Quarterly Reporter September 2012

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

Next Meeting and Presentation – September 2012
Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 – 6:30 p.m.
George Luciano Center, Cumberland County College

“Rain Gardens”

Rain GardenSalvatore Mangiafico, an Environmental and Resource Management Agent with Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service will give a presentation on Rain Gardens. The creation of rain gardens is gaining interest and momentum in New Jersey given the new storm water management regulations. Rain Gardens help slow run-off, store storm water, recharge groundwater and add eye appeal to yards, retention basins, parking areas, and curbsides in rural, suburban and urban settings. Sal conducts rain garden training for Cumberland Countyís master gardener program and has helped design and construct several demonstration gardens in the area.

November 2012 Meeting and Presentation
Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 – 6:30 pm
Luciano Center, Cumberland County College
Annual Member Meeting plus Presentation

“Water Conservation”

Katie Barnett, Principal Environmental Specialist for NJDEP’s Water Resources Management Program, will talk about the NJ WaterSaver’s program and the successful water conservation models piloted throughout municipalities in NJ. Models include indoor retrofit programs, education in the schools & community, outdoor irrigation retrofits and municipal ordinances, community rain barrel and rain garden programs and more.

Up-Coming Events for Members and Friends

Our monthly Birding and Botany Walks at Waltman Park are truly enlightening in this urban oasis. You never know what you might see with our enthusiastic naturalists, including Tony Klock (most Saturdays), Mary Fusco, Dee Shiell, Jane and Lillian, and our devoted ‘regulars’ on the walks. Join us on the following dates:

Saturdays, Sept.15th, Oct. 20th, Nov. 17th – 9:30 am
Tuesdays, Sept. 18th, Oct. 23rd, Nov. 20th – 9:00 am
No walks in December and January

Our Down Jersey Dinner Dance was postponed due to the storms on June 29th. It is now taking place on Sunday, September 16th and you can still get tickets! It’s $75 per person for a great night out! Visit our website, www.cumauriceriver.org, and click through for details, including the menu. Except for seasonal changes to the menu, all details remain the same, even the same great band. In addition to the sale of Audubon prints, and a 50/50, there will be a couple of auction items (2-4). Of particular interest is a painting by the highly collectible regional artist Glenn Rudderow. Its horizontal format gives you a sense of entering the wetland that is the subject of the painting. You won’t want to miss placing a bid on this beauty.

We promise there will be no stopping the socializing and music for longer than 10 minutes, so put on your dancing shoes! Make your dance reservation by emailing cureservation@gmail.com. You can also pay online at www.cumauriceriver.org; click on Join Us and Donate Online and designate your online payment to Down Jersey Dinner Dance, or mail your check to CU Maurice River, PO Box 474, Millville, NJ 08332. For more information, contact Lillian Armstrong, Executive Director at Lillian.armstrong@cumauriceriver.org or 856-305-3238.

Red Footed Booby Galapagos IslandsThis just in! Curious about the Galapagos? Join us Tuesday, September 18th at 6:00 pm, for a presentation by Louise Zemaitis and Michael OíBrien “Upstairs at Winfields.” In July of 2013 CU Maurice River is offering a very special cruise, which will be shared with members of the Audubon Naturalist Society, a like-minded organization based out of Washington, D.C., and we hope you will consider joining us. The tour is being offered in partnership with Victor Emmanuel Nature Tours, (VENT), one of the finest birding and wildlife touring companies in the world.

The trip will be aboard the 38-passenger Isabella II, and CU members have been allocated 14 berths (7 cabins, two people per cabin). Cape May-based naturalists, and experienced international trip leaders, Michael O’Brien and Louise Zemaitis will be aboard. They graciously accepted our invitation to provide a photo-filled presentation, which is sure to make you give this once-in-a-lifetime trip some serious consideration. Please RSVP for to Lillian if you plan to attend “Upstairs at Winfields.” She can also provide you with detailed information about the Galapagos trip. You can make a dinner reservation either before (Winfields opens for dinner at 4:30 pm), or after by calling 856-327-0909.

Pat Witt documentary

Also note, the premier of “The Art Spirit: Pat Witt and the Barn Studio of Art” takes place the same evening right down the street at the Levoy Theatre. We have moved up the time of the Galapagos presentation to accommodate those who would like to attend both. Visit the Barn Studio’s website at www.barnstudio.org, for more information about the premier.

Monarch Mania, Saturday, September 29th at 2:00 pm at Cape May Point State Park. Join CU Trustee and Monarch enthusiast Karen Johnson for a tagging demonstration by the Monarch Monitoring Project in the East Pavilion, to the left of the Hawkwatch Platform. The presentation will be followed by a walk around the Blue Trail and visits to some of Cape May Pointís beautiful butterfly gardens. You are sure to see more than Monarchs — plenty of hawks will be migrating over the point that weekend, too. Please RSVP to Lillian, Lillian.armstrong@cumauriceriver.org if you plan to attend.

Our fall Paddle and Family Campfire will take place Saturday, October 6th at the Galetto residence. The paddle will depart at about 3:30 pm, and our pot luck dinner and campfire will follow beginning at 5:30 pm. Please RSVP to Lillian if you plan to attend, and use the following list to plan your contribution to dinner:
Last names beginning A through G: Bring a main dish
Last names beginning I through P: Bring a side dish or a dessert
Last names beginning Q through Z: Bring snacks, appetizers, salads

Tony in a kayakIf most folks follow the guidelines above, it will be fine if one or two stray a bit in order to make their specialty. CU will provide soft drinks, hot dogs and buns, and s’mores. Last year, we had a blast singing around the camp fire and star-gazing on the dock. Let’s do it again! By the way, this is a great event for friends and families, and a wonderful way for new members to meet new people. If the weather does not cooperate for the campfire we will still have our pot luck.

And, Saturday, October 20th at 6:30 pm is our Annual Ah Why Knot! Volunteer Dinner at Union Lake Sailing Club. Please RSVP, as space is limited. Invite your family and friends to this annual event, which celebrates our members’ and volunteers’ hard work and dedication to CU Maurice River and our mission. As in previous years, Red Knot Awards will be given to volunteers and members of the local environmental community whose efforts have been outstanding. This year’s honorees will be announced in the invitation you will receive in mid-September. A donation of $50 per person is suggested for this festive occasion. And we’re hoping to make this event better than ever! Keep those yummy appetizers cominí, and we promise no mushy veggies. Contact Lillian to make reservations or to help with planning, shopping, set-up, cooking, beverage set-up, and breakdown, 856-305-3238 or email lillian.armstrong@cumauriceriver.org. Please relay community-minded business contacts to Jane for possible sponsorship of the dinner 856-327-1161 or forrivers@comcast.net.

And finally… join the incomparable Pat Sutton for a day of tree-gazing on Saturday, December 1st. GIANTS AMONG US: CAPE MAY COUNTY’S BIGGEST TREES is a driving tour of 100-300 year-old trees in northern Cape May County. From 10 am to 3:30 pm, weíll visit 40+ Giants from Goshen north to Tuckahoe and west to Eldora. Lyman Hoffman explored southern New Jersey and chronicled the largest trees. Between 2004-2006, Pat co-led these tours with Lyman. We lost Lyman in 2008, but in this tour his love of trees lives on! The trip will be limited to 20 people and costs $20 for members and $30 for non-members. Carpooling is strongly suggested. Participants will meet at the Cape May Bird Observatory, Rt. 47 in Goshen and should come with a full tank of gas, plenty of beverages, lunch, sunscreen, and layered clothing, raincoat & umbrella (just in case), camera, binoculars, note pad & pen. Please contact Lillian Armstrong to register and arrange payment.

Call for Volunteers

Volunteers are needed for the Annual East Point Artists Day at East Point Light on Saturday, September 15th. This is a great family event, with live music by the Snake Brothers. Stroll around the grounds and peek over the shoulders of some of the areaís finest artists as they work. CU provides ‘Paint-a-Lighthouse’ for kids and tells folks all about our wonderful organization. Please let Lillian know if you can help. The event runs from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, so it would be great if we had enough help for two shifts. Set-up and break-down are easy, as they supply the tent!

CU Maurice River Advocacy Update

Jane and Lillian remain involved in a number of local and regional environmental activities in order to represent our members and to protect and promote the Maurice River. They are regular participants in the bi-monthly meetings of the South Jersey Bayshore Coalition, where advocacy issues are discussed and actions determined. They have also attended the monthly meetings of the Bayshore Heritage Byway Corridor Management Committee for the past year, which are now coming to a close. Regarding the Byway, as a result of our efforts and the input of our like-minded colleagues in the environmental and historic communities, and funding obtained through NJDOT for the very capable consulting firm Lardner/Klein, a detailed Corridor Management Plan will be published, which will serve as the basis for future Federal funding opportunities within the region, as well as the pursuit of a National Heritage Area designation for the New Jersey Bayshore. Although these processes are lengthy and time-consuming, we feel it is very important for CU Maurice River to be at the table, and to be heard on behalf of our constituents.

We are also keeping a close eye on on-going Cumberland County and NJDEP planning efforts related to Sewer Service Areas (SSAís). The State Master Plan calls for the designation of new SSAís within the next several months, and recommendations have now been submitted by individual counties for ultimate approval by NJDEP. CU Maurice River is specifically concerned about proposed SSAís on the Holly Farm (aka Holly Ridge) and in the proposed development area adjacent to Union Lake, aka the Wawa Tract. There are to be at least two opportunities for public comment before the final decisions are made, and we intend to make our voices heard. Many thanks to all who attended the June 26th Freeholder Meeting regarding Holly Ridge. It did not go our way, but we remain involved in the fight.

The Millville Engineering Department and their consultant graciously spent time with members of the local environmental community to explain the plans for a new water well. The City also agreed to explore possible conservation measures that will help to insure Millvilleís water supply into the future. Our concern is the seriously depleted nature of the Maurice Riverís water flow.

Additionally Millville City Engineer, John Knoop, was kind enough to review the conservation areas that have been set aside as part of our settlement with the Motorsports Park. These areas were added to the NJ Green Acres Recreation Open Space Inventory. We will be discussing habitat plans for these areas with the Engineering Staff.

In our continued effort to keep the smaller tributaries at a lower impact from visitation and recreation use, we have reprinted and replaced some of the ìNo Wakeî signs. A special thank you to the Sprengles for leading this effort.

2012 Summer Activity Wrap-Up

We had a lovely and relaxing time at our Covered Dish dinner and Sunset Paddle at Union Lake Tennis and Sailing Club on Saturday, July 14th. We also enjoyed the projection of a collection of turn-of-the-century slides of bygone days at the Lake. It was a beautiful evening and about 25 paddlers took a leisurely trip around the lower portion of the lake, and several others enjoyed the great covered dish dinner and a ride on a pontoon boat.

The productivity of the Maurice River Osprey population held up this year. We banded approximately 67 juveniles. We were able to reach a good number of folks with the importance of species recovery. This year New Jersey is considered to have reached a historic milestone as the number of nesting pairs reached 500, which is the number of pairs believed to be present before the crash caused by DDT contamination. We were featured on WHYY in a story by Carolyn Beeler about CUís volunteer recovery effort. A number of newspapers and weeklies also featured this milestone.

After a series of calls from residents on the Upper Menantico that water flow was impeded by downed trees and vegetation, CU investigated. Our thoughts were that possibly parrot feather was a contributing factor. Although it was not a factor in waterflow, we sadly report that additional populations of the exotic invasive plant species parrot feather were identified in the watershed. The impeded waterflow was causing flooding in yards, and septic systems were affected. The double whammy for these residents was the wicked storm of June 30 that added that many more trees to the equation. The county mosquito commission answered our call for help. They also are trying not to disturb the parrot feather which can root from broken off segments. We are working with USFWS to address the plant.

And, on Saturday, August 4th, CU Trustee Laurie Pettigrew took another group of twenty paddlers on the Oranoaken Paddling Trail. They departed from Beaver Dam Boat Rentals at a little after noon, and according to Laurie’s report, a great time was had by all. Thanks so much, Laurie, for making it a great day!

Purple Martin flock

And, the weekend of August 10th, the Purple Martins were SPECTACULAR, indeed… although the weather forecast caused some anxiety, to say the least! Due to three days of frightful weather forecasts, we decided to postpone our Friday cruise onboard the Bodacious and move it to Sunday. Luckily, most participants were able to either bump over to Saturday or take us up on the Sunday offer. We even added a few more for Sunday! The fact is, the weather was fine all three nights (in Port Norris, Leesburg, Dorchester and Mauricetown, anyway) and the Purple Martins put on their spectacular show every night at dusk, much to the wonder and amazement of those who viewed them either from the Bodacious, or the platform at the bridge, or in canoes and kayaks, either personally owned or rented from Al & Samís. Many thanks to all who helped, especially Karen Johnson for organizing the volunteers for the platform, Pete Dunne for adding his expertise and enthusiasm on the platform, and Allen Jackson for providing his expert commentary and personal Q&A sessions aboard the Bodacious.

It really does seem that while some species are declining, Purple Martins are increasing, which is a direct result of the many human landlords who provide them safe and comfortable housing each spring and summer. Not only are the number of birds increasing, so are the number of observers; we estimate that about 250 people observed the staging event over the three days of activities. Many observers said this yearís staging numbers were better than any in recent memory. Again, our hat is off to CU member extraordinaire, Allen Jackson, who has led the Purple Martin recovery effort in southern New Jersey for many, many years.

YMCA Summer Camp Merrywood was a huge success, as well! From mid-June through mid-August, several CU members, Trustees and friends offered a few hours of their time a couple of times a week to bring a connection with nature to the campers at Merrywood. CU Trustee Sue Fenili wonít mind our telling you she worked her (albeit tiny) b*tt off on this, and she thanked all the volunteers by saying, ìYou are sainted! You did it! Thank you so much for sharing your time, skills, and love of nature with the campers at Camp Merrywood this summerÖ You made a difference—-by helping young people discover the area and appreciate the environment. Hopefully they will now become stewards of the Earth.î We just had to share that great message!

Elevate dayClosing out our summer activities was the annual Elevate! Day on Friday, August 17th. For the past 8 years we have been hosting a summer enrichment program called Elevate! for a day of activities on the River. This has become a favorite event of many of our volunteers. This year we had 16 volunteers and an equal number of guests. They learned to canoe, how use binoculars for identifying birds, they enjoyed a river boat ride, painting a landscape of the river, identified some fish from the river and even were treated to a slide show of the previous yearís adventure. The motor boat ride proved to be particularly eventful as during three out of four trips we got to see foxes run from their den in the bluff right across the face of the bluff. The kids saw eagles up close and personal, and they even picked out much of the wildlife themselves. We had a super day of fun in the sun. We think we might have a created a few new stewards of the great out-of-doors!

The CU (bi-monthly) Reporter is now the CU Quarterly Reporter!

If you are still getting the print version of this newsletter as well as receiving it via email, we encourage you to opt for the green only emailed edition ñ which includes lots of color photos! If you are not on our email list, please send your email address to Lillian.armstrong@cumauriceriver.org, and let us know if you would like to be removed from our USPS mailings. This applies only to newsletters; you will still receive special mailings and invitations.

And, don’t forget to keep your membership up to date. It means a lot to us. Dues are set at $20 for individuals and $30 for families. But as a matter of fact, the average membership donation in 2011 was an amazing $75.00! Your generosity continues to encourage us to work that much harder. Actually, like nearly all non-profits,our regular dues do not cover our activities so we continually ask those who can to participate at a higher level of giving. Mail your check to PO Box 474, Millville, NJ 08332 or pay online here.

And thanks to all those who give the equally important gift of your time.
We couldn’t do all this without you! CU on the River!

Notice of Annual Meeting of Membership

The Annual Meeting of the membership will be held at 6:30 P.M. on November 14th, 2012 at the George Luciano Center, on the campus of Cumberland County College.

This Annual Meeting will afford Delegate Members the opportunity to fill vacancies arising on the Board of Trustees. If you have received a proxy along with this Newsletter, you are a Delegate Member and are entitled to vote, in person or by proxy. If you have not received a proxy and would like to vote at subsequent annual meetings, you can make that request of the Board in person, at the Annual Meeting, or in writing.

Generally, members of the Board of Trustees are elected for three-year-terms. Trustees whose terms end in 2013 and 2014 will be continuing their service to the organization. Five (5) of the incumbent Trustees whose terms are expiring in 2012 have expressed the desire and willingness to serve for another term (ending in 2015). They are Jane Morton Galetto, Diane Amico, Anthony Klock, Sue Fenilli and Mary Ann Russell. No new nominees are being presented.

If the nominees are elected, the roster of Trustees during the coming year would be:

Term Ending in 2013
Term Ending in 2014
Term Ending in 2015
Irene Bird
Karen Johnson
Jane Morton Galetto
Ethan Aronoff
Berwyn Kirby
Diane Amico
Leslie Ficcaglia
Richard Jones
Anthony Klock
Sue Leopold
Laurie Pettigrew
Sue Fenili
Mary Fusco
Mary Ann Russell

After the Annual Meeting, the Trustees will appoint Officers to serve for the coming year. The Board currently intends to appoint the following individuals to serve in the following respective capacities of Officers of Citizens United:

Jane Morton Galetto President
Tony Klock Treasurer
Irene Bird Assistant Treasurer
Diane Amico Recording Secretary
Karen Johnson Corresponding Secretary

Second Wednesdays of the odd numbered months from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Cumberland County College, Luciano Center
September 12, 2012
November 14, 2012