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Update of 2002 Cooks Creek Watershed Conservation Plan coming


The Durham Township supervisors at their June meeting authorized the township’s Environmental Advisory Council to pursue a major project involving Cooks Creek.

The waterway, which runs through both Durham and Springfield, has been recognized by the state as an exceptional value stream, but it also has changed course in the past two decades partly due to storms, in some cases with flooding endangering and damaging properties along its banks.

In the absence of Supervisor Kathleen Gentner, Bartley E. Millett, the board’s chairman, and Supervisor Richard Johnson recognized the project’s importance and voted in favor of the township joining the Cooks Creek Watershed Association (CCWA) and Princeton Hydro, which specializes in watershed management and restoration, to update Durham’s 2002 Cooks Creek Watershed Conservation Plan and to seek grants for improvements.

David Juall, EAC chairman, said, “The creek has changed over the years and its impact has changed. The EAC doesn’t have the technical knowledge, nor do we have the manpower. The history, the population data we can do, but we need help with the technical stuff.”

Juall stressed importance with Scott Douglas, CCWA president, and Princeton Hydro, as partners in the grant application process. An environmental engineer who lives in Springfield, Douglas has managed such projects as dredging New York Harbor. His experience would be very helpful, Juall said.

Danielle Cox, township administrator, reported on a utilities information meeting hosted by the township. She said representatives of MetEd and state Sen. Jarrett Coleman, R-16, answered residents’ questions about power outages and downed tree-cutting and removal after heavy wind and rain storms.

Cox said MetEd generally handles trees in a 15-foot wide corridor along roads but will work with dangerous trees up to 25 feet away. The company’s plan, she said, is based on maintaining a quarter of its geographical area each year. So far as outages are concerned, Cox said, the company responds first to the area with the most outages.

She said people with medical issues requiring electrical power should register with MetEd and when they call in to report an outage should inform the agent that they are registered. Their call will be flagged so they can receive the earliest possible help.

In other business, Johanna Chehi was appointed to fill a vacancy on the township planning commission. Her term will expire Dec. 31, 2026.

Volunteers and vendors are requested to sign up for Durham Community Day, which is planned for Oct. 14 at the Village Green.