Tag Archives: Nature

Tree Stump Gallery #1

Photos of Delaware Canal Tree Clearing in Lambertville, New Jersey 2018-2019

“Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?”
— 🚕 “
Big Yellow Taxi“, Joni Mitchell

 

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No, this has nothing to do with the “Emerald Ash Borer”. For information about this Tree and Brush Clearing Project go here.


Tree Stump Gallery #1 — 53 Photos

 

 

Peace Out…

— Christo

Authorities say Canal-side Brush and Tree Clearing in Lambertville is NOT for the Railroad, but…

Tree Stumps and Survivor Guilt on the Canal Path-011🚂 Looks Like, But is Not the Railroad—In a short section of the Delaware and Raritan Canal in Lambertville, between Coryell Street and the empty River Horse Brewery, sixty to one hundred trees, some apparently close to fifty years old, were converted to wood chips and sawdust in a matter of days. Was this part of the initiative to preemptively strike at the Emerald Ash Borer beetle? Nope, most of those trees were felled already, their trunks can be seen lining the canal path between Lambertville and FrenchTown.

And it wasn’t just the trees—shrubs, vines, weeds, saplings, and pretty much any other living thing was scraped clean from the railroad tracks to the canal bank (See photos.) So what was this all about?

Ask just about anyone in Lambertville familiar with the situation and they’ll tell you, “It’s the railroad!” To many surprised residents the recent tree and brush clearing appeared to be an effort to clear the overgrown and unused railroad tracks for the “Tourist Train” proposed by Black River and Western Railroad. BRWR hopes to run on weekends behind Clinton Street, over the “Nifti” Bridge behind Rojo’s Roastery and the Roxy Ballet Studio, passing over Alexauken Creek and proceeding to Ringoes and Flemington and back.

Despite appearances, according to several authorities, officially, the clearing work is unrelated to the railroad.

Why so much confusion? No signs, no notices—Work began abruptly in December of 2018 with no apparent advance notice provided to residents or local businesses, nor to the officials of the City of Lambertville. No signs were posted on the canal path. Similar work had been performed some years ago closer to Bridge Street, but the recent work was more “thorough”— or drastic, depending on your perspective—this time only a few trees were allowed to remain.

Concerned citizens contacted Lambertville City authorities, discovered that they had no information about the project, and were referred to the Delaware & Raritan Canal Commission.

Delaware & Raritan Canal Commission Executive Director, John Hutchison, explained “the project is being undertaken by the NJ Water Supply Authority pursuant to the 1986 lease agreement with the State” for the purpose of clearing the canal and maintaining the water flow. He explained, “Jurisdiction over the D&R Canal is somewhat complex…”

“I hope this information is useful.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.  Also, the Commission meets monthly to review project applications and our meetings always include a public comment portion.  The Commission meets the third Wednesday of the month at 10:00 a.m. in the Prallsville Mill Complex in Stockton.” — John Hutchison, Executive Director D&R Canal Commission


D&R Canal State Park Superintendent Patricia Kallesser met one Lambertville resident and explained that this ongoing work of the NJWSA had to do with maintaining the water flow in the canal and upkeep of the historical (stone wall) structures. When asked about the lack of communication, she explained that the NJWSA web site maintained a FAQ about it on their web site.


The New Jersey Water Supply Authority at this writing does not list the Lambertville work on its “Public Notices”, but it is explained on their “Maintenance Along the D&R Canal FAQ”.

I emailed the NJWSA (to the “Info” mailbox, as no name was available on the site):

From: Christopher Plummer
Sent: Tuesday, January 1, 2019 10:54 AM
To: info
Subject: Please consider local interests w/Canal Brush and Tree Clearing in and around Lambertville

Dear NJ Water Services Authority,

I, and other residents, merchants, and “canal walkers” were very surprised by the recent clearing of over 100 trees, some large, 20-30 years old, and the “buzz cutting” of brush and shrubs from the railroad tracks to the edge of the canal starting near Finkel’s Hardware on Coryell Street and moving North on the West side of the canal. This work adversely impacted:

  • Bird and animal life and habitat prized by many residents, businesses, and tourists.
  • Local Visual aesthetics, exposing parking lots and warehouses that were screened by foliage, leaving a trail of tree stumps and giving that section of the canal an industrial appearance that had previously been “natural”.
  • Noise – the elimination of trees and shrubs that provided an acoustic buffer to the noise from the river recreation, roads, and New Hope.

<snip>

May I suggest in the future:

  1. Inform the public with accurate information about the purpose, scope, schedule, and likely impact of the work by posting signs on the canal path and in local papers, and phone calls to local officials.
  2. Provide time and a means for those concerned to give feedback before the work is started.
  3. Please give some weight and consideration to those concerns and find a balance between the preservation of historical structures and the preservation of current flora and wildlife habitat.

Thank you for your consideration, and best wishes for the New Year.

Sincerely,

Christopher Plummer

The NJWSA provided a response (below) to my query:
From: info <info@njwsa.org>
Subject: RE: Please consider local interests w/Canal Brush and Tree Clearing in and around Lambertville
Date: January 18, 2019 at 11:24:00 AM EST
To: ‘Christopher Plummer’
Dear Mr. Plummer,

Thank you for your concerned email and our apologies for the delay in response.  And thank you for your suggestions on future public notification, which we will certainly take under advisement.

As you know, the Authority’s mission is to maintain a flow of water through the Canal to provide raw water supply for our customers.  Our Canal maintenance crews and engineers need to “see” the embankment.  Seeing the embankment often helps us to prevent damage to the embankment that may develop from tree roots or animal burrows which can lead to seepage paths or from damage when the trees fall and their root balls remove sections of the embankment.  The Authority’s needs to see the embankment are constantly balanced with the wants and needs of Canal park walkers, joggers, bikers, nature enthusiasts, fishermen, historians, neighbors, and others [My emphasis—Christo] , all of whom may have a different idea of what maintenance should look like on the 60 plus mile Canal.   We tried to provide an understanding of our work in the FAQ’s that were recently posted on the website.

 

For the upcoming winter work on the Canal in Lambertville, crews may begin again as early as the week of January 21, 2019.  The exact schedule for the winter maintenance is weather dependent, and subject to equipment and personnel availability, and will include the following (in no particular order):
  1. Thin-out the underbrush and small trees on the western bank and in and on the stone wall between Coryell Street and Bridge Street.
  2. Clearing the vegetation from the Lambertville lock walls.
  3. Felling three Ash trees from the east side of the Canal, upstream of the Lambertville Lock.
  4. Removing the trees growing from the stone wall, on the river side of the embankment, from the wing dam (in the River) and downstream.
Items #1 thru #3 should only take several days each and should be completed this winter.
Item #4 will take quite a bit of time and will most likely occur over several years depending on other emergent items that need to be addressed and may stop and restart within the same year.
Feel free to share this information with other concerned residents.
(No sender name identified)

I Guess that was the Public Notice. I forwarded a copy to the City of Lambertville. I haven’t seen any new notices or additional information about the canal work. Have you? The NJWSA is apparently continuing their work up the south end of town as described in the email.

Local railroad supporters on Facebook are urging residents not to “listen to rumors” and espousing the wonders of bringing the iron horse, full of tourists, to Lambertville to reinvigorate our little town.

🚂 Meanwhile if it quacks like a duck…  At the North end of town small crews and individuals with mowers and chainsaws are clearing the railroad tracks. They make no pretense about working for the Water Authority.

Feb. 26, 2019 Tuesday – Today NJWRA trucks and teams are clearing the rails and canal, between Coryell and Bridge, chipping as they go.

Eagles check nesting options
—By the way, the empty nest this late in the season suggests that Bald Eagles will not be nesting on the power tower over Alexauken Creek this year. In 2017 they raised three fledglings at the site, not far from the “Nifti” Railroad Bridge and abandoned rail car at the north end of the trail in Lambertville.


Residents who wish to communicate their concerns about the destruction of wildlife habitat, the need for trees and brush as a visual screen and natural noise buffer, and other concerns are urged to contact any or all of the individuals and organizations below:

 

The City of Lambertville
Mayor Julia Fahl
City Hall
18 York Street
Lambertville, NJ  08530
Telephone:  609.397.0110
 “Ask the Mayor”


John Hutchison
Executive Director
Delaware & Raritan Canal Commission
609-397-2000

John.hutchison@dep.nj.gov


Clinton Administration Building
1851 State Route 31
P.O. Box 5196
Clinton, NJ 08809
P: (908) 638-6121
F: (908) 638-5241

info@njwsa.org


Patricia Kallesser 
Park Superintendent 
145 Mapleton Road
Princeton, NJ 08540
Phone: 609.924.5705

Peace Out
— Christo

Now there are THREE!! All William J. Plummer books now available as ebooks.

Friends, students, and colleagues who have known me for many years might know I grew up in Las Vegas, they might know I raced dirt bikes, hitchhiked up and down the West Coast, and teach T’ai Chi. But very few are aware of my upbringing with a pet Gambel’s quail and “an unusual household of pets”, described in some detail in books that my father wrote and that were published with moderate success and fame, in the early 1970’s. Curious? Well, here’s your chance!

ALL THREE of my dad’s books, previously published by Henry Regnery Company, and out of print for about thirty years, are available in ebook editions from Crossroad Press at all the major online publishing locations (see links below) for a very reasonable $3.99 each. IMAGINE owning all three of the complete and enhanced electronic editions for less than $15.00!

Enlivened with newly updated photographs — In addition to all the functionality of ebooks (searching, syncing bookmarks across devices, touch access to definitions, and so on), all three books have been updated with a new “Meet the Author” biography, a preface to the ebook edition, and improved photographs (in some cases never before seen.)

A_Quail_in_the_Family_thumb

In A Quail in the Family, the pen illustrations of the Regnery paper edition have been replaced with beautifully scanned and cleaned versions of the original photographs from which they were derived.

Friends_of_the_Family_thumbFriends of the Family features similarly replaced photographs. And because the quality of some of the photographs was so bad—I mean the ones I took with my Kodak Instamatic when I was…twelve—I have added public domain photos of several of the animals from the stories. (Thank you Wikipedia and all contributors of public domain photos!)

Five_of_a_Kind_thumb

 

Five of a Kind in the book edition contained ample photographs of the “Five Ladies”, but some were grainy, and all in black and white. Now, all have been replaced with improved scanned versions, many in color!!

 

Here’s my promotional blurb for “Friends”, which should give you a pretty good idea of what all three books are about…

Friends of the Family by William J. Plummer—Re-join the Plummers, who adopted and raised “Peep-sight” the Gambel’s quail rooster of A Quail in the Family. In this second book, William Plummer describes the family’s adventures with birds, rodents, snakes, lizards, and other animals–the visiting and resident members of the Plummer menagerie in Las Vegas. We learn of the rescue of “Beverly” the Desert Tortoise from the Nevada Nuclear Test Site; playing “dogfish” with “Georgia” the beagle; “Squeaky”, a kangaroo rat who occasionally left his open cage to make nocturnal household explorations, and “Ellery” the caiman–who resided for a time in his own backyard pool. And we first meet “Carrie”, “Rose”, “Red-Leg”, “Pearl”, and “Brownie”, the five charming female quail whose complete tale is told in the book Five of a Kind.

Links to the ebooks:

Amazon Link to Kindle Books by William J. Plummer

Apple link to iBooks by William J. Plummer

Barnes & Noble Link to Nook Books by William J. Plummer

Google link to Google Play books by William J. Plummer

Would you like to review one or more of these books?
Please contact me: cplummer[AT]crusoe.net.

“Time for Little Gas Crisis…”

Leak Pressures Consumers as Local Pipeline Oppositions Build

The Colonial Pipeline sprung a leak, spewing gasoline, causing long lines at gas stations and price increases at the pump from the Southeast to the East Coast for over a week. The leak also provided the petroleum industry an opportunity to emphasize how important pipelines are to keeping gas in your tank and prices down. And darn it, we need those pipelines, and new ones too, and those pesky “protestors” are in the way!!


“You certainly can’t build any new infrastructure, because people are protesting against it,” said Barbara Shook, a senior reporter for Energy Intelligence.

She said attitudes toward pipelines in general could be affecting energy resilience.  

“A lot of our infrastructure is old, and getting it repaired is difficult because you have so many protestors who just want us to abandon all our infrastructure,” Shook said. “I guess we’re supposed to walk from Texas to New York now.”

—Marketplace, Sustainability Desk, A Single Pipeline Leak Slows the Southeast , September 19, 2016


Thanks American Public Media “Marketplace” for this ridiculous statement of oil industry propaganda. Could you guys at least try to remember that old concept of  “journalism” or “media responsibility”?  Would it be that difficult to just ask, “Does it make sense to use the term ‘energy resilience’ when talking about fossil fuels?” Or, “Can you provide details about protestors preventing the repair of existing infrastructure?” But no, just broadcast it verbatim. Sheesh.

Why not cover the real story? The petroleum industry is making a last ditch land-grab to connect a national pipeline network. The network, if completed,  will allow them to move, market, and export petroleum products—including fracked natural gas—which is too expensive to export with existing means (refer to Marketplace’s own pipeline promoting stories about petroleum in rail cars, safety, fires, explosions etc.) If they can get away with it, the corporations rely on “eminent domain” to trample the rights, property, regulations, and natural preserves of individuals and states that would otherwise never allow it. We’ve all heard now about the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Standing Rock Sioux water protectors. What is less known, similar pipeline battles are occurring elsewhere in the US, including the controversial “Penn East Pipeline” in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

So, how fortuitous for a price-bumping gas pipeline leak to affect so many people and garner press attention right as the Dakota Access Pipeline is on the front page of most news outlets! Seriously? Doesn’t this sound even the least bit like a Chris Christie “Bridgegate” job?

“Time for a little gas crisis!”

#StopPennEast

#NoDAPL

—Christo

These links open in a new window:
Oil Train Traffic is Down – for Market Reasons
Will the latest oil-train fire make people rethink anything?

 

 

What’s it going to be #Lambertville? 🐥Ducks in the streams? Or PIPELINE? #StopPennEast NOW!

from Instagram: http://ift.tt/28NFXir

Find out more!! (Opens in a new tab) – thecostofthepipeline.com

Shelter in the Night

Boston, Massachusetts
Tuesday, March 24, 1981

Every morning the blackbirds fly to the east in long arching streams. A continuous band comes over the condo project across the street and disperses in a scattered line that breaks up the failing pink of the dawn as they head, approximately, for the ocean.

All winter, as I crossed the street, the wind cutting cold through my trouser legs, my cheeks red, scraped by the raw, I suspected that the blackbirds had set some dubious course for their migration and it was taking them to the coast before they turned south. Through the entirety of that season they persisted, crowding their sky-lane silently as their path intersected the man paths below. Did they ever actually leave? Were these the same birds? Every day?

One late afternoon I thought I’d discovered at least part of their secret.

I was waiting near the Brigham hospital for a bus. An agitated whirring drew my attention to the bare trees in the neighborhood nearby. Blackbirds filled the boughs, hopping about, leaning and looking, as if waiting for some imperceptible signal. One or two birds in the highest branches of each tree tested the air, springing free, five, ten, fifteen feet vertically; their greatest leaps mimicked by as many as five or six converts from the lower realm. These preliminary sortees gained in frequency and magnitude, clusters of birds circling the trees and then lighting again. And then springing spontaneously from the midst of hesitance and confusion, one bird shot with urgency and conviction into the darkening sky. Others followed at virtually the same moment, and then more, in ranks, one after the other, filling the air again with that dark scattered stream. The winding, blackbird cloud, swirled its way to the south, yet the buzzing, whirring remained. Many birds were left in the trees. Some, unsure, had peeled off from the original departing flock; others, anxious but not yet ready, never left the limbs.

Gradually the performance was repeated several times by those remaining, each a near duplication of the last—except for the deepening background of evening that was making the performers indistinguishable from their perches. Finally they all took wing, vacating the last trees in an instant, rushing to some goal beyond the approaching gloom, seeking companionship on the journey, or shelter in the night. 

Gone. Activity and noise receded like a wave, leaving a brief and sudden silence, until the #69 bus surged through the darkness, illuminating flecks of rain in the soft sphere of yellow light it pushed before it.