Ongoing improvements at Strawbridge Lake were the source of much discussion at the most recent meeting Moorestown Township Council. Last Monday night, Council authorized $35,000 from the township’s open space fund for vegetation control services.
While in years past the lake has been dredged manually, this marks the first year that engineering consultant Princeton Hydro, LLC. has recommended a chemical treatment.
“The herbicide treatment is proposed for the upper basin to try to get better control, and then manual is reserved for the lower and middle basins as more of touchup,” Christopher Mikolajczyk, senior aquatic scientist at Princeton Hydro, said.
Mikolajczyk explained that because spatterdock grows out of the water, the plant is treated with direct chemical contact. He said when the plant is treated with herbicide, it dies and then floats up to the surface. With manual removal, unless the entire root system is removed, the plant will return the next year.
“Physical removal is very slow, and it’s very tedious and it gets very pricey,” Mikolajczyk said.
Councilwoman Victoria Napolitano inquired about the safety of using herbicides.
Mikolajczyk said the chemicals they would use are permitted by the Department of Environmental Protection. He said their technicians will follow the DEP permitted dosage rate and spray directly on the plants and not into the water. He said while some contact with the water is inevitable, the spray is designed to cling to the plants.
Council also gave a fair amount of consideration to the walking path that will be constructed along the lake. Steven Bach, president of the engineering firm Bach Associates, came to council’s meeting to inquire about the width of the proposed pathway.
Bach said a six-foot-wide pathway would cost approximately $197,500, while an eight-foot-wide pathway would cost around $235,800. Township Manager Thomas Neff said the township received a $200,000 grant from Burlington County toward the pathway, so a six-foot-wide path would be entirely covered by the grant.
Mayor Lisa Petriello questioned if a six-foot-wide path might prove too narrow for two couples walking by at the same time to pass comfortably without having to step aside to make room. She said she was in favor of an eight-foot pathway.
Napolitano inquired about the width of a typical sidewalk, which Bach informed her is around four feet. She said on a typical sidewalk, two groups can typically get by without issue, and if not, one will typically move aside.
“I just don’t know if it’s worth spending an extra $40,000 to prevent people from being mildly inconvenienced,” Napolitano said.
Resident Valerie Holmes said she was in favor of the six-foot-wide path.
“To move aside is common; we’ve all done it,” Homes said. “It’s just a courtesy.”
Resident Thomas MacDonald said he jogs at Cooper River Park, which is more heavily trafficked than Strawbridge Lake. He said he suspects that pathway isn’t wider than six feet and the width hasn’t proven to be a problem along the busy walkway.
Locatell expressed similar sentiments saying Strawbridge Lake isn’t as heavily trafficked as some other walkways.
“I just don’t think we have the population use out there,” Locatell said.
Bach said he didn’t need a definitive answer on Monday evening, so the matter was left unresolved.
Council chose to hold public comments open until its next meeting on an ordinance appropriating $760,000 toward the pathway, restoration of the “Children’s Pond” and stormwater improvements on Haines Drive.
The next meeting of Moorestown Township Council will take place on Monday, June 10 at 7:30 p.m. in Town Hall.