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2320 Township Road
Quakertown, PA 18951

Phone: (610) 346-6700
Fax: (610) 346-8777
info@springfieldbucks.org

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Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC)

Upcoming Events       Programs & Activities       Investigations & Reports        Past Events         About the EAC

 

If you have an environmental concern or comment, please contact Mike Brown the Township Manager at 610 346 6700 or via email at info@springfieldbucks.org

 

Upcoming Events

"A Walk in Penn's Woods", Sunday Oct 1st 1pm-4pm

At the Fuller Preserve - jointy hosted by Springfield Twp EAC, Durham Twp EAC, Cooks Creek Watershed Association and Heritage Conservancy

Join us for a guided walk through the Fuller Preserve, forested land maintained by Heritage Conservancy. The trail is a 1.8 mile loop through the woods which passes a Cooks Creek tributary through a lovely gorge and old growth forest.  Rich with wildlife and a large assortment of trees, ferns and plants. A focus of the preserve has been the chestnut grove presently being used to develop blight resistant chestnut trees.

2864 Slifer Valley Road (park along Walnut Lane)

 

EAC Annual Tire Recycling, Saturday Oct 21st 9am-1pm

Drop off your tires and support the EAC!

Car & SUV Tires $2

Motorcycle Tires $3.50

Tractor Trailer Tires $20

Please note we cannot accept tires with rims.

Drop off your tires at the Township yard, 2320 Township Road, Quakertown, PA 18951

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Programs & Activities 

If you have an interest in finding out more information or becoming involved in any of these projects, please contact Kim Krushinski, EAC Chair at eac@springfieldbucks.org 

 

Bird Town

Native Plant Gardening

Peppermint Park - Rain garden, Ecology & Bluebird trail

Tire Recycling

Roadside Cleanup

Invasive Insects & Plants

Penn East Pipeline & Fracking

Wild and Scenic River Designation

Past Events, Investigations & Reports

 

Bird Town

Background

In 2014, Springfield Township became the 22nd Audubon Bird Town in Pennsylvania and the eighth in Bucks County.  The township’s Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) works closely with Audubon Pennsylvania and community partners to provide information to residents on ways to create healthier, more sustainable and bird-friendly landscapes.

The township is the only Bird Town in upper Bucks, a part of the county which is considered by Audubon and many birders as a region of prime bird habitat and a critical part of the Atlantic Flyway, the super-highway of bird migration.  Springfield and its surrounding rural landscape provide rich resources to wildlife and is a place where clearly, birds outnumber people!

Make your Yard into a Registered Bird Habitat!

No matter the size, your property can be valuable habitat and can contribute to bird conservation.  Your property is likely an important part of the habitat matrix and we’d love to hear from you!  Each Bird Town is asked to have residents register their property with so that we can learn more about your birds and what you do for them.  It’s quick, easy, and free of charge (yard signs are available through donation).  Simply go to http://pa.audubon.org/bird-habitat-recognition-program and select the “register your yard” button to start.  There is useful information on the website to help you improve your ecological footprint and resources to help you identify birds.

Springfield Elementary School

Springfield EAC has partnered with Springfield Elementary School to improve the school grounds habitat for birds.  Together, they have installed bird nesting boxes, bird feeders and blazed a new nature trail over a creek behind the gym.  Over time, the trail will be improved through adding mulch to the path, removing invasive plants and replacing them with native plants making good habitat for native bugs, birds and other wildlife.

Great Backyard Bird Count

We encourage all backyard bird watchers to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count organized by and sponsored by Audubon.  It is usually held the second weekend in February (check website calendar or Facebook) and is easy to join in – just spend 15 minutes watching and recording birds at your feeders (or wherever you are) and then upload the numbers to www.gbbc.birdcount.org (you will need to make a user account that you can use next year too – so save the username and password!). 

 

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Native Gardening

Township Native Garden & Grounds

EAC members designed and installed the native garden at the Township building between the road and the flagpole by the police entrance.  It is a good example of a well-designed native garden that can be used as a model for residential properties.  It is maintained by EAC volunteers. 

The Township owns a total of 10 acres, the EAC have a strategic plan to improve habitat on the property.  We started in the Fall of 2015 in the vicinity of the Township Building by removing invasives, this will be a long term improvement project. 

 Township Native Garden Maintenance Schedule (link not yet enabled) 

Designing with Natives

Adding native plants to your backyard is one of the best ways to improve habitat for birds and other wildlife.  Two of our EAC members are experts on native plants and have experience in designing backyards using native plants, if you ask, they are willing to come and help with your yard! 

Email eac@springfieldbucks.org if you are interested in this free service.

 

Why Native?

1. Reduced Maintenance

Compared with turf and the mulched tree, shrub and perennial plantings commonly found in today’s residential and commercial landscapes, landscapes planted with appropriate native plants require less maintenance. They require minimal watering (except during establishment and drought periods) and they can be maintained without the use of synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides.  It is important to remember that reduced maintenance does not mean NO maintenance.  A maintenance and management plan is still necessary even for native landscapes.

Source: Missouri Botanical Garden Native Landscaping Manual, Chapter Four: Landscaping with Native Plants

 2. To Provide Wildlife Habitat

A landscape consisting of a diversity of native trees, shrubs, perennials and grasses provides food and shelter for wildlife throughout the year.

3. For Visual Appeal

Native perennials, flowering vines, shrubs and trees can create aesthetically appealing landscapes.  A well designed native landscape provides visual interest year round. 

4. Educational Opportunities

Native landscapes provide opportunities for learning about seasonal cycles, wildlife, and plant life cycles.  A native landscape can provide an ideal setting for environmental, conservation, and biological science education.

 

For native plants and further information: 

Archewild

www.archewild.com

2191 Hillcrest Rd, Quakertown, PA 18951 (Call ahead – not regular retail hours)

855 752 6862

 

Edge of the Woods Nursery

www.edgeofthewoodsnursery.com

2415 Route 100, Orefield, PA 18069

610 395 2570

 

Northeast Native Perennials

www.nenativesandperennials.com

1716 East Saw Mill Road, Quakertown, PA 18951 (Check directions on website – GPS not accurate)

215 901 5552  

 

Check out iconservepa.org’s “Bringing Home the Natives” series of pamphlets, they are excellent reference material (hard copies also available at the Township Building):

Sunny/Dry Locations

Shady/Moist Locations

Sunny/Moist Locations

Shady/Dry Locations

 

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Peppermint Park

The EAC is excited to report that there are two ecologically significant areas of Peppermint Park, in addition to which, during the summer of 2015, the EAC team and park volunteers, helped plant natives into a rain garden. The EAC is very grateful to Mark Brownlee, owner of Archewild a nationally renowned native plant nursery, for his help in designing the rain garden and identifying and restoring the meadow fragment and ridgetop community. Peppermint Park is a registered Bird Habitat within PA Audubon's Bird Town program.

Rain garden

A rain garden is a more natural alternative to a storm water basin, sometimes referred to as green infrastructure.  It is intended to showcase a collection of the best moist-to-wet soil plant species indigenous to Bucks County including Alnus serrulata, Cephalanthus occidentalis, Rosa palustris, Aronia melanocarpa, Sambucus canadensis, Salix sericea, the edible Apios americana (groundnut), and several representative wetland flower species.  The plant collection is meant to inspire homeowners to explore the beauty of our common and uncommon native plant species by planting them on their own properties.

Meadow Plant Community

The meadow fragment surrounded by the paved walking path at the park is a unique and special habitat which will be protected by Springfield Township and their EAC at the new Peppermint Park is an excellent example of an original plant community within the Reading Prong of the Northeastern Highlands physiographic region.  Maintained purely by annual mowing for more than 50 years, the plant species present within the meadow fragment represent those that would have been present before the arrival of European settlers.  Several plant species growing in the meadow fragment are quite difficult to find elsewhere in the region and play an important role in the survival of the Monarch butterfly and other indigenous insects: Monarda fistulosa, Asclepias tuberosa, Sisyrinchium mucronatum, and Solidago speciosa.  The Springfield Township EAC is spear-heading an effort to both protect and restore the meadow fragment by improving its diversity using native plant species with local genetics appropriate for the site.  In July 2016, Archewild and EAC planted native plant seedlings (grown from seeds collected in fall 2015) into the meadow.

Ridgetop Plant Community

The EAC are also protecting a second special ecoregion located on the Deer Trail boundary of the park, it is currently unmowed/cultivated and will be fenced to maintain the habitat and protect it from deer browsing.

Several ridgetops in Upper Bucks still contain remnants of plant communities that would have once dominated the area several thousand years ago and that now only exist in abundance in the Poconos.  Peppermint Park retains a small area that is representative of this barrens-like plant community on the other side of the hill from the parking lot.  This type of plant community emerges on very thin soil that typically overlays a granite outcrop and features diminutive plant species that are difficult to observe elsewhere in the region, including Danthonia spicata.  This unusual area is under threat from both invasive non-native plants, sediment deposition, and by forest encroachment.  The Springfield EAC is establishing plans to protect and restore this unusual plant community to help residents and visitors better understand the rich natural heritage of the Township.

Bluebird Boxes

A series of bluebird boxes are installed around the perimeter of the park.  These are monitored and maintained by the EAC and were part of Springfield Township’s application to become a designated Bird Town.  They are mainly inhabited by wrens.   

Herbicide use

A large section of the park is currently leased to a conventional hay farmer who uses synthetic herbicides and fertilizers to control weeds.  The Township Supervisors have stated that the park must be closed for 3 days following spraying due to public health considerations. The EAC is of the opinion that the use of potentially harmful chemicals in a public park is inappropriate.   

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Tire Recycling

Springfield EAC holds an annual Tire Recycling event.  This has been very successful and it raises funds for the EAC to further other programs.  It is normally held on a weekend in October – see website Calendar and Facebook for further details.

 

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Roadside Cleanup

Springfield EAC have adopted a section of 412 between the 412/212 intersection and Old Bethlehem Road.  Since 2005, the EAC has been collecting roadside trash - since 2014, we have recycled the majority of the materials collected.  In 2015, the EAC received recognition from PennDot for 10 years of service.  The cleanups are held in early April (as part of the Cooks Creek Watershed Clean up) and in mid-November.

 

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Invasive Insects & Plants

Invasive insects and plants are those that are not native to our area, they are brought to the area either deliberately, for example for use in our landscaping like the butterfly bush, or by accident like for example the brown marmorated stink bug which entered the country in packaging and actually was first identified in Allentown PA in 1998.

Not all non-native plants are invasive, only those that outcompete the local native plants.  There are a large number in our area, see this website for more information.

Currently, there are two high priority invasive insects currently in our region – the Emerald Ash Borer and the Spotted Lanternfly, click on the words for more info. (Hard copies of fact sheets are available in the Township building)

 

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Penn East Pipeline & Fracking

In 2015, the EAC was successful in having the Township’s Board of Supervisors adopt a resolution against pipelines in our Township.  Although the Penn East Pipeline, which is proposed to transport fracked gas from upstate Pennsylvania to New Jersey and beyond, is not currently proposed to come through Springfield Township, this resolution supports our neighboring communities and also sets out our objections to any other future pipeline proposals. 

*New Links Added 12/9/2016*

Map showing proposed routes of the Penn East pipeline

Clean Air Council: 

      General Pipeline Information

      2016 Report on Natural Gas Pipeline Methane Leaks

Pipeline Safety Trust

 

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Wild & Scenic River Designation

On November 1st, 2000, 67 miles of the Lower Delaware River along the border of eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey, and three Pennsylvania tributaries received Federal Wild and Scenic Designation.  The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act was passed by Congress in 1968 with the goal of protecting the freeflowing condition of rivers. Each designated river is to be managed in a way that protects and enhance the values that prompted its designation.

The oversight of the Wild and Scenic sections of the Delaware River is a cooperative effort between the National Park Service, the Delaware River Greenway Partnership, and the Lower Delaware Management Council. 

On May 24th, 2016, Springfield Township Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution in support of joining the Wild and Scenic Rivers designation.  However, since Cooks Creek flows from Springfield Township through Durham Township to the Delaware, Springfield Township can only be incorporated into the designation if a resolution is also passed in Durham Township. Citizen organizers in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey have been working together to advocate for this designation and to pass resolutions in their respective communities. More information on the Wild and Scenic Rivers designation process can be found Delaware River Basin Commission's website and lowerdelawarewildandscenic.org.

 

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About the EAC 

Membership

Term length: 3 years

Members:                               Position                      Term Ends

Arianne Elinich                        Secretary                      2017

James Gill                                                                     2017

Kimberlee Krushinski              Chair                            2018

Hans Reimann                                                              2018

Barbara Scattergood                                                   2016

Lorna Yearwood                      Vice Chair                    2018

 

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Meetings

The EAC meets at 7:00pm on the second Thursday of the month at the Township Building, the public is welcome to attend.

What is an EAC?

Source: PA EAC Network Handbook

An Environmental Advisory Council is a group of 3-7 community residents, appointed by local elected officials, that advises the local planning commission, park and recreation board and elected officials on the protection, conservation, management, promotion and use of natural resources within its territorial limits. Municipalities are authorized to establish EACs through Act 177 of 1996, originally Act 148 of 1973. EACs, as part of local government, work directly with municipal officials to help them make environmentally sound decisions – and protect the health and quality of life of our communities.

What EACs Do

In accordance with Act 177, EACs are authorized to:

·         Identify environmental problems and recommend plans and programs to protect and improve the quality of the environment;

·         Make recommendations about the use of open land;

·         Promote a community environmental program;

·         Keep an index of all open space areas to determine the proper use of such areas;

·         Review plans, conduct site visits, and prepare reports for municipal officials; and

·         Advise local government agencies about the acquisition of property.

 

What Don’t EACs Do

·         EACs do not regulate; they are advisory only.

·         EACs do not take the place of or compete with planning commissions or park and recreation boards; they augment and work closely with them.

·         EACs are not activist or extremist environmental groups - they are part of the local government and accomplish the most when they work well with local officials.

·         EACs do not compete with local grass-roots organizations, such as watershed associations.

·         They are contact points and local government liaisons for these groups.

·         EACs do not add bureaucracy to the local government - they have an organized procedure for participating in land use decisions.

 

 

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