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Public Information » E-Newsletter » E-Newsletter Aug 09

New Era, New Span --- Bridge Commission's E-Newsletter --- August 2009

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Clean-Up of Next Stretch of Debris-Filled Rancocas Creek A Go

Commissioners announced today that they are moving forward with Burlington County’s largest shared service initiative to date, a partnership among the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Bridge Commission, and local municipalities that will save taxpayers millions of dollars by removing tons of debris that caused devastating flooding in Lumberton, Southampton, and Medford.

Continued from e-mail below

“Shared services bring property tax relief, but this one also saves people from ruinous financial and personal loss,” said Chairman John B. Comegno II, referring to the more than $25 million in flood damage to homes and businesses caused by previous storms, including $8.5 million in damage during the April 2007 storm alone. “We’ve said in the past that the Bridge Commission is committed to seeing this project through all four reaches, so we are here, putting up the dollars to make this happen—all with no toll increase at our two bridges.”
 
“We are pleased to once again partner with the Bridge Commission to move this project forward,” said Freeholder Director Joseph B. Donnelly, who committed to waiving the County’s fee for disposal of the debris in the County landfill, which will save thousands of dollars. “The short term benefit is that local taxpayers in Medford, Southampton and Lumberton are being spared the enormous cost of clearing debris from the creek. The long term benefit is that it will mitigate flooding and, with the future assistance of the affected towns, who will assemble volunteers to keep the waterway clear, will avoid the millions of dollars in damage to so many downtown businesses and homes in 2004 and 2007.”
 
Southampton Township Mayor James Young said that the township would work with the Bridge Commission and Freeholders to keep the creek clear of debris by encouraging volunteer creek maintenance in the weeks and months ahead. “We will do whatever we can to engage environmental and other civic organizations to work with us, to ensure that the creek is cleaned on a regular basis, and that it remains free flowing and free of debris,” said Young. “I look forward to working with other mayors to achieve the same result.”
 
A total of 60 obstruction fields have been identified in Reach 3, which extends three miles from Eayrestown-Newbolds Road to Main Street in Lumberton Township. The Commission anticipates awarding the contract in early September and beginning work later that month, according to a schedule developed by GSE, LLC, the engineering firm overseeing the project. The project is expected to be complete by January.
 

The remaining two reaches, which total nearly 5 miles, are located in Lumberton and Medford:

  • Reach 2 flows from the Landing Street Bridge to the bridge crossing at Eayrestown Newbolds Road in Lumberton Township; the stretch of the Rancocas is approximately 2.8 miles long.
  • Reach 4 is the northern most segment of what is commonly known as the Southwest Branch of the Rancocas Creek, located in Medford Township, approximately 500 feet south of the border with Lumberton Township; the portion of the creek is about 2.1 miles long.
Applications for government stimulus loan funds for Reaches 2 through 4 are still pending, but in an effort to clear the creek as soon as practicable, the Commission is initiating the project by putting the most downstream reach (Reach 3) out to bid. 
 
“We did the responsible thing—first, by trying to fund this enormous project with outside sources, and second, by remaining true to our commitment to see it through, whether or not the federal funds are available,” said Vice Chairwoman Priscilla B. Anderson. “Proceeding with Reach 3 is proof positive we’re in this for the long haul.” 
 
Commissioner Troy E. Singleton added, “This is just one more initiative of the Commission aimed at saving or creating jobs for our Burlington County residents. A lot of families suffered as a result of the floods of 2004 and 2007.”
 
“Whether it’s saving our tollpayers from a toll increase or saving financially strapped towns and their taxpayers from the financial and economic development impact of another flood, the Bridge Commission is determined to be a good neighbor,” said Comegno. “This ultimate cooperative effort, among the Freeholders, the Bridge Commission, and local community members, will go a long way toward improving not only the creek, but also the lives of Burlington County residents as well.”
 
The Burlington County Bridge Commission manages the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol Bridges, and through its economic development and improvement authority powers, assists Burlington County municipalities in economic development and community revitalization projects and extends pooled financing options to local governments and nonprofits in Burlington County. These initiatives have resulted in a savings of approximately $13 million dollars.
 
Bridge Commission 
Police Officer Coveleski Receives Commendation from FBI

What started as a routine traffic stop ended with BCBC Patrolman Joseph Coveleski finding a positive match to a known or suspected terrorist on the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center’s (TSC) watchlist. The TSC commended Coveleski for exceptional work, citing the appropriate protocol he followed, which led him to determine the possible terrorist link. He was able to collect intelligence that may prove to be of great value to the FBI and the Intelligence Community. Congratulations, Officer Coveleski!

Now’s the Time for the Fall 2009 Pooled Lending

If you weren't able to attend the August 5 presentation about the pooled lending program, contact Gary LaVenia, (856) 829-1900, ext. 242, glavenia@bcbridges.org for more information.

Continued from e-mail below

$19 Million Pooled Lending Saves Evesham, Lumberton, Delran, Cinnaminson $1 Million
 
Over the life of the issue of the loan, these four communities will realize an aggregate savings of $1 million taxpayer dollars. Proceeds are being used for the financing of new capital projects and the permanent financing of temporary debt, which has already been expended on capital projects.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint: We Can Show You How

What’s happened since the June 16 Burlington County Energy Conservation Forum? Co-hosted by the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Bridge Commission, this event unveiled a new program intended to assist municipalities, authorities, and schools in Burlington County institute Energy Conservation Measures aimed at saving taxpayer dollars.

Implementation groups are in place, detailed plans are coming together, and the Commission is receiving requests to prepare Energy Efficiency Grant applications (at no cost to the municipality or organization).

Next Shared Services Forum in Late September

Stay tuned. Contact Gary LaVenia for details (glavenia@bcbridges.org, 856-829-1900, ext. 242) or check back to the BCBC website for details, as they become available.



Sounds of Nature Summer Campers enjoy their time at Palmyra Cove Nature Park! 
(story at right)

Saga of the Falcon Chick 

Read about Palmyra Cove’s most interesting and unusual experience this month!  

Continued from e-mail below

(As told by Clara Ruvolo, Director of Palmyra Cove Nature Park)

As you may or may not know, a falcon chick was hatched in the nest box atop the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge sometime in May. It ate, it slept, it thrived, and, on July 17when it was banded, we learned that it was a she.

On July 28th she was out on the bridge exercising her wings and fell to the sidewalk below! PCNP Naturalist Kristina Merola was alerted, retrieved the chick, and delivered her to Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge for diagnosis and possible treatment.   On July 30th, after having x-rays taken and determining that the chick was in good shape, staff from Woodford returned the chick to PCNP.

Meanwhile, in preparation for the chick’s return there were several conversations among Kathy Clark from NJDEP Fish and Wildlife; Jack DeGiovanna, our own engineer/on-site bird man; Kristina and myself. Kathy suggested that we place the chick on a high point of the Environmental Discovery Center, protected from predators, where she could call to her parents. How they would fetch her once they knew where she was, I can’t begin to tell you. But, the story doesn’t go in that direction so it doesn’t matter.

Following Kathy’s direction, members of our maintenance department built a box for the chick, placed it on the floor of the observation deck facing the bridge, and, to protect the chick from predators, nailed a piece of plywood to the entrance to the deck and wrapped sections of the stairway leading to the deck in orange snow fencing. All was ready, the chick was delivered, Kristina placed her in the box on the deck and maybe 20 minutes later, she was out of the box, teetering on the railing along the observation deck, we assumed she was getting ready to fall to the ground once again! 

But, for the time being, she occupied herself by jumping to one side of the angled roof, struggling to the peak, and walking along this peaked edge of the roof, all the while trying to keep her balance while a very nervous mocking bird made distress calls and bumped into her. As we watched from below, she went off the edge of the roof and disappeared down the other side. (Sigh!) We ran to the bridge side of the building and looked everywhere for her. She was not to be found…until…Kristina, in her car, leaving for the day, about to turn out of the parking lot, spotted the chick on the top chord of the truss span, which Jack estimated to be sixty feet off the ground.   Our most optimistic guess was that she was trying to make it to the nest box on the arch, but remember—this chick was not much of a flyer and had already fallen off the bridge once. We watched for a while, wished her luck and went home ourselves.

When Kristina came into work the next day, she checked the falcon nest box via her computer and lo and behold! There was the chick, back in her box with both parents outside, looking on.

Busiest Summer Yet at Palmyra Cove Nature Park

In August, PCNP hosted 232 children for environmental education programs. The children come to us from 6 schools/organizations, located in 4 municipalities, and 2 counties. 

Sounds of Nature Summer Camp: New This Year at PCNP

This new addition to PCNP’s summer programming came from a partnership with “Symphony in C,” a non-profit organization in Camden County which introduces classical music to children as we introduce environmental education. The objective of this camp experience? Promote “active listening” to the music in nature and the music in classical composition and then compare the two, discussing their similarities and differences. The week-long camp brought 14 children, 12 of which were from the city of Camden.  

Busiest Summer Yet at Palmyra Cove Nature Park!

In August, PCNP hosted 232 children for environmental education programs. The children come to us from 6 schools/organizations, located in 4 municipalities, and 2 counties. 

Sounds of Nature Summer Camp: New This Year at PCNP

This new addition to PCNP’s summer programming came from a partnership with “Symphony in C,” a non-profit organization in Camden County which introduces classical music to children as we introduce environmental education. The objective of this camp experience? Promote “active listening” to the music in nature and the music in classical composition and then compare the two, discussing their similarities and differences. The week-long camp brought 14 children, 12 of which were from the city of Camden.  

Coming Up

Saturday Family Hikes and Beginning Birding for Adults continue on alternating Saturdays. More on PCNP events...

 

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