Franklin Lakes March 4, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • Page 9 Environmental commission issues annual report by Frank J. McMahon The Franklin Lakes Environmental Commission has issued its first report since it was reestablished by Mayor Maura DeNicola 2007. Tom Lambrix, the commission’s chairman, submitted the report to DeNicola and the borough council, which passed a resolution approving the report at its last public meeting. Lambrix reported that the commission’s organizational meeting was held in December 2007, and a total of 11 meetings were held in 2008, during which members actively engaged in a review and analysis of issues, field work, outside workshop attendance, and decision making. A mission statement was also prepared to guide the commission’s work. “The mission of the environmental commission,” Lambrix stated, “is to promote and enhance the environmental quality of the borough through natural resource protection, conservation, development, and education.” Three main objectives were established for the first year: initiate a current inventory of the environmental attributes of the borough, increase the environmental education of the commissioners by joining relevant organizations and attending seminars and workshops, and provide environmental advice to the mayor and borough council on selected priority issues. “I believe we have met these objectives,” Lambrix stated in the report. The first priority decided by the commission was to develop an environmental resource inventory for the borough. “The ERI is a compilation of text and visual information about the natural resource characteristics and environmental features of Franklin Lakes,” Lambrix explained. “The last time such an inventory was conducted for the borough was 1974 and a current inventory was seen as a critical first-step component of the EC’s work.” An environmental consulting company, Princeton Hydro, LLC, was selected to provide expertise to the commission which also joined the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions, a non-profit organization that helps environmental commissions protect natural resources and promote sustainable communities. ANJEC selected the commission for a grant award and the group received a $7,000 reimbursable grant. According to Lambrix, the ERI was begun in August 2008 with a kick-off meeting attended by over 40 members of the public. “Currently, the ERI is progressing on time and within budget,” Lambrix advised, stating that a final report is due by June. Once completed, the ERI will be a digitally compatible inventory of open space, water resources, soil conditions, steep slopes, aquifer recharge areas, geology, streams and buffer requirements, flood zones, wetlands, and other environmental features in the borough. The report will also contain numerous maps to accompany text descriptions of those features. “The ERI will serve as an excellent tool for the environmental commission, the mayor and borough council, and the planning board, to guide future planning, development, and protection strategies,” Lambrix emphasized. “Initiation of the environmental resource inventory, with the award of the ANJEC grant to offset its cost, is a significant first-year accomplishment of the environmental commission. Many of the other issues identified by the commission were also addressed. For instance, the commission toured the Haledon Reservoir, which is now owned by Franklin Lakes, and recommended to the council that the soil being placed on the property be tested. The group also recommended the establishment of a written chain of responsibil- ity on the certification of the source of the soil. According to Lambrix, the environmental commission is now positioned to be an active participant in all environmental matters at the reservoir. The commission also urged the governing body to revise its current solid waste recycling ordinance to conform to the state’s new Mandatory Recycling Act, and the commission advised that an ordinance is needed to comply with new regulations regarding how electronic waste is recycled. The commission also began research and field work on ways to expand the trails on the borough’s Green Acres properties and to determine whether a borough-wide trail system can be established. The identification and field review of all the dams in the borough was completed and the group advised that the borough should place “no dumping” markers on all storm drains. Lambrix advised that a list of possible contaminated sites in the borough is also being researched and the commission organized two successful community cleanup days at Haledon Reservoir and at the Colonial Road/Route 287 interchange that had strong volunteer support. It also participated with the GeesePeace organization to obtain training on goose control techniques. During 2009 Lambrix said the commission would continue its focus on completing the environmental resource inventory, improving its understanding of a range of environmental issues, and serving as an environmental advisor to the governing body. “Given the success of our first year I have expectations that the environmental commission will improve on its capabilities, increase community outreach, and take a proactive and positive stance on matters that preserve and improve the environment of Franklin Lakes,” Lambrix wrote. Clara S. Licata, Esq. 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