Charlestown Township
Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC)
Meeting Minutes
Monday, April 12, 2021

Due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, the meeting was held remotely via Zoom.

Attendees present:
Pete Goodman (Chair), Carol Armstrong (Vice Chair), Daniel Walker, Meg Solomon, Esther Estes, and Sharon Richardson.
Lisa Mailey

Pete Goodman (Chair) opened the meeting at 7:00 pm.

Minutes were approved on a motion by Sharon Richardson, seconded by Meg Solomon, and were approved unanimously.

EAC Mission Statement –

Solomon and Richardson proposed modifications to our mission statement, including grammatical corrections, and substantive additions. Additions proposed related to our education and communication with community residents about how improvements they can make in their environmental stewardship of their properties. Richardson and Solomon will continue revising the statement via email, to be finalized at the May EAC meeting.

Earth Day cleanup –

Pete and Veda participated in the EAC sponsored cleanup that focused on the worst part of Howell Road, which resulted in a big change in its appearance. They noted that trash seemed to come off of the overhanging Turnpike as well as from cars driving on Howell Road, and possibly residents.

Resident Concern –

Katie Tandon is a resident who is very concerned about the impending dissemination of 5G cellular systems. Tandon approached Armstrong, explaining that the Board of Supervisors would not include the 5G issue in their meeting agenda. Tandon showed Armstrong the information she provided to the BoS from her research on the issue, for which there is very little tested information, including three towns (in CA, NY, and LA) that passed ordinances that limited telecom company installations. Armstrong recommended to her that she research Charlestown’s ordinances on communication towers, and showed her how to access that information. Armstrong recommended that she become more clear as to what she was asking the township to do, understanding that they have to remain consistent with federal requirements. Armstrong also invited her to present to the EAC when she was more clear about her recommendations.

Deerfield riparian buffer –

Both the Trout Unlimited and Delaware River Wild and Scenic grants were not awarded. Vicki Laubach from Green Valleys Watershed Association (GVWA) offered trees that were offered to her by June Ortiz at PA Audubon and by a horticulturalist with Philadelphia Parks and Recreations. Goodman accepted and picked up 140 trees and shrubs that were donated for this project - Silky Dogwoods, Redbuds, Sycamore, Persimons and Winterberry - and plans to fill in with other native trees later. Goodman arranged with Austin Unruh from Crow and Berry to get stakes and tubes. Goodman asked Deerfield to do the mowing of the site soon, and made a planting plan. Goodman and the EAC agreed that volunteers from Deerfield should be solicited for the planting and maintenance. Educational signage will be placed after the buffer is complete. Goodman offered to create a flyer about volunteering and distributing it to the homes in the development.

Brightside riparian buffer –

Armstrong will talk with Laubach to see if there are any funds remaining from the riparian buffer grants to purchase shrubs and trees to replace the deads, and estimated that 10-20 would be enough.

Armstrong surveyed the plantings, and performed staking repairs at the Phase II sites, as the Phase I site came through the winter fine. Areas that are flooded more had more damage to the upright condition of the trees. The three shrubs planted along the wall of the Spring House were all torn out of the holes, the tubes were taken off, and the wooden stakes fallen. Armstrong found one of the shrubs and replanted.

Community Education Series presentation –

“Reducing Waste: Kitchen Composting and Recycling”: Presentation by Solomon will take place on 4/19/21 at 7pm by zoom.

“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”: Richardson will present on 6/16/21 at 7pm by Zoom.

“Trees as Your Friend”: Armstrong will approach Lori Hayes, Dir. of Urban Forestry of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, who had previously offered to lead a tree identification walk in a Charlestown public land. Armstrong will see if Hayes is still interested, and if so, consider possibly Charlestown Day in September.

“The Streams of Charlestown”: Goodman is still offering to give this talk, but was unable to commit a month at this time.

Solomon suggested another talk on other topics about waste, such as waste converted to energy, medical waste, hazardous, industrial and toxic waste.

Nature News –

Articles and topics are needed for the upcoming Nature News.

Newsletter –

Richardson wrote an article on gardening with pollinators to help them understand the requirements of plants when making plant purchases, and will submit to Csete. She also suggested an article about Paw Paws trees and fruits would be good, especially if we can locate paw paws in Charlestown.

Charlestown Riparian Buffers and Survey –

Goodman suggested storing pictures and information on a map (like a story board) for riparian areas in Charlestown that need attention. These areas could be discussed with the landowners, and we should consider including a possible benefit to the landowner to interest them. Goodman and Armstrong walked the Pickering Trail and observed that the forest above the ice dam needs improvement in its biodiversity. Goodman suggested talking with GVWA and Stroud about getting their recommendations for improving the forest along the Pickering at that section, and will try to organize a joint discussion in May.

Armstrong talked to Chris Lawrence about improving the riparian buffer along the stream in Charlestown Park, which could become a joint project between the EAC and Parks and Recreation.

Wildflower seed planting at Brightside –

Due to Maany’s absence, there was no update on the planting of native Milkweed seeds at Brightside fields.

Project Wingspan –

Armstrong and Richardson walked the areas of Brightside and identified areas for planting the 1” x 5” native flowers plugs that will be sent in May. Armstrong completed the forms to indicate how much space was available for the native flower seeds at Brightside in the Wetland, Forest Edge, and Uplands/Prairie/Grasslands sections. She took the option of having the Project Wingspan notify other groups in our regions who might provide volunteers. She estimated we needed at least 10 volunteers, and once the Project Wingspan lets us know exactly when the plants will arrive during the week of May 10-14, we will activate our volunteer solicitation networks using a poster she created, and received suggestions from the EAC. Armstrong has a drill and auger, and will work on preparing for the plantings, and invited others to help with this.

Northern Chester County Cross Municipal EAC campaign to reduce lawns and plant flowers that pollinator can benefit from. Glenn Wenger emailed the EACs for a meeting to discuss this project that will occur at the home of Donna Delany on May 1 at 10 am. Richardson and Armstrong will try to attend.

EAC bylaws.

Armstrong, Goodman, Solomon will review sample bylaws from other PA towns and counties for discussion at the next EAC.

Next meeting date is Monday, May 10 at 7 pm.

Meeting adjourned at 9:05 pm.