NEWTON, NJ—The Newton Town Council passed a resolution awarding a contract for timber harvesting services for the reservoir property at Morris Lake in Sparta, to Acheson Wood Service.  According to the bid attached to the resolution, this is will be the third such contract for Acheson at Morris Lake.

The harvesting plan was developed by forester Doug Tavella.

The resolution created a commotion of comments from the public about the impacts the removal of the trees will have on the environment for both Newton and Sparta.

Sign Up for E-News

Tavella was present at the meeting to answer the concerns of the public in regards to environmental impacts for both Newton and Sparta, how the logging will affect the water supplies, plants and animals in the area, the lack of buffers near the vernal pools and the rational for the plan.

According to Tavella and the bid for the purchase of timber, this is not the first time timber harvesting has occurred on this land. In 1996 a timber harvest project consisting of 55,000 board foot saw timber harvest with 60 cords of firewood took place. In 1999, a timber harvest project consisting of 36,000 board foot of dead hemlock was cleaned up.

Tavella informed the Newton Town Council and the public that for every one tree that is removed, 10 saplings will be planted as a replacement. He also said that there are buffer strips that will be placed by the streams per a compliance request, as well as a boundary around a certain area of endangered species.

Sparta residents raised concerns about the plan that is to take place within Sparta township on property owned by the Town on Newton.  The same group attended the Sparta Township Council meeting on Tuesday to raise the alarm there. 

The Sparta Township Manager, Bill Close said he would be looking into the matter.