Meeting Minutes: June 7, 2016

Next Meeting: Tuesday September 6, 2016 at 7:30

Present were four representative from the DCR: Erica Aubin (Hemlock Gorge Site Supervisor), Lisa Barstow (DCR Director of Community Relations), Ken Gooch (DCR Forest Health Program Director) and Marti Rudi (DCR Boston Regional District Manager); also present were Friends’ President Brian Yates, Bob Burke, Jean Fisher, Evan Weststrate, Bob Ellertsen, Robin Dexter, and John Mordes.

Before the formal start of the meeting, we had some discussion about invasives and our response to them.

Each of the DCR representatives was introduced.

Marti shared with us his scope of responsibilities as District Manager.

Insecticide Treatment Presentation

Ken Gooch then gave a highly informative presentation about what had started as our Arbor Day Project. It was he who treated a large number of hemlocks on May 9. He was able to do so at no cost to the Friends because he received a $15,000 grant from the U.S. Forest Service, as well as assistance from a representative of the USDA, Phil Lewis, who assisted with the design of the treatment plan and calibration of the injection procedure. This consisted of drilling into the roots of the trees and injecting them with Imidacloprid. Hemlock Gorge was the first property to be treated in this way by the DCR.

Imidacloprid is a systemic insecticide which acts as an insect neurotoxin and belongs to a class of chemicals called the neonicotinoids, which act on the central nervous system of insects, with much lower toxicity to mammals (see This is different from the the ‘Transect’ (Dinotefuran)  insecticide that Jason Lupien had proposed to use.

Ken told us that that the elongated hemlock scale is now more of a problem for the tress than the adelgid. This may be due to the cold winter killing some adlegids giving the scale the opportunity to out-compete the adelgids, though there are still some adelgids in the reservation. Imidacloprid is effective against both adelgids and scale, but less effective against the scale. To address this Ken will be returning to the reservation use a different spraying procedure to apply dinotefuran to tree trunks.

Ken used GPS to record the location of at least some of the treated trees. The Forest service grant is for two years. The insecticide was donated through Rich Coles of the USDA, who took over from Mark McClure who conducted some of the earliest scientific investigations of the adelgid. Now that the DCR has the equipment needed to treat the hemlocks, and because the cost of the insecticides is low, the limiting factor for long term control will be labor and the DCR budget.

Ken also shared that unhappy news that there are other hemlock pests in Massachusetts. The Hemlock Borer goes after weakened trees. The Hemlock Looper is an inchworm that eats leaves. Neither is a major factor in Hemlock Gorge. He also told us that the ladybugs that we applied years ago to control the adelgid probably failed due to their inability to to adapt to the cold New England weather. He also told us that the Asian Longhorn Beetle has still not reached eastern Massachusetts. It has the highest priority for pest control in Massachusetts; the state has spent $112 million on controlling it far. Finally he also told us that there is a growing problem with pine tree pests.

Erica asked about replacement tree species. Prospects for them would be good if the control program could be continued long-term. Ken mentioned that young hemlocks need full sun to thrive. Erica suggested that once dead trees are removed, there might be spaces for replanting.

Stone Building

With respect to shingles for the Stone Building, Erica has talked to contractors about re-roofing. Initial opinions suggested that the shingles to be historically correct might have to be hand-hewn. This generated a proposal with an absurd cost in the tens of thousands of dollars. Marti is going to do shingles inventory and try to assist us in getting the project moving.

The eyebrow windows on the Stone Building, which at this time have neither glass nor screens, have been referred by Erica to DCR maintenance.

Lisa Barstow then updated us on the Stone building fence project, on which she has been working diligently with Evan. The good news is that the paperwork for a public (DCR)-private (FHG) collaboration is in. The plans look good and close to final. Initial reviews with the DCR Commissioner have passed muster. However, there were 39 applications like ours. Fortunately, Lisa is championing our project. Still, we were informed that this year the budget for DCR is down 30%. Commissioner Roy may want to hold back some of the budgeted $1.5 million in partnership matching funds. Final decisions will be made some time after July 8.


Evan asked about the new forest land created by movement of the Rte. 128 exit. It’s not clear who will “own” it, the DCR or the highway department. Our DCR representatives are going to look into it.

Everyone was reminded to write to Jerry Reilly in regard to Feast of the Falls tickets.

Finally, Bob Burke suggested that we provide modest funding for a certificate or plaque of appreciation for Jason Lupien for taking the initiative for the Arbor Day project that led to everything described above. This was met with enthusiastic and unanimous approve.

The meeting adjourned at about 8:45.

Respectfully Submitted,

John Mordes, Interim Secretary