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  1. Borough Environmental Concerns

Borough Environmental Concerns

Animals

The Borough wildlife population, though not extensive, is surprising in diversity. With all the changes these animals had to put up with, they adapted well to life in suburbia. As a matter of fact, some do too well.

Unwanted Mammals

Many of our local mammals find themselves in our way from time to time. Whether a diminutive mouse or odiferous skunk, we must deal with the problems they cause in a reasonable and humane manner. Rarely does the stray raccoon or opossum cause any kind of considerable damage. Most times the animal moves on before a real situation arises. If you encounter a problem, there is help. The State Division of Fish and Game, your local County Park System and the local Humane Society all offer various levels of assistance. Infrequently a staffer might visit. More frequently, you can borrow a humane trap, to capture and remove the problem animal to more natural quarters. The Environmental Commission is also glad to assist you. It has humane traps and persons willing to lend a hand.

Marine Menagerie

Nearly surrounded by saltwater, our aquatic environments abound in living spaces and living things. We share much of these organisms with bordering communities as the populations move by tide and season.

However, certain common species avail themselves to us in season. Summer time, the Blue Claw Crab, Striped Bass, Rock Bass, Snapper-blue and Fluke frequent our waters. Winter time, Flounders are common. Spring and Fall produce varying populations, and of course, Year-round we have Bergals and Rock Bass.

All of these species depend on food chains originating in our wetlands and algal beds. The elimination of these most important sub-marine and coastal areas would mean the subsequent loss of our aquatic heritage.

Spring Evening Serenade

Isolated segments of the borough can expect a continuous melody from mid April through late May. In our rare freshwater marshes, the Spring Peeper and Fowler's Toads will be playing the mating games. Their breeding usually occurs at night. The extremely small tadpole offspring change quickly into adults and move inland. As insect pest controllers, these and our other frogs do us a service through the year.

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Tree-cutting

The community is in the process of updating our tree ordinance. The Mayor and Council passed an ordinance in August of 1975. They felt that it was in the best interest of the citizens to protect the borough forest from unnecessary elimination. Live trees produce oxygen; clean the air; cool entire communities; act as a wind break; aesthetically add diversion to a landscape, increase property values, and produce food and shelter for wildlife.

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Open Space Access

If you take into account the fact that Point Pleasant Borough has thirty-eight or so areas of recreation and public open space lands, and a population of close to 19,000 people, then you will soon see a dilemma for anyone wishing to recreate on borough land. They only get .002 (2/1000ths) of an acre for themselves. It hardly seems worth the effort!

However, there is a very bright spot. As for terrestrial, land-based recreation, our deficit is considerable. But as for aquatic-based recreation, we make out like bandits. As long as we maintain our beaches and street ends as public thorofares for access to our river, creek, canal and bay, we will have literally thousands of acres of public, State-owned tidelands and waters to enjoy.

It is vital and essential that we protect whatever good-sized acreages that are left in the borough for use as recreational lands. It is also even more vital and essential that we keep our street ends and beaches accessible to the public.

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Infill Development

In any community as densely populated as ours, space is at a premium. Therefore, we must carefully consider how we use our remaining acreages that we have yet to build upon.

Since development pressures descended on us, the years have shown tremendous changes in our area. Where farms and forests once stood, now stands malls, apartments and homes. In this "developed environment", new criteria becomes needed to decide how best to maintain the health and welfare of the community. Natureís environmental criteria become ineffective.

We must seek to blend the needed uses with existing situations. We must seek to show gradual changes between radically different development schemes. Single family homes must be buffered from multi-family buildings. Residences need buffering from commercial establishments.

Areas as small as a single 50x100 lot should be developed in keeping with their own section of the community.

We must seek to allow appropriate changes for the betterment of the community.

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Nonpoint Source Pollution

This is pollution that comes from diffuse sources rather than a specific point. This pollution contributes sediment, grease, bacteria, nutrients, oil, metals, pesticides, fertilizers, and litter. To reduce non point source pollution it requires changes in the way we go about our everyday activities around the home, in the community, and in the work place.

While each small negative activity may seem inconsequential to the big picture, it all adds up and comes back to haunt us all. We will not beat nonpoint source pollution with regulation. Only through education and changes in attitudes will we overcome this insidious side effect of our modern society.

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Midnight Dumping

Midnight is not necessarily the time that slobs try to dispose of their waste by illegally dropping it onto vacant lots, along roadsides, or at street ends. We, as borough residents, haven't an excuse. All noncommercial residents may put out bulk items, except large amounts of construction materials, on regular garbage days.

This is where the problem begins. In order to save a buck some slobs just take this junk and pop it onto a vacant lot. Junk that appears to be generated by the construction industry accumulates mysteriously. When you see a slob doing something like this, report it to the police immediately. Do not wait a second. Write down a full description of the vehicle, its occupants, its plates, and any special features. But call the police immediately. Those who dump on our public places are dumping on us! In New Jersey, we now have a citizenís bounty for those who aid in the conviction of these fiends. REPORT THEM TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR IMMEDIATELY.

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Lyme Disease

This insidious health threat looms high in the minds of residents and visitors to our area. Though not yet an indigenous problem, there is no reason to believe we will prevent this dread plague from reaching our backyards.

Carried by black-legged "deer" ticks and other creatures, the disease mimics many common ailments with one decidedly negative feature. If left untreated, it can have permanent, and even fatal, effects. Early recognition is vital to victim care.

Ticks are creatures not easily killed by chemical sprays or property-wide treatments. Several companies have come out with products purported to work. None reviewed by this commission can be suggested as effective systems.

When these ticks finally show up in our town, perform regular preventative maintenance procedures. Cut your grass regularly. Bag your clippings and get rid of them. They could hold ticks. Maintain your buildings so that animals haven't any attraction to them. Seal trash, too. Even birds can carry these ticks. Check yourself, children, and pets daily for ticks. When visiting parks and areas outside of the municipality, be wary of lawns near woods edges, narrow trails, woodchip grounds, and open forest. Many areas do not post tick hazard signs for fear of creating hysteria. Assume in New Jersey that the whole state is infected with the deer tick.

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Gypsy Moths

Species

Lymantria dispar, imported.

History

Brought into country, Massachusetts late 1800's for possible silkmoth hybridization.

Accident released eggs, local authorities notified but ignored warnings. Arrived in Jersey 1920 and dealt with using highly dangerous and no longer legal chemicals. Eradicated at that time. Returned in early 1960's, becoming local area pest in 1969. Point Pleasant Borough treated with Bacillus. Has not been serious problem in past two decades.

Problem

Larva (caterpillar) defoliates tremendous tree populations, primarily oak and hardwoods, but also conifers.

No natural predators significantly affect Gypsy Moth population due to its foreign origin.

Spring is the hazardous season, other periods of life cycle harmless.

Life Cycle

Egg Mass - Tan, felt-like feeling, about ^ to one inch in length. Usually laid in protected areas of trees, signs, homes, cars, etc. Appears mid-summer, lasting till early May.

Larva - Hairy gray caterpillar with rows of red and blue dots. Beginning size about 1/16 inch to about 3 inches at last instar stage. Hazard to vegetation from early May through July.

Pupa - Brown, about 1 inch, in protected areas.

Adults - FEMALE: Light colored, large, and almost flightless. MALE: Brown, smaller & attracted to female by scent & sight. BOTH: Appear mid-summer, die off after mating.

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Eelgrass

This natural aquatic vegetation has washed up on borough waterfronts for time beyond time. Each year, as waterfront owners make use of their shores, we get bombarded with complaints about the eelgrass.

Let us set the record straight. It is natural. It belongs here. It provides untold wealth to the beasties that inhabit the bay. It isn't caused by boaters. It does smell like rotten eggs when allowed to rot in the water. It has no odor if piled out of the water and allowed to dry a bit. Historically, people even used it for home insulation and as a packing material. It is very difficult to burn. It makes great garden mulch once a little fresh rainwater rinses out the salt. And it makes a great beginning of a dune or beach builder. Much like mosquitoes, if you want to live near a clean, natural environment, you put up with certain little discomforts.

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Recycling

Through the Recycling Club, the borough environmental commission has maintained, for many years, a "Recycling center", where glass, cans and papers could be brought. The center has had busy times and its associated volunteer groups have profited from its existence. But it has only scratched the surface of our borough's potential. The hundreds of thousands of dollars we spend each year on garbage collection could be greatly reduced by individuals making the effort to recycle. All the laws we pass will not help unless you, the individual, cooperate.

Think of it! How much do you throw out that could be recycled? All your glass; All your cans; All your newspapers and magazines are recyclable.

The only things you need to "trash" are food wastes and plastics.

We pay for our garbage collection by the weight. Think how much your tax dollar would go down if we cut out all the glass, cans and papers from our "garbage" and instead sold it to a recycling company for a profit. It is just illogical not to do it!

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Keeping Public Places Clean

The two items which most often cause a public place to degrade and be closed to the public are: Litter and Noise. Why do we need to litter? Look at some of our street ends, canal and parks. There is NO REASON for it.

The Borough Environmental Commission has a Beautification Committee developed to combat just such problems. Groups interested in volunteering their time to help in this battle are welcome. If isolated communities in our borough each adopted a site to keep clean, we would all benefit.

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