Dear Friends of the Lower Raritan Watershed –
Today is the kick-off the the new school year for the watershed’s younger residents. What do our kids learn about hydrology in schools these days? One of the first things most 3rd graders learn in earth science is that water runs downhill. By 6th or 7th grade, kids are making the connection between pollution of waters uphill and contamination of larger waterways in lower lying areas as the polluted water flows downhill. The LRWP thinks that rationale ought to be enough to include small river tributaries, headwaters and wetlands under the federal Clean Water Act to ensure protections for the waters of the United States (WOTUS). We let the EPA know as much in our public comments to their notice of proposed repeal of protections for these areas.
While the LRWP is concerned with impacts of the rollbacks of protections on our drinking water supplies (and on flood storage and wildlife habitat) we are even more concerned about future climate change impacts on water quality in our watershed. A recent study suggests that because climate change will lead to more rain in places like New Jersey and the Northeastern US (and India, China, and Southeast Asia), water quality in these places will decline. In a nutshell this study makes the link between increased rainfall leading to more pollutants in our waters uphill leading to eutrophication (an over-abundance of nutrients) in the waters downhill.
The LRWP was founded to improve our understanding of water quality in the watershed, and to start to track the impacts of climate change on our water quality over time. Join the LRWP community on Monday September 18 (World Water Monitoring Day) from 5:30-7:30 pm in New Brunswick’s Boyd Park for monitoring, picnicking and celebration of working toward our goals. Bring your own picnic or something to share. We’ll supply beverages, paper products and dessert. Friends and family members welcome (RSVPs requested). And if you have a story to share about how the Raritan River is important to you, let us know. We are looking for 4-5 people to tell their stories.
Wishing the students in the watershed all the best for a wonderful school year,
Heather Fenyk, President
Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership