Tag: Middlesex County

June 18 Stormwater infrastructure mapping training with NJDEP

The NJDEP has developed a new stormwater infrastructure mapping tool to assist municipalities with meeting the requirements of their municipal stormwater permit. This ArcGIS field app will be available free-of-charge to municipalities and partners authorized by the municipality.

On Monday June 18, the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership and Middlesex County will host a NJDEP training session for communities interested in learning how to use this new stormwater mapping tool. The training session will be held at the Middlesex County Fire Academy in Sayreville, and will run from 9-1pm (including lunch). Pre-registration required.

Here’s an overview from NJDEP as to why communities should use their new Stormwater Mapping Tool:

-Ease of use
-Data is automatically uploaded to DEP servers
-Overlay data with DEP maps to assess the location of waterbodies in relation to stormwater infrastructure
-Municipalities without a current ArcGIS license will be provided with one free-of-charge

The workshop will also include an overview of the recently renewed municipal stormwater permit requirements, as well as a short presentation on how to visually assess the quality of existing stormwater infrastructure.

Lunch will be provided. RSVP required.

For questions: hfenyk@lowerraritanwatershed.org

LRWP receives Middlesex County Local Arts Program Grant

With grant support from the Middlesex County Office of Arts History, the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership and coLAB Arts will implement the first component of the #lookfortheriver Public Art Program in New Brunswick’s Boyd Park in Summer 2018. The grant will allow for engineering and construction of a footing (the base) for a new public art piece for New Brunswick’s Boyd Park. The creative work to be installed at that site will serve both environmental/watershed awareness and cultural/community engagement purposes for the Raritan River waterfront at that site. Grant funding has been provided by the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders through a grant provided by New Jersey State Council on the Arts / Department of State.

The #lookfortheriver Public Art Program is a component of the LRWP’s #lookfortheriver watershed restoration campaign, which is designed to encourage community members to “look” for buried streams using landscape cues and historical research. #lookfortheriver is a package of actions communities can engage in around flood resilience and environmental restoration. The LRWP will be rolling out aspects of the #lookfortheriver campaign through 2018 and 2019.

Clean-up of Johnson Park (Piscataway)

Help us kick-off the New Year by giving some clean-up attention to Middlesex County’s Johnson Park (Piscataway). Since we last cleaned that area a pair of Bald Eagles has moved in! We’ll stay clear of their nesting grounds, but there is plenty to do in the rest of the floodplain. We will meet 9:30am at the Middlesex County Parks Department offices, and from there caravan to the clean-up site.

WHAT: a clean-up of Johnson Park on Sunday January 14 from 9:30 AM to 11 AM (cutting things short because of the nip in the air)

WHERE: Clean-up kick-off at 1030 River Road in Piscataway, Middlesex County Parks Headquarters lobby.

PLEASE NOTE: if there is snow on the ground on January 14, we will have to postpone the clean-up. (Its hard to find litter when you can’t see it!) – check on the event webpage to verify

This Event is co-coordinated by the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership and the Middlesex County Department of Parks. With special thanks to Middlesex County for cartage and supplies.

Please dress appropriately for the weather. Gloves and bags will be provided!

*** For more information contact Heather hfenyk@lowerraritanwatershed.org ***

Workshop: Green Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience

On November 17 the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership is joining with NOAA to co-host a day-long workshop: “Introducing Green Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience”. This workshop is designed for planners, engineers and municipal leaders who are not yet familiar with GI for coastal resilience. Register now!

Morgan Marina in Sayreville, NJ following Superstorm Sandy, Oct-Nov 2012

The workshop is timed to coincide with the 5th anniversary of Superstorm Sandy. We see this as an opportune moment to reflect on successes in implementing GI thus far, as well as to frame challenges, solutions and opportunities for future GI interventions.

Participation will be capped at 50. Continuing ed credits will be available for planners and floodplain managers.

Continuing Education Credits available:

6 – American Planning Association (APA)

5 – Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM)

With thanks to the Middlesex County Office of Planning the workshop will be held at the Middlesex County Fire Academy in Sayreville, NJ.

Notes from Garden & Afield: Week of Oct 1-8

Except as noted, article and photos by Joe Sapia

Note: The yard references are to my house in the section of Monroe between Helmetta and Jamesburg in South Middlesex County. My yard is in a Pine Barrens outlier on the Inner Coastal Plain, the soil is loamy, and my neighborhood is on the boundary of Gardening Zones 6b (cooler) and 7a (warmer). Notes and photographs are for the period covered, unless otherwise noted.

Morning on Farrington Lake, looking from East Brunswick to North Brunswick, both in Middlesex County, at the Hardenburg Lane bridge. Being on New Jersey’s Coastal Plain, where there are few, if any, natural bodies of water, Farrington Lake is created by the damming of Lawrence Brook between Davidson Mill Pond Park and Milltown.

FIRETOWERS: New Jersey’s fall wildfire season coincides with leaves falling and normally runs until about Thanksgiving and that time of year’s colder temperatures. But there could be a wildfire threat at any time if conditions are correct — and, now, we have had both falling leaves and dry conditions. So, the state Forest Fire Service is staffing its lookout towers. Visitors are welcome to go up in the towers when they are staffed – but, remember, you not only have to walk up the tower stairs, but you have to walk down. These Forest Fire Service towers are in the Jersey Midlands: Jamesburg/Middlesex County, Lakewood/Ocean County, Cedar Bridge/Ocean County, Medford/Burlington County, Lebanon/Burlington County, Apple Pie Hill/Burlington County, Batsto/Burlington County, and Bass River/Burlington County.

“Jamesburg Tower,” actually outside of Jamesburg in a Monroe Township section of Thompson Park, is about 65-feet-tall, sitting on high ground of about 150 feet above sea level over the Raritan River watershed.

GREAT HORNED OWL: Late at night, as I was at my desk, I thought I heard one of my favorite night sounds, the resonating hoot, hoot, hoot of a great horned owl, “Bubo virginianus.” I went outside and heard what I thought was a faint call of one, then nothing. The great horned is an early breeder, so the calling, signally both territory and looking for mates, should increase. More information, including audio of its calls, is at Cornell University’s All About Birds website, https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Great_Horned_Owl/id.
BALD EAGLE, OCEAN COUNTY: Diane Larson, the home horticulturist and leader of the Master Gardeners program in Rutgers University’s Cooperative Extension Office/Monmouth County, sent in this photograph taken by her stepson, Danny Larson. It is a juvenile bald eagle, photographed on the afternoon of Thursday, October 5, on Beaver Dam Creek in Brick, Ocean County. Diane was leaning toward bald eagle, “Haliaeetus leucocephalus,” but raised a question if it could be a golden eagle, “Aquila chrysaetos.” Two New Jersey Audubon Society naturalists, Pete Bacinski (retired) and Scott Barnes (active) made the identification via this photograph. “It is a juvenile bald eagle,” Pete said. “The bill is too large for (a) golden.” “Yes, definitely a juvenile bald eagle,” Scott said. (Thank you, Danny, Diane, Pete, and Scott, for the team effort.)

Danny Larson photographed this juvenile bald eagle on Beaver Dam Creek near his family’s house in Brick, Ocean County. (Photography copyright 2017 by Danny Larson.)

DRIVE-BY NATURALIST, DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT: As I drive through the Pigeon Swamp area of South Brunswick, Middlesex County, I pass a warehouse area. There, I often see a double-crested cormorant, “Phalacrocorax auritus,” at a retention pond.

A double-crested cormorant in a retention pond in South Brunswick, Middlesex County.

STEAMING FARRINGTON LAKE: When water temperature is much warmer than air temperature, bodies of water look like steaming soup. I caught this view of Farrington Lake on a cool morning. A few winters back, when we experienced real cold temperatures, this phenomenon was seen at the Atlantic Ocean – a really cool view.

A steamy Farrington Lake, looking from East Brunswick to North Brunswick.

FALL ON THE FARMS: It is fall, so farms are displaying pumpkins and chrysanthemums. Field corn, or feed corn, awaits harvesting.

Field corn awaits harvesting in South Brunswick, Middlesex County

Acres of field corn await harvesting in South Brunswick

Chrysanthemums at Davino’s Nursery in East Windsor, Mercer County.

CLOUDS, NO. 1: One of the week’s beautiful clouds and sky view was from the East Windsor Community Garden in Mercer County.

Beautiful clouds and sky view at East Windsor Community Garden in Mercer County.

CLOUDS, NO. 2: Another view of beautiful sky with clouds was from my backyard in Monroe, Middlesex County.

A clouds-in-the-sky view from my backyard in Monroe, Middlesex County.

Another clouds-in-the-sky view from my backyard.

OCEAN TEMPERATURES: Atlantic Ocean temperatures on the New Jersey coast were about 69 degrees to 71 degrees during the weekend of October 7 and 8.
SUNRISE/SUNSET: For October 8, Sunday, to October 14, Saturday, the sun will rise about 7:05 a.m. and set about 6:25 p.m. For October 15, Sunday, to October 21, Saturday, the sun will rise from about 7:10 to 7:15 a.m. and set about 6:10 to 6:15 p.m.
THE NIGHT SKY: The next full moon is the Frost Moon on the November 3-4 overnight.

The moon over Manalapan Brook and its floodplain in Monroe, Middlesex County. This moon is waning after October 5’s Full Harvest Moon.

WEATHER: The National Weather Service forecasting station for the area is at http://www.weather.gov/phi/.

A view from Jamesburg Tower, looking south toward Monroe Township High School, from the spring of 2014.

Joe Sapia, 60, is a lifelong Monroe resident. He is a Pine Barrens naturalist and an organic vegetable-fruit gardener. He gardens the same backyard plot as did his Italian-American father, Joe Sr., and his Polish-immigrant, maternal grandmother, Annie Poznanski Onda. Both are inspirations for his food gardening. Joe is active with the Rutgers University Master Gardeners/Middlesex County program. He draws inspiration on the Pine Barrens around Helmetta from his mother, Sophie Onda Sapia, who lived her whole life in these Pines, and his Grandma Annie. Joe’s work also is at @JosephSapia on Twitter.com, along with Facebook.com on the Jersey Midlands page. Copyright 2017 by Joseph Sapia

Oct. 21: Beach Sweep with Middlesex Co. & Clean Ocean Action

Come out and help Middlesex County Conservation Corps and Clean Ocean Action keep our shores beautiful and debris-free in this annual event held on the Raritan Bay Waterfront! Supplies provide. Registration required. Please contact Griffith Boyd #732.746.3064 or griffith.boyd@co.middlesex.nj.us to RSVP and for more information.

April 17 – General Meeting

Our April 17 meeting will focus on stormwater management, and will include a discussion of regional approaches to stormwater management.

The agenda will include an overview of federal expectations with respect to MS4 requirements, with Matt Klewin (NJDEP) presenting on “Update on Changes in the New MS4 Revision”. Manville Borough Administrator Andrea Bierwirth will speak about challenges to meeting MS4 requirements in the upper portion of the watershed.

The meeting will be held from 10-noon in the Middlesex County Planning Offices at 75 Bayard Street, New Brunswick, NJ – 5th floor mid-size conference room.

Parking is validated for those parking on floors 5 and higher in the RWJ Wellness Parking Deck located at 95 Paterson Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. Be sure to bring your ticket to the meeting for validation.

For more information contact Heather: hfenyk AT lowerraritanwatershed DOT org

Brielle’s Pollinator Garden – A Girl Scout Silver Project

Article and photographs by Brielle Tiger. 

Brielle Tiger, an 8th grade Girl Scout Cadette, recently installed a pollinator garden in Middlesex County’s Johnson Park as part of her Girl Scout Silver Award. Brielle has been a Girl Scout for seven years. She lives in New Jersey with her parents, brother, two cats and one dog. She loves eating the vegetables from her small family garden.

As a Cadette Girl Scout, I have the opportunity to earn the Silver Award, the second highest award in Girl Scouts. To earn this award, the project I choose needs to benefit my community, take at least fifty hours to complete, be sustainable, and be something I care about. For the past several years, our family garden has not had as many vegetables as there used to be even though we had the same number of plants. On the news they show that bee colonies are dying and butterfly populations are decreasing. Could the decrease of these pollinators be affecting the growth in my garden? That is when I came up with the idea of planting a pollinator garden. I decided to start researching pollinator gardens and visited some local gardens to get ideas for this new project. I then contacted the Middlesex County Parks Department. I spoke with Eric and Scott, and they both loved the idea of a pollinator garden in Johnson Park.FullSizeRender brielle - johnson park map

After meeting several times, we decided to plant the garden in a swale area, just over the bridge from East Jersey Olde Town. This was very new to me, since a swale is very wet soil and the banks are dry soil. I contacted Michele, who works in the Environmental and Resource Management at Rutgers and Heather with the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership, for advice on getting plants for a pollinator garden in a swale. They gave me a lot of information on how to plant the garden, how to care for the plants, and what nurseries could provide plants for me.

Brielle - pollinator garden plan duplicate

I used the information Michele and Heather gave me to put together a diagram of the garden and contacted some nurseries to see if they would donate plants for my cause. Two of the nurseries, Pinelands Nursery and New Moon Nursery, both in New Jersey, were kind enough to supply enough plants for my entire garden.

With my garden being 10ft x 20ft , it was recommended that I plant two hundred plants in my garden to help with weed control. Some of the flowers were Fox Sage, Black Eyed Susan, Orange Coneflower, and New York Aster. Now that I knew what plants will be donated and planted in my garden, I needed to find a deer fence.  Johnson Park has many deer, so I wanted to make sure they did not eat my plants. This turned out harder than I thought. I asked several local hardware stores for donations, and none of them responded. So I decided to go online and find places that sold deer fence and were still close to New Jersey. This time when I asked, I asked for a discount on the items needed. Benner’s Garden in Pennsylvania responded and they said that they would give me a discount on the deer fence and donate other needed supplies.

Now it’s time to set planting day and find volunteers. Planting day was scheduled on May 22, and many family members, friends, Girl Scouts, and Boy Scouts came out to help. Thirty people came out to help plant my pollinator garden. We had to get the grass and dirt out of the swale, prepare the soil, put up the fence, plant the flowers, water the flowers, and enjoy some hot dogs for lunch! It took almost the whole day to complete, but the garden looked great and it was definitely worth all the work.

brielle - pollinator garden

A few days later, I came back to the garden to put down mulch and pull some weeds. I go back often to water it, and watch how the plants grow in size. I know in the fall, I will have to clean out the garden when all the plants die. In the spring I will have to probably put down more mulch, pull weeds and water again. Hopefully with the plants being close together and being bigger next year, there will be more weed control in my garden.  Also, the fact that it is located in a swale, my watering it could be less often, depending on the weather.

With the flowers blooming, it is awesome to see!  I’ve seen a few butterflies and tons of bees, which is a great sight. Doing this was a perfect project and something that other communities should also consider. I would suggest contacting the Middlesex County Parks Department and the Environmental and Resource Management at Rutgers.  They give great advice on planting native pollinator gardens.

At the time that I’m writing this, the tomato plants in my family garden has given us an extremely large amount of tomatoes! Hopefully our other plants will do the same next year because there will be more pollinators.