RANCOCAS CREEK ASSOCIATION
Minutes of the Meeting
June 15, 2008

Present
Rich Astorino, Eddy Baker, Ed Bevell, Bill Bolger, Tom Greenfield, Richard Horowitz, Craig Katz, Tom Kempton, Paul Loane, Don Maurer and Mary Jo Rogers, John and Claudia McNamara, Wayne and Claire Milligan, Shane and Susan Neergaard, Barbara Rich. Ginny and Lonnie.

Opening
The first meeting of the RCA for 2008 began at 11:00 a.m. The purpose of this meeting was twofold. First, John McNamara wanted to organize the RCA for the next two year term, since it has been in existence for nearly 75 years and is held in esteem by many organizations such as the Rancocas Conservancy, the Mount Holly Council and the Burlington County Parks Department. Second, there was concern about the decreasing water level of the creek per the opening of the gates of the dam.

Upon attending a Mount Holly town meeting, John learned that it would take about $1. 7 million to repair the dam and that Mount Holly was indeed in favor of keeping the dam, but not before John gave an impassioned speech with his English accent to that effect. The greatest worry, however, is the threat of removing the dam because of insufficient funding. So in an attempt to better understand the issue, a meeting was held with John, Claudia, Rich, Don, Wayne, Gary, Kathy Hoffman (town council member), Jules Thiessen and the mayor of Mount Holly, Brooke Tidswell. The meeting was held at John and Claudia's. Items discussed included how plummeting water levels would effect the environment, wildlife, recreation and quality of life for residents along the creek. Also, funding issues such as grants, insurance, and the responsibility of different organizations were touched upon. A proposal was made for creek residents and concerned citizens to write to Congressman Jim Saxton and to the Burlington County Freeholders urging them to keep the dam and save the creek. Flyers were distributed with this information.

Elections
The following are the elected officers for the 2008 - 2009 term:
President - John McNamara
Vice President - Wayne Milligan
Secretary - Claire Milligan and Claudia McNamara
Treasurer - Tom Kempton

Meeting Schedule and Hosts
July 20 - Tom Greenfield and Kerry S h a r p s
August 17 - Don Maurer and Mary Jo Rogers
September 21 - Wayne and Claire Milligan

The fall float is scheduled for October 19, 2008.
The brunch at the Smithville Mansion will be decided.

Open Discussion
Everyone was dismayed by the dramatically low level of the creek and its effects upon the drying of the wetlands and animal habitat. Some were concerned with the fallen trees near their property and the accumulating debris. RCA does own some chain saws if anyone needs to borrow them. It appears that different organizations have a vested interest in the raising of the water. Mount Holly businesses would like to see a rise in the creek level which is part of the downtown charm. Burlington County has on their agenda guided tours of the creek and of course the fall float.

Tom mentioned that if the dam repair exceeded a certain amount, a fish ladder would have to be installed.
After attending a Mount Holly meeting, Don reported that the creek will be raised toward the end of June, since the turtles have moved to deeper water and need time for their eggs to hatch. A rapid rise in the creek will kill them. So progress will be slow and dependent on rain volume.

Barbara Rich was introduced. She is president of the Rancocas Conservancy and a friend of the RCA.

Ideas were thrown around about money for the dam such as earmarking political funds, getting aid from other organizations, getting grants, transferring funds from different projects, etc. All were in agreement as to repeatedly raising awareness of the issue through the media. A sheet was passed around if anyone was interested in attending a freeholders meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 12:00.