 – 930 p.m. Bring a lawn chair and dress in layers. Come share your river stories and have some fun roasting marshmallows and hot dogs. Located at the end of Narcissus Lane – in line with Silver Run Road’s (Route 627) southern terminus with Buckshutem Road. Please RSVP so we can have adequate franks, buns, beans etc. Call Renée at 856-305-3238 or email

Osprey bandingRecord Number of Osprey – We banded a record 69 ospreys from 31 platforms. Because of the vastly different time schedules the birds were on, we expected to have a number of nest failures. Overall we did well, but the numbers produced per nest were slightly off. Last year we banded 66 chicks on 27 platforms or 2.4 per nest. In fact, had we banded 2.5 birds per nest we would have banded 77 chicks this year. Our record is an astounding 2.8 chicks per nest. We lost one adult to monofilament this year. Its mate did not hook up with another bird and thus that nest was inactive, so a lone adult perched there throughout the season. On the upside we did rescue a number of chicks that were ensnarled in line when making nest checks. On Thompson’s Beach Rd. the newly erected nest produced 2 chicks. In the fall we wish to move a nest closer to the river because access has become difficult. Volunteers interested in helping out can give Jane a call at 856-327-1161 or email her at

Osprey bandingWow! CU Member Allen Jackson does it again! Allen, with the help of some cohorts, banded 6000 martins this year. Allen reports that we are banding over 50% of the martins in the U.S. We have no doubt that this is because of Allen’s efforts! He is very active in the Purple Martin Conservation Association. As a martin mentor he is involved year round educating the public about the proper management techniques for landlords and landlord wannabes. Allen was PMCA’s Landlord of the Year in 2002, an award that covers all of North America and is bestowed on an individual who assists martin landlords and ultimately purple martins. He maintains numerous colonies and gets folks started with these birds. Why does Allen do this? Well, east of the Mississippi River martins are totally reliant on people for their nesting cavities so without landlords there are no martins, and Allen loves martins. Recently, we found out that not only does Allen devote untold hours on his love of martins, but he purchases his own bands and naturally has many travel expenses. CU will help Allen to defray these costs with a banding stipend.

By time this newsletter is received the Purple Martin Festival of August 24 & 25 should have taken place. Many members will have invested considerable energy in seeing that folks had fun viewing martins at the festival. And most will have seen some of those 6000 martins that Allen banded plus untold thousands more. CU Trustee Leslie Ficcaglia will have been a liaison between Maurice River Twp.’s Deputy Clerk Linda Costello and the Cumberland County Department of Tourism. Officer Karen Johnson will have orchestrated volunteer docents to help folks understand the roosting phenomenon. Special thanks to our dedicated volunteers: Sandra Keller, Sue Fenili, Janet Crawford, Tony Klock, Kathy Michel, Diane Jones, Tom Reed, David Lord, Steve Eisenhauer (also of The Natural Lands Trust), Chuck and Maryjane Slugg- as well as any others who pitched in to help.

CU Apparel – We have recently had an embroidered version of our logo made and plan to have some apparel created for our members to purchase. The likely choices will be sweatshirts, polos and hats. So stay tuned.

Classroom Experiences – Once again we are working with the AHEC program at South Jersey Regional Medical Center. AHEC is designed to introduce students to science-based activities and occupations by setting up a series of classes with summer programs at the schools. We have made osprey guards, painted wood duck boxes, installed gardens and modeled impacts to watersheds. One hundred students have been very enthusiastic participants in this program.

The Elevate 2K7 Summer Enrichment Program participated in their third annual experience on the river. This community program is called R.E.S.C.U.E. – Reinforcing Essential Skills Character & Unparalleled Excellence. A mixed age group of 15 school aged children enjoyed a day on the River. They painted landscapes, viewed birds, kayaked, canoed and went for a boat ride. Cindy Ahern and her son Eric, of Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, attended with two surprise visitors in tow – 2 recently rehabilitated osprey deemed ready for release. The first release necessitated a water rescue by Steve Eisenhauer and Renée Scagnelli. After drying off this bird, it ultimately was sent back to the facility for a little more R&R. The other released bird flew very well, and clearly let the other river osprey know it was on stage with lots of calling and bravado. Sadly, after three days of freedom it was found worn out at Owl Cove and also needed to be sent back to the Tri-State. The Elevate students seemed delighted with their experiences and everyone had a great time. Other volunteers on hand were Tom McKee, Irene Bird, Pat Moore, Jane Galetto, and Roselena and Tony Ficcaglia. A special thanks to Steve Eisenhauer of the Natural Lands Trust for providing the kayaks, canoes and necessary gusto to enthrall the kids.


Annual support – All of you should have received your annual note requesting a yearly donation. Please be so kind as to respond generously as we are very busy trying to accomplish a great many things. A special thanks goes to Jill Mortensen who has sent letters to her physicians colleagues, encouraging them to support our efforts.

Grants Writing and Reporting – Jane and Renée spend a certain amount of time matching your hard-earned dollars by applying for grants and other dedicated funds. We have been fortunate enough to get support from different grant sources. Part and parcel to this success are reporting requirements. We simply wanted you to know we work hard to leverage your support. Some examples of what these contributions fund are: Raptor Recovery Days – Cumberland County Improvement Authority; School Habitat Programs – AHEC; Giant Step (a capacity building program for CU) – The Watershed Institute; and recently we have applied for grant to obtain a storage area from the Norcross Foundation. A wide array of programs is supported by the National Park Service’s partnership grant program. So we thank you all!

Bring Your Own BoatThe Bring Your Own Boat event on July 28 was a great experience. We had about a dozen folks participate and really enjoyed ourselves in Menantico Ponds. One of the highlights was a number of young men enjoying a rope swing. Gordon Moore said he remembered swinging from the same bank in his youth. Although safety standards clearly weren’t being adhered to, somehow this just seemed like what lazy hot summer days ought to be about: a bunch of young daredevils carelessly swinging in the breeze seeking a cool plunge. Renée braved a swing herself after being cheerfully goaded into it by the guys.

East Point’s Artist Day took place on August 4, 2007. Tricia Dufford, Kay Finn and Art Parkin assisted budding artists to take a moment to appreciate our River’s little gem – East Point Light. This aid to navigation stands to mark the entrance to the Maurice, and each year people come to celebrate its long-standing existence with art and song. We thank our volunteers and Art Director Tricia Dufford for taking the time to further foster peoples’ interest in the Light – while reportedly fighting heat and bugs.

Holly Farm Developer Crosses One Hurdle – You may have read in the newspaper that our struggle to protect the Holly Farm property continues. On August 6, three judges announced their decision. We had contended that the Holly Farm development applicants’ general development plan was not detailed enough regarding stormwater design and the protection of a wide range of threatened and endangered species that inhabit the property. The judges ruled in the applicant’s favor, saying at the “General Development Plan” level it was too early to expect a detailed presentation regarding species and stormwater concerns. Although we would have preferred that these concerns be addressed up front, this ruling means nothing more than that the applicant’s zoning is locked in for the next 20 years. They still have to meet environmental standards on all site plans, and they must satisfy all other regulatory provisions. The up-side is that the court made it clear that the applicant’s plan must address these issues at subsequent hearings. So in other words, our work is cut out for us as we continue to seek a positive outcome – the preservation of a unique and habitat-rich tract of land that connects many significant protected forests.

Willow Grove Press Release – A lengthy press release was sent to both the press and our e-mail hot line members outlining the history of our efforts to protect Willow Grove Lake as well as our support for its restoration. The full release may be read at our website If you are not included in our e-mail hotline please be sure to join by providing us with your e-mail address.

Adopt a Swamp Pink Population – Associate Director Renée Scagnelli gave a presentation at the Millville Library on Swamp Pink on August 8th. After learning about swamp pink and its status as a federally threatened species, volunteer opportunities to monitor plant populations for U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service were discussed. For volunteers interested in this type of opportunity, please contact Renée at 305-3238 or e-mail her at

Books to Libraries – Donations of Patrick Hossay’s book Unsustainable: A Primer in Global Environmentalism and Social Justice were made to the Millville, Vineland, Bridgeton, and Cumberland County Libraries. Dr. Hossay was the speaker at our March meeting.

South Jersey Bayshore Coalition Inventory – Rutger’s CRSSA program has nearly completed the Bayshore inventory which the South Jersey Bayshore Coalition commissioned. Jane, Renée, and CU member Tom McKee traveled to New Brunswick for a day of training on this local GIS inventory.

CU on the River!