May 16, 2016 meeting

Skaneateles Conservation Area Advisory Committee meeting agenda

Monday, May 16, 2016, 7:00 PM. Skaneateles Town Hall.

  1. Troop 61 Eagle project: stairs
    1. Justin has redesigned the stairs to the observation deck to use 6×6 lumber with a 16-inch run and 16-inch overlap.
    2. He said it will probably require 12 or 13 steps.
  2. Troop 66 Eagle project: boardwalk over vernal pools
    1. Will require some fill at the gate by beehives to get the materials in – most vehicles would bottom out just inside the gate due to the deep ruts.
    2. Will probably use trees cut on site for beams to lay across wet areas and milled lumber for the boards.
  3. BioBlitz results
    1. Over the weekend of April 23rd and 24th, ESF students and guests made a total of 308 observations of life forms
    2. Of these, a total of 179 distinct species were verified.
    3. Results are at http://www.inaturalist.org/projects/skaneateles-conservation-area-bioblitz-2016
  4. ESF management plan presentations report
    1. On Wed. May 4, Bob, Ken, and Randy attended the student presentations of each of the 11 sections of our management plan
    2. We should be receiving the formatted version of the plan soon
  5. Invasive species management internship reports
    1. Three of our four invasives management interns from ESF met at the SCA on Friday May 13 for an orientation meeting
    2. Amanda has set up a Google Drive for storing field logs and reference materials. She will be able to start work next week on mapping some of our more pristine (less infested sites), starting with the extreme south end of the Fed. Farm (“back loop” area on the trail map).  The other interns will start after their 3-week summer field work at Cranberry Lake
    3. We also practiced identifying and discussing many of the more obvious invasive and native plants on the Fed. Farm.
  6. The future of invasive species management at SCA
    1. We need to know whether we will be allowed by the town government to have a licensed applicator control  invasive plants using herbicides at any point in the near future.
    2. This would include projects where either funding is supplied by an outside organization or by the town itself.
    3. It is a waste of our time and unfair to other requesting organizations and consulting applicators to apply for grants without knowing whether the town government would ever allow such projects.
    4. The Phragmites problem is just the tip of the iceberg as far as our invasive plant problems are concerned.
    5. We have more than a dozen invasive plant species that justify substantial concern at the SCA. For most of these, the use of an herbicide is part of the standard (i.e. most practical and effective) method of control.
    6. Because volunteers are not allowed to apply herbicides on public lands, all of our control up to this point has consisted of manual and mechanical removal and planting natives to replace them.
    7. With limited manpower, it is impossible to keep up with the annual re-cutting and re-pulling required to control invasive plants on even a small portion of the SCA.
    8. Allowing invasives to take over the area would severely degrade the already poor diversity of much of the SCA.
    9. The use of herbicides should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but he potential for any harm that might be done by the herbicide needs to be balanced against the harm that is being done by the invasive plants.
    10. It is said that invasives are a cause of species extinction, second only to habitat destruction.  But allowing invasives to take over an area is habitat destruction, so invasives can be considered a part of the primary cause of extinction.
    11. There is a golf course just upstream from the conservation area that undoubtedly releases large amounts of chemicals and nutrients into our water in the process of keeping its grounds green and weed-free.  Why are they allowed to do that year after year for purely cosmetic reasons, while we are not allowed to use a limited amount of a more benign and well studied treatment for ecological reasons?