Sourland Planning Council Candidate Questionnaire
Responses from Judd Mandell (I)
Candidate for Township Committee, Hillsborough Township
1) Do you know about and do you support the work of the appointed representatives of the 5 townships (e. Amwell, Hillsborough, Hopewell Township, Montgomery and W. Amwell) in developing a Comprehensive Management Plan for the Sourlands?
Yes, I’ve talked to Susan Gulliford who represents Hillsborough. It makes sense to have a regional management plan for the Sourlands because the entire surrounding area must make a concerted effort to provide lasting protection of the Sourlands. For instance, setbacks from wetlands and streams differ in each town’s ordinances and developers figure this out to their advantage. However the impact that development has on access to potable water and ensuing flooding is felt across the region.
2) Do you feel the current level of Open Space funding in your country or municipality should be a) increased b) stay the same, or c) be decreased or partially redirected for other purposes? How is this funding derived—from Open Space tax, from your capital funds, or other?
The funding for Open Space is a tax. The amount of Open Space in Hillsborough is comparable to 30% of the total acreage in Franklin. However, Franklin’s Open Space is enjoyed by more members of the public and has a management plan that the Environmental Commission put together. Franklin’s Open Space is clearly marked and used for educational purposes to encourage conservation. While our acquisition rate of Open Space is comparable to Franklin’s, we could do a better job to manage the land to the benefit of our residents.
3)Briefly describe your attitude and past involvement with the preservation of open space, wildlife habitat, natural resources, and/or places of historical significance in your township.
My family and I truly enjoy hiking in the Sourlands which are halfway between two major cities, New York City and Philadelphia. We feel transported into another world where the natural world is less affected by suburban developments. I am very supportive of preserving open space in a thoughtful way to consider wildlife corridors and contiguous space that provides capacity for wildlife.
Another consideration for open space would be to protect areas that recharge our water aquifers.
I am a landscape contractor with a degree in Environmental Planning and Design from Cook College and am also certified as an educator for sustainability that focuses on building sustainable yards that are easy to maintain. I recommend native plant species and offer edible and medicinal plantings that can be utilized by humans and beneficial species alike. I see what the natural world does to establish itself and mimic it in my designs and landscapes.
4) The current over-population of white tailed deer poses a serious threat to the Sourland ecosystem. We are in the process of developing a site-specific deer management plan. Can you support such a plan, and if so, what are the important issues we should consider?
Humans have caused the conditions that led to deer over-population. It’s responsible to develop a plan to bring balance back to our ecosystem. The impact of deer in the Hutchinson Forest, one of the last virgin forests in Central Jersey, has been studied over many years. In this forest, as well as large tracts of land such as Duke Farms, managing the deer population was essential to the survival of understory and young tree saplings to maintain the health of the land.
Overpopulation causes dangerous driving conditions and impacts the safety of both humans and deer. It also affects our farms’ productivity. There are successful deer management programs that we can learn from in order to tackle these issues.
Thank you for the opportunity to address these topics. They are near and dear to me..
Independent candidate for Township Committee in HillsboroughTownship