Tag: Raritan River

Raritan River Monitoring via Facebook Live!

Want to know how citizen scientists take action to monitor the health of our waterways? Want to learn about the Raritan River and the tools and techniques used to gauge bacteria levels at sites along the Raritan River? Please join the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership and Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County (RCE) for a “Facebook Live” event when we will demonstrate how we gather data and other information on water quality for public access sites along the tidal portions of the Raritan River.

We are designing the event for classroom engagement, and welcome student questions! We anticipate the program to run 45 minutes – 1 hour.

We will build the event schedule around registrant demand. Once you have registered, project coordinators will reach out to you with more details.

For more on our Summer 2019 Pathogens Monitoring Program.

This project is supported through grants from the Interstate Environmental Commission (IEC) and Rutgers’ Sustainable Raritan River Initiative (SRRI).

FREE Raritan River boat trip on the RV Rutgers!

You are invited to join us on a Raritan River boat trip on the RV Rutgers. The boat trip will be Friday October 11th from 1:30-4 pm. This is a rare opportunity to see the Lower Raritan from the water!

The RV Rutgers is a 20 passenger landing craft that can navigate the lower Raritan River and estuary. The R/V Rutgers is operated by the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences. See here for more information on the boat.

On this tour we will identify our pathogens monitoring locations, highlight significant landmarks, and bring out binoculars for bird watching. We will likely get a chance to see eagles, osprey, cormorants, kingfishers, herons, egrets, and more.

This tour is hosted by the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County, and Rutgers, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources.

Please note we are limited – this is a first come first served trip!

Our trip will depart from the Morgan Marina in Sayreville.

Raritan River pathogens report for 9.12.2019

Raritan River Enterococci results for 8.1.2019, for six non-swimming beach public access sites. Enterococci results are reported in Colony Forming Units or CFUs. Suitable levels for enterococci should not exceed 104cfu/100mL. **Please note: these results are preliminary and awaiting Quality Control.**

Know before you swim/paddle/fish! See here for more information about our citizen science program, and to get involved.

#NYNJCitizenScience #NYNJCommunityScience

8.22.2019 Pathogen Monitoring Results

Raritan River Enterococci results for 8.22.2019, for six non-swimming beach public access sites. Enterococci results are reported in Colony Forming Units or CFUs. Suitable levels for enterococci should not exceed 104cfu/100mL.

**Please note: these results are preliminary and awaiting Quality Control.**

August 15, 2019 Raritan River monitoring results

Raritan River Enterococci results for 8.15.2019, for six non-swimming beach public access sites. Enterococci results are reported in Colony Forming Units or CFUs. Suitable levels for enterococci should not exceed 104cfu/100mL.

**Please note: these results are preliminary and awaiting Quality Control.**

Raritan River pathogens results for July 2, 2019

Happy July 4!

Our team conducted pathogens (enterococci) monitoring of six Raritan River public access sites a bit early this week so as to report out in time for the holiday weekend. We are very happy to report that with a few exceptions (Piscatway and Perth Amboy), our numbers look pretty good!

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. We take the samples to the Interstate Environmental Commission for processing, and then report out results via our website, twitter, and facebook. See the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership website for a map of our sites, and for more information on our monitoring program.

Enterococci results are reported in Colony Forming Units or CFUs. 
Suitable levels should not exceed 104 cfu/100mL.

The Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership is grateful to our EARTH Center of Middlesex County partners, to the Interstate Environmental Commission for lab analysis, to the Sustainable Raritan River Initiative for providing grant support, to Jesse Stratowski and his team at the Rutgers Boathouse, and of course to our wonderful volunteers!

**Please note: these results are preliminary and awaiting Quality Control**

Raritan River Bacteria Report, 5.24.2019

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

For those of you making plans to be on the water, see below for enterococci results for our monitoring sites, 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.

Enterococci results are reported in Colony Forming Units or CFUs. 
Suitable levels should not exceed 104 cfu/100mL.

Briefly put, the numbers look good for our New Brunswick, Sayreville and South Amboy sites. Numbers are bad for our Piscatway and Edison sites, and downright horrible for our Perth Amboy site.

Riverside Park (Piscatway, 40.54067, -74.51219): 6300 CFU 
Rutgers Boat House (New Brunswick, 40.48826, -74.43384): 51 CFU
Edison Boat Basin (Edison, 40.48769, -74.38409): 640 CFU
Ken Buchanan Waterfront Park (Sayreville, 40.47483, -74.35586): <10 CFU
South Amboy Waterfront Park (South Amboy 40.48334, -74.2698): <10 CFU
2nd Street Park (Perth Amboy 49.50007, -74.27719): TNTC or Too Numerous to Count. (This number is >60,000.)

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.

May 23 – Raritan River Bacteria Monitoring

NEEDED!! Volunteer Water Quality Monitors to assist with bacteria monitoring during Summer 2019!

Every Thursday running from May 23 through September 26 the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County, and Rutgers University will be in the field taking water samples from five public access (non-bathing, fishing, and recreational) sites along our Raritan River. We need volunteers to help us with this important work!

Volunteers have the chance to help gather and prepare samples and conduct analysis.

We kick things off at 9:30 AM each sampling day, and will be in the field for 5-6 hours total. The whole day includes a trip to the New England Interstate Pollution Control Commission lab in Staten Island to process samples.

Wear clothing appropriate for the weather, bring a hat and sunscreen, plenty of water and a lunch.

Our monitoring sites are as follows:

Riverside Park, Piscataway – 430 River Rd, Piscataway, NJ 08854

Rutgers Class of 1914 Boathouse, New Brunswick’s Boyd Park – 5 Memorial Pkwy, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Edison Basin Boat Launch – Meadow Rd, Edison, NJ 08817

Ken Buchanan Riverfront Park – Sayreville Blvd, Sayreville, NJ 08872

Raritan Bay Waterfront Park – South Amboy

Second Street Park – Perth Amboy

Registration required.

Hidden Natural Treasures Revealed by Invitation of the Rain

Article and photos by Joe Mish


Access to some of the tributaries feeding the North and South Branch of the Raritan River is strictly a trail blazing event. The rewards are worth the effort.

Like a spectacular desert flower that only blooms after a rain, many tributaries of the Raritan river’s North and South Branch suddenly blossom into navigable waterways if only for a brief moment.

These ephemeral watery threads weave though otherwise inaccessible places of pristine beauty and undisturbed wildlife. Visitation is exclusively by invitation of the rain. The chance of appropriate water level matches the odds of winning at roulette. However, the opportunity to enjoy runnable water is increased, as it can occur at any time of the year, unlike many northeast rivers that are seasonally dependent on melting snow and large drainage areas.

One jewel of a stream went a full year before the shadow of my canoe silently passed over its sandy bottom in time with the midsummer freshet racing to the sea. The rarity of such a small stream sojourn increases the value of the experience.

The appearance of an apparition is the best way to describe the transformation of a small tributary into a navigable waterway. Water that lazily followed a convoluted path through a twisting labyrinth of exposed rocks, now flows over them with self-determination. The exposed stream bed is flushed clean of fallen leaves and broken branches while smaller rocks and stones are subtly rearranged into future sand bars and shoals.

For many years I had my eye on a tributary of the South Branch too shallow to run and whose character was totally unknown to me. On these small streams, strainers, trees that span the watercourse from bank to bank can be life threatening, especially in high water with minimal possibility for evasive action. Even on the main course of the North and South branch, strainers have claimed paddlers’ lives.

So, it was with caution that I approached what I considered to be a reasonable water level, after studying the historic stream gauge data. The possibility of another as yet undiscovered eagle nest, was also a consideration in choosing this stream.

While not situated in the wilderness, a solo trip like this, even in central New Jersey, is not to be taken lightly. I checked topo maps as well as aerial views and road maps to confirm my location at any given point.

Though I certainly wasn’t the first to paddle this stream, it sure felt that way. The initial stretch was one of several locations where the water level could be viewed from the road and rarely were the midstream rocks covered with water. Today, however, I floated easily, inches above the largest rocks. Five minutes later I was out of sight, around the first bend and on my way to explore the unknown. A very strange thought to have amid the congestion of central New Jersey; a little kid’s fantasy come to life.

The scenery did not disappoint, hardwood trees dominated the shoreline and formed a wide greenway to serve as a protective margin against runoff from cultivated land and residential properties. The intimacy of the stream’s narrow course bought both banks into view while looking straight ahead.

Bare red shale outcroppings provided a cutaway of the contours seen on the topographic map. Some more dramatic than others.

At the point of highest elevation, through which the stream cut its course, a palisade of red shale stood so high, it felt as if I were paddling through a canyon. Atop the sky scraping cliff stood a wall of giant trees which appeared to be on the same plane as the cliff face. Their combined height and singular appearance could not be taken in with just a tilt of the head and an upward glance. It was as if the trees were standing on the earth’s shoulders in a successful effort to touch the sky.

As is characteristic of these small streams, changes happen quickly and dramatically.

One moment later, the unobstructed view of the blue sky and towering prominence vanished, as a sharp bend in the again green canopied river, demanded my full attention. Here, the main current was rushing to the inside of the almost angular curve and through the branches of a fallen tree. Several forceful draw strokes were required to avoid entanglement.

The rest of the trip was easily navigated through a few rock gardens and shoals. Deer were everywhere, while a pair of geese and a few wood ducks provided a downriver escort, warning the world of my otherwise silent approach.

No eagles were to be seen, though a close encounter with a great horned owl made up for the absence of a new eagle nest site. I eagerly await my next rain drenched invitation to another, one of many, tributary paddling options.

Each tributary has its own character, no two alike, other than they share invitation by rain only.


Author Joe Mish has been running wild in New Jersey since childhood when he found ways to escape his mother’s watchful eyes. He continues to trek the swamps, rivers and thickets seeking to share, with the residents and visitors, all of the state’s natural beauty hidden within full view. To read more of his writing and view more of his gorgeous photographs visit Winter Bear Rising, his wordpress blog. Joe’s series “Nature on the Raritan, Hidden in Plain View” runs monthly as part of the LRWP “Voices of the Watershed” series. Writing and photos used with permission from the author. Contact jjmish57@msn.com. See more articles and photos at winterbearrising.wordpress.com.

May 18 – Watershed Highlights: Duke Island Greenway walking tour

Join LRWP Board Member Professor David Tulloch as he leads our second “Watershed Highlights and Hidden Streams” walking tour of 2019!

Professor Tulloch will help us connect the old constructed landscapes of the canal at Duke Island County Park through a new greenway / bikeway that has been developed along the Raritan and crosses over into the Duke Farms properties. Many area residents are likely familiar with individual pieces of these recreation spaces. Fewer have made the walk to connect them all.

We expect to traverse 3 municipalities (and a named community that locals assume is a 4th municipality), and learn about the role that James Buchanan Duke played in shaping the hydrology of the area including creating multiple dams on the Raritan River to channel water to man-made lakes on the Duke Farms grounds.

Professor Tulloch says: “With the pump house and former dam, I think this will really be more about history than the hidden streams. But there are some interesting spots along the river where small streams contort themselves to cross the greenway.”

Join us from 9-11 AM on Saturday May 18.

Please park at the lot marked as the Raritan River Greenway on Old York Road between Woodmere St and Chestnut St, just barely inside Raritan Borough.

Registration required.

As we will not enter into Duke Park lands, dogs are allowed on this walking tour.

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