Minutes were recorded for the meeting on August 8th, 2018 at the Great Valley High School Library, 225 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA 19355. Meeting was held from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Attendees were Carol Armstrong, Richard Findlay, Veda Maany, Daniel Walker, and guests were Tom Heisey, Steve Kunz, and Jonathan Meyers from Schuylkill Township EAC.
Apologies from Pete Goodman and Greg Nesspor.
The meeting was called to order at 6:05 pm with Carol Armstrong as the Chair.
Meeting started with a presentation organized by two members of the EAC Schuylkill township, Tom Heisey (with a background in construction and site work) and Steve Kunz (with a background in ecology). In a PowerPoint presentation, they discussed their journey to find and name 13 streams in the Schuylkill township that have yet to give names to some streams. They had identified 13 streams in total (mostly tributaries of the Pickering, French, and Valley creeks), and with the aid of the township historical society and historical resources like Harman Rees’s book Historical Sketches of Charlestown Township to provide a historical context for the actual names chosen. Four of the streams actually start in Charlestown township- Buckwalter Run, Wheatley Mine Run, Lenape Run, Wersler Run. Two of these were actually documented in Rees Book. Although all streams are protected by Pennsylvania’s 1937 Clean Streams Law, the idea is that names give them an identity which then confers more interest in protecting and optimizing the health of local watersheds. Steve referenced a book by Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass, which speaks to the importance of names providing identities. There are many small headwaters that are unnamed in our area, and they are very important as most of the water is actually in the headwaters itself, and headwaters provide healthy conditions and nutrition (from natural forest detritus) for downstream. Although all streams are protected by Pennsylvania’s 1937 Clean Streams Law, there is a waiver in PA for a permit to waive regulations if one wants to do work in less than 100 acres if there are no wetlands associated with it. This is concerning for health of aquatic life which needs trees and leaves for sustainability.
To know what streams are in your area, and if they already have names, there are two databases to consult. National Hydrography Dataset contains a digital geospatial dataset that maps the surface waters of the United States. The other database is the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), which is the official repository of domestic geographic names, and the source within the USGS to which one would apply to officially name a stream. Steve showed in his slides the specific criteria and considerations for proposing a name, for example, It must have some present or historical local usage, cannot promote commercialism, etc. There is an online application form in which all the information is entered, to be reviewed by the Board of Geographic Names. Following the BGN decision, the newly approved name is recorded in GNIS, thus making it official for Federal use. All Federal agencies (such as FEMA) are required to accept the BGN’s decisions and to update their maps, charts, websites, and other products before publication, or if already published, at the time of the next revision.
Schuylkill EAC members have already submitted an application for a stream they have named Potters Run, and approval is pending. For Charlestown township EAC’s own project of naming of streams, we would discuss whether to engage residents to participate in the naming process. Also it is an opportunity for inter-township educational efforts for the public to learn about stormwater management and stream health. Charlestown Township is supplied mostly by the Pickering watershed , which has been classified as high quality, and the portion in Charlestown was designated able to support aquatic life in the DEP 2016 report on water quality of streams. To proceed with a similar project to name the unnamed tributaries would be a great investment in protecting our waters.
We thanked Tom and Steve for their wonderfully informative presentation, and they offered to be a continued resource for us.
Minutes of Previous meeting: These had been previously circulated and reviewed electronically. Findlay made a motion approve the minutes and Armstrong second that motion.
Charlestown Day on September 15th 10 am - 2 pm. We discussed our table set-up, which includes an information poster on the EAC (Veda), copies of EAC application form to recruit more members (Carol), information on watersheds and streams (Carol), pamphlets on rain gardens and rain barrels (Carol), demonstration on ways to use invasive species, e.g Carol will present recipes to cook with garlic mustard (alliaria petiolata), children’s games (Carol), reusable Wegman’s bags (Findlay), and display of native vs. invasive plants (Carol and Veda). Tredyffrin community day is on same day but later in the afternoon. Carol is planning on attending as a measure to enhance inter-township relations especially regarding resident stormwater management.
PennDOT’s use of herbicides on Charlestown roads. Findlay is approaching PennDOT to ask for what chemicals they use (their website shows a list of chemicals) and if it could be replaced with mechanical cutting. Dan thinks they are spreading a growth inhibitor.
Reminder for EAC members: get on Linda’s weekly email, that is posted on the township website. Also find out from Linda what are the deadlines for the township quarterly newsletter and EAC members can consider rotating and writing on a topic for each newsletter, which should be one full page, one half page, or one quarter page (communication from Linda).
EAC-initiated project: Our goal is to have something formed in the next 6+ months.
Township Manager Linda reported there is a County Recycling Meeting on 9/13/18. Armstrong will attend with Linda and will report any changes.
Next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday September 12th at 6 pm in the High School Library.