Meeting Minutes: November 11, 2008

Next Meeting: Tuesday December 2, 2008 at 7:30

The November meeting was unusual. We had been assured that, even though it was Veteran’s Day, the Emerson Community Center would be open. But it wasn’t, and the meeting was held in 40 degree temperatures in the parking lot! Nonetheless it was a great meeting.

Present were Site Supervisor Erica Uramkin, Brian Yates, John Mordes, Vaunita Schnell, Bonnie and Rick Pearson, and Karen Osborne-Shanley. In addition Maureen Byrne was able to join us, as was Gillian Pierce. Gillian brought two children very interested in adelgids and our efforts to combat them: Kathryn Pierce and Brian Koker.

Erica announced that State Forester Charlie Burnham has visited Hemlock Gorge recently. We don’t have a formal report, but Erica said he was perplexed by the seemingly random of tree loss, with healthy trees and dead or dying ones in close proximity. John will write to Charlie for a report.

Erica also reported that the fabrication of the windows for the Stone Building is complete, and that installation may be starting soon.

Brian remains concerned about a streetlight near the Stone Building that is still out.

Brian reported that there is about $2900 in the treasury.

We discussed Karen’s offer for plantings to shield the Reservation from the new houses built on the Needham side. Erica explained that the process will start with a survey to be sure that there has been no encroachment on the park. She also stated that she would favor, in addition to trees, a physical barrier, like a stone wall, to partition the properties. Karen was asked about getting a quote for various candidate trees that might be planted. Western hemlocks were mentioned, but it is not clear that they grow well in the east. Pines were another suggestion.

Erica is in talks with the MWRA to try to remediate the erosion that has been occurring in the riverbank above the Echo Platform. The erosion is making it treacherous for people walking down there.

There was discussion of the new Longhorn Beetle threat to trees. It appears to have affected more trees in more places in central Massachusetts than previously reported. How serious the threat is to eastern Massachusetts is not clear yet.

Erica was asked if the financial crisis is affecting DCR. She is cautiously optimistic that funding will be stable, but staffing levels may be reduced.

Erica reported that the Newcomb and Lysaght memorials are in good shape; discussion of other memorials was deferred pending the installation of windows in the Stone Building.

Respectfully Submitted,

John Mordes, Secretary pro tempore