Month: June 2019

Raritan River Pathogen Results from 6.13.2019 sampling

Happy Father’s Day Weekend!

For those of you making plans to be on the water, see below for Enterococcus results for monitoring conducted on June 13, 2019. Results are reported in Colony Forming Units or CFUs. Please note that while we follow quality control measures, the real-time nature of data delivery means that EPA has not reviewed, and these are not technically quality controlled.

Enterococci levels are used as indicators of the possible presence of disease-causing bacteria in recreational waters. Such pathogens may pose health risks to people fishing and swimming in a water body. Sources of bacteria include Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs), improperly functioning wastewater treatment plants, stormwater runoff, leaking septic systems, animal carcasses, and runoff from manure storage areas.

Site NameTime sampled Enterococcus (CFU)
Riverside Park, Piscataway8:45TNTC
Rutgers Boathouse,
New Brunswick
9:452,600
Edison Boathouse10:22150
Ken Buchannan Waterfront Park,
Sayreville
11:03250
South Amboy Waterfront Park 11:4451
2nd Street Park, Perth Amboy12:12TNTC

TNTC stands for Too Numerous To Count, or >60,000.  Please note that these results are in colony forming units (CFU). These results are preliminary and pending Quality Control.

Huge thanks to our partners EARTH Center of Middlesex County and the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission. We are working to develop a platform for data reporting and sharing, but for now see our program overview for more information on the sites and our monitoring efforts.

Elmwood Cemetery’s 1st Annual BioBlitz

Article by Howard Swerdloff, New Brunswick Environmental Commission

On Saturday June 8, 2019, the Elmwood Cemetery hosted their first annual “BioBlitz.” (A“BioBlitz” is an event that focuses on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time.) The event was sponsored by the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership (LRWP), the Americorps Watershed Ambassadors Program, New Brunswick Environmental Commission, North Brunswick Environmental Commission, and the Elmwood Cemetery.

Photo credit: Roger Dreyling

Over 4 dozen area “citizen scientists” and experts scoured the 50 acre site identifying and cataloging the fish, mammals, insects, aquatic invertebrates, fungi, plants, and birds. They identified 8 species of fish; 8 species of mammals; 47 species of insects; 15 species of aquatic invertebrates; 20 species of fungi; 37 species of plants; and 42 species of birds (the latter are catalogued on E-bird: https://ebird.org/nj/view/checklist/S57201308 ) — a total of 177 different species.

Photo credit: Johnny Malpica
Photo Credit: Johnny Malpica
Photo credit: Johnny Malpica

The event inspired many two-way conversations between our community participants and the volunteer scientists. Instead of a didactic “top down” learning experience, both groups shared their knowledge and understanding of the local environment in a way that enhanced the specialized knowledge of the expert scientists, and, in turn, the expert scientists helped community volunteers develop a deeper knowledge and appreciation for the natural world and local environment. The experts’ final reports will be ready in a month; their findings will be shared with the volunteers. Elmwood Cemetery plans to make a Bioblitz an annual event.

Elmwood Cemetery, a Special Forested Habitat Refuge
The cemetery is nestled between the New and North Brunswick communities. It was established in 1868 as a “Victorian Garden Cemetery” during the rural cemetery movement, and to this day all of Elmwood’s lanes and paths are lined with evergreens and flowering native trees. Cemetery managers are building on this legacy of careful planning and land protections to secure Arboretum accreditation, which will allow them to further advance the planting, study, and conservation of woody plants and trees in the area.

Raritan River Pathogens Report June 7, 2019

Many thanks to our great team of volunteers who dedicated their Thursday to sampling for fecal coliform and enterococci at six non-swimming beach public access sites along the Raritan River. See here for more information on our Summer 2019 monitoring program.

Enterococci levels are used as indicators of the possible presence of disease-causing bacteria in recreational waters. Such pathogens may pose health risks to people fishing and swimming in a water body. Sources of bacteria include Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs), improperly functioning wastewater treatment plants, stormwater runoff, leaking septic systems, animal carcasses, and runoff from manure storage areas. Enterococci levels are often high after heavy or consistent rainfall.

Enterococci results are reported in Colony Forming Units or CFUs. 
Suitable levels for enterococci in marine (salt) waters are 104 – 501 cfu/100mL for a single sample, and for freshwater 61 – 151 cfu/100 mL as a single sample reading.

Enterococcus results, times  and coordinates:

Site NameTime sampledEnterococcus (CFU)
Riverside Park (40.54067, -74.51219)10:01800
Rutgers Boathouse (40.48826, -74.43384)10:37520
Edison Boathouse (40.48769, -74.38409)11:05250
Ken Buchannan Waterfront Park(40.47483, -74.35586)11:4346
South Amboy Waterfront Park(40.48334, -74.2698)12:1315
2nd Street Park (49.50007, -74.27719)12:41150

TNTC stands for Too Numerous To Count , or >60,000.  Please note that these results are in colony forming units (CFU), not MPN. These results are preliminary and pending Quality Control.