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

NJDEP rollbacks on soil contaminant remediation

On September 18, 2017, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) issued a Notice of Administrative Change impacting the soil remediation standards for 19 contaminants. The standards have been updated to reflect U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revisions to the toxicity data for the affected compounds, as listed in the EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System database. The updated standards became effective immediately upon issuance of the Notice.

The soil standard changes include less stringent residential and non-residential standards for several so-called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), typically found in historic fill here in New Jersey, including benzo(a)anthracene, benzo(a)pyrene and benzo(b)fluoranthene. For the compounds known as chlorinated volatile organics (CVOCs), notable changes include less stringent residential and non-residential soil standards for tetrachloroethene (PCE) and more stringent residential and non-residential standards for tricholorethene (TCE).

Public Health Statement for PAHs

CDC statement on tetrachloroethene (PCE), most commonly used in dry-cleaning


A Notice of Administrative Correction to the Notice of Administrative Change was also published for two of the compounds, hexachloroethane and 1,1,1-trichloroethane.

DEP Announces response strategy for algal blooms

NJDEP Announces Response Strategy for Harmful Freshwater Algal Blooms, Seeks Public’s Help to Identify Suspected Incidences

Statewide Effort to “Avoid It and Report It” Includes Online Form for Reporting Suspected Blooms

Seeking to minimize health risks for people and animals, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has developed a strategy for a unified statewide approach in responding to incidents of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) in freshwater bodies across the state.

Under the new “Avoid It and Report It” effort, anyone who sees a suspected bloom resulting from cyanobacteria may contact DEP through its toll-free hotline or the WARN NJDEP app for smartphones and tablets. In addition, a new website ( http://www.state.nj.us/dep/wms/HABS.html) has been launched to coordinate important information and response activities. Alerting DEP to the suspected blooms quickly can help protect public and animal health and freshwater resources.

“Expanding our ability to respond to Harmful Algal Blooms, establishing preparedness procedures, and making information about these blooms more readily available to the public enables DEP and its partners to better protect the health of those who use New Jersey’s lakes and streams for recreation,” said Dan Kennedy, Assistant Commissioner for Water Resources Management.

Most algal blooms observed in New Jersey’s waterways are harmless and are not cyanobacteria. They result from too many nutrients causing excessive blooms of naturally present algae.

Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae are usually a bright green, but can also appear as spilled paint, “pea soup,” or as having a thick coating or “mat” on the surface. They can often be confused for typical algae blooms. Cyanobacteria are also naturally present in lakes and streams in low numbers.  Under suitable environmental conditions – sunlight, high nutrients, warm temperatures and calm water – dense cyanobacterial blooms can form.  Cyanobacterial blooms do not always produce toxins, but when they do the blooms can pose a risk to people, pets, livestock and wildlife if exposure occurs by ingestion, inhalation of contaminated water, or dermal contact.  Rashes can occur when cyanobacteria cells come in contact with skin.

When a suspicious bloom is observed, people are advised to Avoid It and Report It by following these steps:

. Avoid contact with water in the vicinity of the bloom, especially in areas where the bloom is dense and forms scums;
. Do not drink or consume the water;
. Do not eat fish from the waterbody;
. Keep pets and livestock away from the water;
. Do not allow animals to drink the water, eat dried algae, or groom themselves after coming into contact with the water;
. People, pets and livestock that come into contact with a bloom should rinse off with fresh water as soon as possible;
. Seek medical attention or a veterinarian if a person or animal is experiencing adverse health effects after exposure to a bloom; and
. Report a suspected HAB by calling the DEP Hotline at 1-877-WARNDEP (927-6337) or send a mobile alert through the WARN NJDEP mobile app (available via iTunes, Google Play or Windows Phone).

The new response strategy, developed jointly by the DEP and the state Department of Health (DOH), with technical input from the state Department of Agriculture, protects the public from risks associated with exposure to cyanobacteria and related toxins.

While the primary focus of the strategy is protection of human health, it also provides information on how to prevent exposure to domestic animals and livestock. The New Jersey Water Monitoring Council and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water provided technical input and review of New Jersey’s HABs strategy.

The response strategy covers freshwater lakes, rivers, and streams with potential public access, recreational use, and bathing beaches (including licensed beaches).  While these waterbodies may also be sources of drinking water in New Jersey, the focus of the response strategy is recreational use.  DEP works closely with drinking water systems to plan for HABs as well as all other drinking water emergencies.

The strategy includes:
. Procedures for reporting suspected cyanobacterial HABs;
. Information regarding which agencies/organizations are responsible for responding to an HAB report and what actions are to be taken;
. New Jersey recreational risk thresholds;
. Acceptable methods for conducting monitoring and analysis;
. Recommended advisory language; and
. A process for developing a HAB research plan.

Based on information from the U.S. Geological Survey, 19 states had public health advisories for cyanobacterial blooms in August 2016. With the release of the new response strategy, New Jersey joins more than 30 other states who have developed HAB strategies and/or HAB public awareness informational materials.  So far this summer, New Jersey has responded to nine confirmed or suspected HABs in lakes and streams.

The new NJDEP HAB-focused website, found at http://www.state.nj.us/dep/wms/HABS.html , contains information on both freshwater cyanobacterial HABs, and a variety of marine water HABs. Highlights include an electronic cyanobacterial HAB Reporting Form, downloadable Advisory signs and flyers for use for HAB events, a general cyanobacterial fact sheet, and a more detailed fact sheet on recreational exposure and health effects related to cyanobacterial HABs. General information about cyanobacterial HABs, what to do if people or pets are exposed, links to the EPA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s HABs websites and other resources, as well as a gallery of both HAB and non-HAB photos of lakes and streams, are also provided.

For questions regarding the freshwater harmful algal bloom strategy, call DEP’s Bureau of Freshwater and Biological Monitoring at (609) 292-0427 or email mailto:njcyanohabs@dep.nj.gov

To learn more about the NJ Water Monitoring Council, visit http://www.nj.gov/dep/wms/wmcchome.html

For more about DEP’s Division of Water Monitoring and Standards, visit http://www.nj.gov/dep/wms/

The new NJDEP HAB-focused website, found at http://www.state.nj.us/dep/wms/HABS.html, contains information on both freshwater cyanobacterial HABs, and a variety of marine water HABs. Highlights include an electronic cyanobacterial HAB Reporting Form, downloadable Advisory signs and flyers for use for HAB events, a general cyanobacterial fact sheet, and a more detailed fact sheet on recreational exposure and health effects related to cyanobacterial HABs. General information about cyanobacterial HABs, what to do if people or pets are exposed, links to the EPA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s HABs websites and other resources, as well as a gallery of both HAB and non-HAB photos of lakes and streams, are also provided.

NJDEP confirms bald eagle nest in Monroe

Article by Joe Sapia

On Tuesday, I was talking to Kathy Clark, a biologist who has long been involved with the bald eagle restoration project for the state Department of Environmental Protection, and she surprised me with a question:

Do you know about the bald eagle nest at Route 33 and Applegarth Road?

Wow, no, I did not.

“It’s probably been there for two years,” said Clark, who works for the Endangered and Nongame Species Program in DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife.

But the state only found out about it in time to monitor the nest this year. And it fledged one chick! The nest is to appear in the state’s 2017 report, which will be out around the beginning of next year. Apparently, the nest will be listed as the “Upper Millstone” nest because of the Millstone River corridor in that area.

From 1970 to the early 1980s, New Jersey had only one confirmed nest — in the Delaware Bay area. In 2016, New Jersey had 172 nests. Of the 172, 150 had eggs, producing 216 fledglings.

The comeback of bald eagles, “Haliaeetus leucocephalus,” is attributable to the 1972 United States banning of DDT pesticide, which worked itself into the food chain and resulted in fragile eagle eggs. Also, in New Jersey, the DEP has done a considerable job with managing an eagles comeback.

Since the comeback era of eagles, Monroe has never had a confirmed nest. So, this is a rather big discovery – one proving there is a lot to save in Monroe environmentally and specifically in terms of open space. Otherwise, the nearest confirmed bald eagle nests to Monroe, based on the 2016 report, are in the areas of Cheesequake State Park/Old Bridge, East Brunswick/New Brunswick, Princeton, the Six Flags Great Adventure area, and Fort Dix. The state also believes there is a nest at the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area. Another nest is likely in the Old Bridge area, but the state lost track of that nesting pair in 2015.

Despite the comeback of the bald eagle, it remains in New Jersey an “endangered” breeder – that is, in immediate jeopardy as a breeder – and “threatened” in general – that is, in danger of becoming “endangered” if conditions deteriorate.

The Monroe nest will really be a test to see what the township and its residents are made of environmentally. I have not seen the nest, but know the property it is on. It is private property that looms for development. And the nest is incredibly close to existing development and we have seen how the Route 33-Applegarth Road intersection is developing.

As Clark noted, “It’s quite built-up.”

It is unknown why the eagles picked this spot, one that is not on a body of water, for example, for its preying on fish.

Clark said the eagles look for: “Is there a foraging area? Is there a tree that will support a nest in the long run?”

Or a utility tower, even.

The nests are huge, perhaps 4 or 5 feet in diameter, 2 to 4 feet deep – with the birds adding onto the nest each year. The largest documented eagle nest was 9-1/2 feet in diameter, 20 feet deep, weighing about 6,000 pounds, according to the National Eagle Center.

This nest is relatively close to Cranbury Lake, Hightstown Lake, Etra Lake, Perrineville Lake, and Jamesburg Lake, so there are bodies of water around.

Because eagle nests are so fragile – this one with the added development pressure around it – I am not giving out the exact location. One, there is no need to get close to the nest – think of it as the eagle’s bedroom, a private place. Two, knowing the nest is in the general area, people should have ample views of eagles flying over the area – and there are various wide-open views in the nest area. Plus, I suspect the sightings people are reporting – at Thompson Park, at the Monroe Library, around the Route 33-Applegarth Road area, one even on road-kill in downtown Jamesburg several days ago – are these birds. Three, there are severe federal penalties regarding human interaction with eagles. (It is illegal in general to even own an eagle feather.)

Mature eagles, about 30 inches in height, with a wingspan of almost 7 feet, are easy to spot – huge brown birds with white heads and white tail-feathers. But it takes eagles years to reach maturity, so they do not get the adult colors until they are 4- or 5-years-old.

What can we do?

One, if you know the location of the nest, do not publicize it.

Two, if you know the location of the nest, stay away from it – as in hundreds of feet away. Photo opportunities are better with flying eagles than nesting eagles.

Three, move road-kill off roadways. If the eagle decides to take advantage of road-kill, at least it will not get hit by a vehicle if the road-kill is off the roadway.

Four, think environmentally. Monroe’s new obsession with a magazine-photograph lawn around a McMansion on what was woods or farmland only a few years ago is ridiculous.

Five, put pressure on developers and government officials to go green.

Too bad the Township Council cut the open-space tax rate. It went from bringing in at estimated $1.8 million annually, down to an estimated $900,000. Had it stayed where it was, all that extra money would have come in, without a hike in taxes, for open space purchases.

As for the Monroe eagles, let them soar!

See https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Bald_Eagle/id

See https://www.fws.gov/midwest/eagle/protect/index.html

Joe Sapia, 60, is a lifelong Monroe resident. He is a Pine Barrens naturalist and an organic vegetable-fruit gardener. Joe’s work also is at @JosephSapia on Twitter.com, along with Facebook.com on the Jersey Midlands page.

NJDEP – Notice of Rule Proposal CZMA, FWPA, FHACA

NJDEP – Notice of Rule Proposal

July 17, 2017

Coastal Zone Management Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:7
Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:7A
Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:13
Proposed amendments, repeals, and new rules

Take notice that the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (Department) is proposing amendments, repeals, and new rules to the Coastal Zone Management Rules in response to issues identified through stakeholder outreach and to address other issues that have arisen since the July 6, 2015 adoption of the consolidated coastal rules. The proposed amendments are related to shellfish aquaculture, filled water’s edge, dune walkovers and other beach and dune development, CAFRA findings, V zones, scenic resources and high-rise structures, permits to apply herbicide, trails, building access in flood hazard areas, application requirements, and rule rationales. Amendments and new rules are additionally proposed in the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act Rules and Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules as part of the Department’s continuing effort to align the three land use permitting programs to the extent possible.

The proposal is scheduled to be published in the New Jersey Register dated July 17, 2017. A copy of the proposal is available at http://www.nj.gov/dep/rules/proposals/20170717a.pdf and from LexisNexis free public access to the New Jersey Register, www.lexisnexis.com/njoal.

Public hearings concerning the proposal are scheduled as follows:

Thursday, August 10, 2017, at 6:00 P.M.
City of Long Branch Municipal Building
Council Chambers, 2nd Floor
344 Broadway
Long Branch, NJ 07740

Tuesday, August 15, 2017, at 10:00 A.M.
Campus Center Theater
Stockton University
101 Vera King Farris Drive
Galloway, NJ 08205

Written comments may be submitted electronically by September 15, 2017 at http://www.nj.gov/dep/rules/comments; or in hard copy to:

Gary J. Brower, Esq.
ATTN: DEP Docket No. 11-17-06
NJ Department of Environmental Protection
Office of Legal Affairs
Mail Code 401-04L; PO Box 402
401 East State Street, 7th Floor
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

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

Entry #1 – On New Jersey’s Environmental Values

Article by LRWP Board President Heather Fenyk

Starting from a belief that enduring environmental values will help us withstand current shifts in political winds, the LRWP is initiating a series of short blog posts to reflect on the normative standards that structured the last several decades of environmental politics in New Jersey.

Throughout this series we will draw attention to those actions that relate most directly to improving the the health of our Lower Raritan Watershed. We will also highlight other successful regional approaches that we can learn from to benefit our Lower Raritan River and local streams. Topics will include state-based policy making as well as alternative approaches including court actions, collaborative politics, and “private” pathways e.g. land trusts, consumer purchasing power and business actions to achieve sustainability. We also expect to explore mitigation banking, and proposals for stormwater utilities. In short, we want to identify a compendium of actions that might be brought to bear to further protect, enhance and restore our central New Jersey environmental landscape.

In this first entry we observe that while federal legislative changes may not currently be pro-environment (see our blog post here on environmental headlines), alternative pathways to positive environmental outcomes can be as simple as holding our state Department of Environmental Protection accountable for specific promised actions to protect our rivers, streams and watersheds. For example, we can regularly check in with NJDEP to request updates on the following on-going initiatives:

-Toxics reductions initiatives

-Water Quality Standards

-Maintaining the NJDEP water quality program

-Non Point Source reduction planning

-Communication of EPA/NJDEP TMDL prioritization work

-Legislative updates

-Permits updates


-Grants and loans, funding opportunities and state priorities review


Institutionalization of all the above on-going project and program efforts at NJDEP speaks to a on-going commitment to environmental priorities for New Jersey’s future. As environmental non-profits and concerned citizens we must regularly articulate our expectations associated with these priorities and hold NJDEP accountable for meeting our expectations.

NJDEP – Rescheduled Public Hearing FWPA Rules July 22

48 N.J.R. 1349(a)  

Copyright © 2016 by the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law





48 N.J.R. 1349(a)

Proposed Amendments: N.J.A.C. 7:7-6.4, 15.2 and 25.1; 7:7A-11.1; and 7:13-1.2, 6.7, 7.8 through 7.12, 7.29, 7.56, 7.58, 7.61, 8.5, 8.6, 8.8, 8.13, 9.5, 9.6, 9.8 through 9.10, 11.2, 12.5, 12.14, 13.1, 13.2, 13.6, 13.7, 13.8, 13.14 through 13.20, and 20.1

Proposed New Rule: N.J.A.C. 7:13-13.4

Click here to view Interested Persons Statement

Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules

Coastal Zone Management Rules

Notice of Rescheduling of Public Hearing

Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act Rules

Take notice that the Department of Environmental Protection (Department) is rescheduling the public hearing on proposed amendments and new rules in the Flood Hazard Area Control Act (FHACA) Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:13, Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:7, and Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:7A, PRN 2016-084. The proposed amendments and new rule were published in the New Jersey Register on June 20, 2016 at 48 N.J.R. 1014(a). The Department has rescheduled the hearing date as indicated below.

A copy of the notice of proposal is available at http://www.nj.gov/dep/rules and from LexisNexis free public access to the New Jersey Register, www.lexisnexis.com/njoal.

A public hearing concerning the notice of proposal is scheduled as follows:

Friday, July 22, 2016, at 10:00 A.M.
NJ Department of Environmental Protection
Public Hearing Room
401 East State Street
Trenton, NJ 08625

Submit comments by August 19, 2016, electronically at http://www.nj.gov/dep/rules/comments. The Department of Environmental Protection (Department) encourages electronic submittal of comments. In the alternative, comments may be submitted on paper to:

Gary J. Brower, Esq.
ATTN: DEP Docket No. 05-16-05
NJ Department of Environmental Protection
Office of Legal Affairs
Mail Code 401-04L
[page=1350] 401 East State Street, 7th Floor
PO Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402