Reports

The Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership is happy to host this repository of reports and resources specific to the Lower Raritan Watershed. These documents were developed by ourselves, our project partners, our LRWP volunteers, students and interns, and our Rutgers University research collaborators. The materials include land inventories, GIS analyses, water quality reports and much much more. All rights are held by the authors.

May 2017 – Baykeeper Pathogens Report_Public Release_May 2017

Throughout the course of June 13, 2016 – October 3, 2016, the LRWP, Baykeeper, citizen scientists and other project partners conducted weekly monitoring events at nine locations along the NJ portion of the Raritan Bayshore (Monmouth/Middlesex Counties) – including two sites in Perth Amboy and one site in South Amboy. This project engaged over 25 volunteers, who participated in all aspects of monitoring-GPS and YSI operations, data collection, water sample collection, and laboratory testing. At each site measurements were taken (i.e., temperature, salinity, oxygen, pH) along with observations regarding weather patterns, potential pollution inputs (point and non-point sources), and recreational use (e.g., fishing, boating, swimming). Additionally, water samples were collected, and analyzed at the IEC laboratory, to determine the levels of Enterococcus bacteria (an indicator of pathogen contamination). Data were analyzed to determine the highest areas of Enterococcus, especially immediately following precipitation events. This report presents findings from the Summer 2016 pathogens study.

May 2017 – Prioritizing Basin Retrofits in the LRW

“Choosing Locations for Green Infrastructure in the Lower Raritan Watershed” was developed by Rutgers University graduate student Kate Douthat as part of coursework in Professor JeanMarie Hartman’s Spring 2017 “Watershed Management”. This study first reviews general frameworks for environmental decision making, and presents an approach to understanding stormwater detention basin candidates for retrofits in the Lower Raritan Watershed. The report then makes specific recommendations for retrofits in Franklin Township.

May 2017 – Tices Lane Park_Inventory_Analysis_May_2017 and Tices Lane Park_GMP_May_2017 (East Brunswick)

To fulfill requirements of a Rutgers Parks Management course, Rutgers graduate student Daryl Krasnuk conducted a study of East Brunswick’s Tices Lane Park and developed two guiding documents for restoration activities of this Pinelands outlier. The first is a Tices Park Inventory and Analysis, and the second a General Management Plan. Daryl’s management plan proposal includes integrating the curriculum of two local schools with the natural resources at the park and using the stream degradation of the Sawmill Brook from up-slope development as an example of the problems faced in the Lower Raritan Watershed.

May 2017 – Designing a Healthier Somerset

Under the guidance of Professor David Tulloch, the Rutgers GeoDesign class took a semester long look at the health of Somerset County, NJ, and identified a number of design interventions that could improve the well-being of the county’s residents. Not surprisingly, so many of their design suggestions would positively impact watershed health.

February 2017 – Bridges of the Lower Raritan Watershed

Working with Professor JeanMarie Hartman, Rutgers Undergraduate Ethan Benderly-Kremen developed this inventory of iconic bridges in the Lower Raritan Watershed. The inventory includes information on bridge construction, age and purpose. Ethan writes: “the bridges of the Lower Raritan are a misunderstood feature, used by almost all but noticed by almost none. By showing how the bridges are different from an ordinary road, and how each bridge is different from another, I hope to demonstrate to the reader that by crossing a bridge, they are directly interacting with a major river, a feature unique to this area, hopefully spurring them to continue learning and interacting with the Raritan.”

November 2016 – Historical sources of polychlorinated biphenyls to the sediment of the New York/New Jersey Harbor (journal article)

Rutgers University Department of Environmental Science Professor Lisa Rodenburg and colleagues analyzed dated sediment cores to investigate the pollutant polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congener concentrations in the New York/New Jersey Harbor and Lower Hudson River.

August 2016 – Influence of wastewater treatment plant discharges on microplastic concentrations in surface water (journal article)

Rutgers Civil and Environmental Engineering Professors Shirin Estahbanati and Nicole Fahrenfeld studied the abundance of microplastic particles in the freshwater environment of the Raritan River, focusing on samples captured near wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) discharges. To investigate concentration of microplastic in fresh water and the impact of WWTP effluent, samples were collected upstream and downstream of four major municipal WWTPs on the Raritan River, NJ. Microplastics were categorized into three quantitative categories (500-2000 μm, 250-500 μm, 125-250 μm), and one semi-quantitative category (63-125 μm). Then, microplastics were classified as primary (manufactured in small size) or secondary (derived from larger plastics) based on morphology. The concentration of microplastics in the 125-250 and 250-500 μm size categories significantly increased downstream of WWTP. The smaller size classes, often not quantified in microplastic studies, were in high relative abundance across sampling sites. While primary microplastics significantly increased downstream of WWTP, secondary microplastic was the dominant type in the quantitative size categories (66-88%). A moderate correlation between microplastic and distance downstream was observed. These results have implications for understanding the fate and transport of microplastics in the freshwater environment.

May 2016 – Concentrations of heavy metals in fish species targeted by anglers in central New Jersey: A pilot study (journal article)

Rutgers graduate student John Cambridge and co-authors investigated the concentrations of toxic metals in the edible portion of fish tissue obtained from the Raritan River in New Brunswick, New Jersey (NJ) between April and May of 2014. Species collected for this study included commonly caught fish such as bluegill, small and large mouth bass, brown and rainbow trout, bullhead catfish, and white perch. Samples were filleted and the muscle tissue subsequently dehydrated and then chemically digested. Samples were analyzed using Gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC–MS). Levels of 28 different metals were quantified for each specimen. In general, metal contamination in fish tissues was below the recommended limits. However, lead was found in one sample at a tissue concentration of 88 µg per 225 g fillet, which is above the recommended daily consumption limit as set by the Food and Safety Authority of Ireland. The maximum level found for arsenic was 23 µg per 225 g fillet. The fish samples taken from the Raritan River in New Brunswick, NJ for this study did not contain dangerous levels of most of the metals tested.

May 2016 – LRW_Tidal_Water_Maps_May_2016

With thanks to Middlesex County Office of Planning, water bodies in the Lower Raritan Watershed (including streams, rivers, ponds and lakes) were mapped based upon their location relative to coastal wetlands and head of tide data.