“Jon Boats” Acquired For Water Chestnut Work

The Jonah Center has acquired 2 aluminum utility boats, known as “jon boats” that will help us remove invasive water chestnut plants from the Floating Meadows and the Connecticut River next spring and summer. (The Floating Meadows is the freshwater, tidal marshland between Middletown and Cromwell by the Mattabesset and Coginchaug Rivers.)

The Jonah Center purchased the 14-foot boat pictured here. It will be powered by a 10 h.p. outboard motor donated by Jim Sarbaugh. The other boat is a 12-foot, lighter boat donated by Kent Ritter. It can be easily towed. Both boats are equipped with oars and can be easily rowed into shallow water, which makes them very useful in this work.

The boats are important tools because most kayaks can hold only a single bag of plant material at a time. Also, water chestnut plants are proliferating far from public launch sites (requiring a long paddle to be reached) and in locations where the shoreline is not accessible for off-loading plants. Infestations of water chestnut have become worse in recent years, seriously threatening the river ecosystem.

Waste Reduction Pilot Project

Pictured from left to right: Tracy Babbidge, Interim Deputy Commissioner of DEEP; Mayor Ben Florsheim; State Senator Matt Lesser; Katie Dykes, Commissioner of DEEP; Chris Holden, Middletown Director of Public Works. The orange (bag for food waste) and green bag (for other trash) in the center will be used for the co-collection pilot project.

The City of Middletown has received a state grant of $350,000 for a one-year pilot project on curbside food-waste collection in Middletown’s Sanitation District.  Now we need citizens (whether we live in the Sanitation District or not) to learn about this program, help make it successful, and advocate for its continuation. Continue reading

Another Native Tree Threatened

Dark green striping or other discoloration between veins of beech leaves indicates disease.

By Jane Harris

Although Beech Leaf Disease has been observed in the U.S. since 2012, little as yet is known about the spread of the disease, and a cure is still to be found.  While it is most often seen on younger forest trees, it can spread to, and kill, ornamental European beeches, including the enormous purple and copper beeches seen in of large estates and cemeteries. Typically, the first sign of the disease is in the form of thinning leaf canopies.

While it is known to spread via a nematode, the way that the nematode infects the trees is not well understood.

Beeches have suffered for some time from Beech Bark Disease, and trees already weakened by one disease will be more susceptible to the other. More information is contained here, including diagnostic photos of infected leaves.