Friday, February 17, 2023

A New Environmental Resource Inventory for Princeton Takes Shape

There's a nice writeup on Princeton's Open Space Manager, Cindy Taylor, in TapInto Princeton. She'll be leading a presentation on Wednesday, Feb. 22, about the new edition of the Environmental Resource Inventory (ERI) that she's been working to prepare for Princeton. Among the many others contributing to the update are councilwoman Eve Niedergang and members of the Princeton Environmental Commission (PEC). The PEC will host the presentation, which should get going soon after 7pm. The public is encouraged to tune in and participate.

If you are wondering what an Environmental Resource Inventory is, you can take a look at the current ERI, which I played a considerable role in creating. Starting in 2007, as a member of the PEC, I worked closely with a consultant, Chris Linn, on that previous update of the ERI, the first update since 1978. 

It seemed appropriate that a resource inventory would include plant inventories--long lists of which plants are found where in town. And so the next year, in my role as resource manager for the Friends of Princeton Open Space, I led many walks in various preserves to inventory the plant life. With help from a Princeton University summer intern, Sarah Chambliss, we compiled 22 plant inventories. 

I added many photos, and a section on invasive species, including mention of the emerald ash borer. Though the ash borer had yet to reach NJ in 2010, it has by now already killed most ash trees in our area, just 13 years later. 

To document some environmental history, I'll mention the following. The PEC, chaired by Wendy Kaczerski at the time, paid for the 2010 ERI using borough and township funds and a matching grant from The Association of NJ Environmental Commissions (ANJEC). The study was carried out by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), with input from the PEC and borough/township staff. 

Chris Linn of the DVRPC did most of the work to compile and write up the ERI. That document has served the town since it was published in January, 2010. Some of the acknowledgements are below. Looking at the names now--among them Rosemary Blair, Grace Sinden, Casey Lambert, Vicki Bergman, Greg O'Neil, Charles Rojer, Wanda Gunning, Gail Ullman, Ted Thomas--brings back good memories and is a reminder of how deep are the roots of environmental advocacy in Princeton. 

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