August 13, 2018


 MEMBERS PRESENT: Mrs. Emmetts, Mrs. Tracey, Mr. Szabo, Mrs. Branagan, Mr. Blanchard, Mr. Svendsen, Mr. Branagan

MEMBERS ABSENT: Mr. Dvorsky, Mr. Nause

Mr. Branagan called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. with the statement that this meeting is in compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act. This was a regularly scheduled meeting of the Stillwater Township Environmental Commission. Regular meetings are held on the second Monday of the month at 7:00 p.m., at the Stillwater Township Municipal Building located in Middleville, New Jersey.

The flag was saluted and roll call taken.


Mrs. Tracey made a motion to approve the minutes of 6/11/18, seconded by Mr. Branagan.


-Mr. Branagan will contact TREX regarding their recycling program. This item will be added to the next agenda.

-Mayor Chammings will work with Mr. Morrison on the Open Space and Recreation Plan updates, including township-owned parks.

-Mr. Branagan has left two messages for Mr. Vendetti regarding the bridge sign. He will continue to follow-up.

-The stream water testing will be done in early October.

-The signs for along the river at Veteran’s Memorial Park (VMP) should be completed shortly.

Roll Call Vote: Mrs. Emmetts, yes, Mrs. Tracey, yes, Mr. Szabo, yes, Mrs. Branagan, yes, Mr. Svendsen, yes, Mr. Blanchard, yes, Mr. Branagan, yes


Mrs. Emmetts made a motion to approve the following bills, pending availability of funds, seconded by Mrs. Branagan:

Secretary: $ 213.13

Recycling Center Flyer: $ 675.00*

*Environmental Commission – $250; Recycling Trust – $225; Clean Communities – $200

Roll Call Vote: Mrs. Emmetts, yes, Mrs. Tracey, yes, Mr. Szabo, yes, Mrs. Branagan, yes, Mr. Svendsen, yes, Mr. Blanchard, yes, Mr. Branagan, yes

At this point, this portion of the meeting was opened to the public at 7:10 p.m.

John Neumann, part-time resident of Fairview Lake asked if the township could update the Master Plan with respect to Camp Towadena, including the Chestnut tree restoration, the preservation of the four stone chimneys and removal of invasives. He offered to assist with the update and suggested a possible historic element. Ownership of the camp property was discussed and clarification is needed on whether or not it is township owned, funded through Green Acres. Mayor Chammings researched the item on the internet indicating it is municipally preserved land – 168 acre parcel owned by the township. Mr. Neumann discussed the trails at the camp, many of which are overgrown. Mayor Chammings asked if Mr. Neumann would be interested in assisting with the Open Space and Recreation Plan update, he agreed.

There being no further members of the public wishing to speak, this portion of the meeting was closed at 7:25 p.m.


-Budget report as of 6/13/18

-Fracking Practices Resolution – Wendie Goetz

The EC reviewed the resolution and determined they would need to review the current resolution on file passed by the Township Committee in 2011. The EC will compare both to see if it will be necessary to pass an additional resolution or if the current one is sufficient in addressing their concerns. Mr. Blanchard felt the actual language of the resolution needed to be researched. Mr. Branagan thought the original resolution was simple, straight-forward and the model from Ms. Goetz included the possible changes to the moratorium. Mr. Szabo provided his perspective on the issue and felt more information was needed. He referred to an article on fracking and its lack of effect on ground water – NJH 6/19/18. The EC discussed the history of fracking and drilling; concerns on brine, naturally occurring compounds, earthquakes, tremors and oil were mentioned. Mr. Svendsen stated there is no documented evidence of earthquakes or well contamination in the state of Pennsylvania. Mr. Branagan expressed concern with chemicals and loss of water. Mrs. Branagan suggested EC members research the topic further using the following: Green File Database; Journal of Environmental Management; and Energy Policy. Mrs. Wunder will email the 2011 resolution to the EC for their review and this item will be added to the next agenda.

-WSJ “The Mortality Toll of Rising Temperatures,” – 8/2/18

-NJH “Science says: Record heat, fires all worsened by climate change,” 7/29/18

-NJH “Studies show groundwater holding its own against the drilling boom,” 6/19/18

-Recycling 12/3/88

-Soil Survey of Sussex County, NJ – Bill Gettler – 4/18 (hard copy will be available at EC meeting)

Mayor Chammings and Mr. Szabo provided a background on the soil survey and its relation to farmland assessment.

Old Business

Fracking Waste Bill Modification: This item was discussed under correspondence.

TREX: This item will be added to the next agenda.

Paulins Kill Watershed Group – August 7, 2018:

The group met with Beth Styler-Berry at the Stillwater Municipal Building. The meeting was over two hours long and the group will continue to meet. The Paulinskill Clean-Up will be held on 10/27/18. Mr. Blanchard reported that he attended the clean-up meeting with representatives from municipalities along the river. The clean-up will encompass the property along the river, not in the river. The Paulinskill Valley Trail group will cover their own property. This will leave the Paulinskill Lake Association property (permission will be required from PLA), VMP property, the fishing access on Saddleback Road and near LC Service.

Mr. Szabo noted that at their last meeting the group determined a river keeper was needed as there has never been one central person to oversee projects. He stated there was at one time an official river keeper named John Troy and he had provided a presentation at a Stillwater Taxpayer’s Association meeting on 7/8/94. He believed he was somehow associated with Ridge and Valley.

ANJEC Open Space Stewardship Grant Update:

Mr. Blanchard displayed the signage to be installed along the Paulinskill at VMP.

Stream Water Testing Quotes:

Test America: $1,646.50

The streamwater testing will tentatively take place on October 3rd; with a back-up date of October 10th.

Swartswood State Park:

Mrs. Emmetts reported the park has not been closed for HABs this summer.

Fishing Line Collection: All line is to be cleaned of litter/leaves, hooks and lead sinkers. Lead sinkers are to be provided at the meeting for recycling.

New Business

Amphibian Crossing Results:




Bat Houses at VMP:

Mr. Branagan reported that Joe Golden, Planning Board Engineer, suggested installing bat houses at VMP. Mr. Szabo will contact George Lippencott to inquire if any boy scouts would be interested in the project.

Endangered Species Presentation:

The EC agreed to have John Regalo of the Federation of Sportsmen Clubs, provide a presentation on endangered species. Mr. Szabo will contact Mr. Regalo to schedule the presentation for the September 10th or October 11th EC meeting.

Volunteer/Member Recognition:

Attendance at the Paulins Kill group meeting: Mr. Branagan, Dvorsky

Recycling Tri-fold Holder: Mr. Dvorsky

Endangered and Threatened Species:

-Timber Rattlesnake; American Kestrel; Wood Turtle; Red-Shouldered Hawk; Bald Eagles

At this point, this portion of the meeting was opened to the public at 8:28 p.m.

John Neumann stated Fairview Lake is facing a climate change issue that is affecting the growth of aquatic plants. He expressed interest in meeting with the Swartswood Lake Watershed Association (SWLA). Mrs. Emmetts stated the SWLA has a two-year watershed management plan to assist with obtaining grant funding. She stated dissolved oxygen, temperature and water clarity are tested every year through the summer. The overgrowth of Lotus has been an issue but the NJDEP considers it to be threatened and endangered. She stated the lake association and State work together; the association can apply for grant funding, the state cannot. Mr. Neumann and Mrs. Emmetts provided information on what they have worked on to date and their experiences.

There being no further members of the public wishing to speak, this portion of the meeting was closed at 8:43 p.m.

Planning Board (PB) Liaison Report: Mr. Branagan

-Accessory apartment conditional use ordinance was reviewed and amended.

-A discussion was held on the use of millings. Planning Board Engineer Joe Golden spoke with the NJDEP and was told millings are prohibited due to the airborne carcinogens.

Mayor Chammings noted there is conflicting information being provided by the NJDEP at this point.

Township Liaison Report: Mayor Chammings

July 17, 2018 Township Committee Meeting:

-Discussed the Five Points intersection and adopted a resolution to spend $7,000 for a survey and deed search for the right of way.

-Discussed speeding on local roads, specifically County roads – Newton Swartswood Road and Route 521.

-Discussed tractor trailer traffic on Stillwater Road. The township will contact the County for the weight limits on the bridges located in the township. If there is a weight limit it will be posted.

-Ordinances introduced: Accessory apartments; property maintenance; Commercial/Recreation Zone – Greenpoint Cottages, North Shore House, Mountain Shadows Campground.

-Resolution 2018-093 was adopted authorizing the issuance of not exceeding $1.99 million in bond anticipation notes.

-Board of Public Utilities held a meeting on July 25th to address concerns in rural areas, as well as CenturyLink and SECTV. A report is available on the BPU website. Overuse of poles contributes to a delay in reinstating service.

With no further business to come before the Commission, Mrs. Emmetts made a motion to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Mr. Szabo. In a voice vote, all were in favor.

Respectfully submitted,


Kathy Wunder, Secretary


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