Raritan Pathogen Results for 09.22.2022

By LRWP Monitoring Outreach Coordinator Jocelyn Palomino

The Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership and Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County run a volunteer pathogens monitoring program from May to September every Summer. On Thursdays we collect water quality samples at 6 non-bathing public access beach sites along the Raritan River, provide our samples to the Interstate Environmental Commission for analysis in their laboratory, and report the results to the public on Friday afternoons. Our goal in reporting these results is to give area residents an understanding of potential health risks related to primary contact (touching) the water during water based recreation.

After receiving about 0.25 inches of rain on Wednesday, lab results for water quality samples taken on Thursday, September 22, 2022 show Enterococcus bacteria levels that exceed the EPA federal water quality standard of 104 cfu/100mL at our three most upstream sites. Problem sites are indicated by red frowns on the map and chart and include Riverside Park (Piscataway), Rutgers Boathouse (New Brunswick), and the Edison Boat Ramp (Edison). The green smiles represent sites with Enterococcus bacteria levels below the federal standard for recreation and include Ken Buchanan (Sayreville), South Amboy Waterfront Park (South Amboy), and 2nd Street Park (Perth Amboy).

Pathogens/Enterococci levels are used as indicators of the possible presence of disease-causing bacteria in recreational waters. Possible 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. Such pathogens may pose health risks to people fishing and swimming in a water body. If you choose to recreate on the Raritan this weekend, please do so safely and be sure to wash thoroughly after all activities!

Many thanks to the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County and Interstate Environmental Commission for their partnership, and to our team of volunteers who came out this week! See here for more information on our pathogens monitoring program.

Frank Dahl came out to volunteer with the monitoring team again this week, as pictured here completing a field observation sheet with the overcast sky behind him at our Piscataway site, Photo Credit: Jocelyn Palomino

Another dedicated volunteer of the program, Andrew Gehman, captured here collecting samples from the Rutgers Boat Dock, Photo Credits: Jocelyn Palomino

This week, we observed dozens of fish kill at our Edison and Sayreville sites likely from the low levels of dissolved oxygen we recorded, Photo Credits: Andrew Gehman

Frank was eager to wade into the water at our South Amboy site this week, he wanted to take samples from the River before the end of the season, Photo Credits: Jocelyn Palomino

Remembering Scott Yaede

The Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership lost a dear friend, Scott G. Yaede, who passed away on Friday September 16, 2022 at home in New Brunswick, NJ.

The environment was Scott’s passion, and he was a member of the New Brunswick Environmental Commission for decades, serving as chairman for many of those years. He conducted yearly environmental clean ups with the City of New Brunswick and was a steadfast volunteer at the annual Raritan River Environmental Festival. Scott was a member of the American Littoral Society and served as one of the first water quality monitors on the Raritan River for the New Jersey Baykeeper in the 1970s.

Scott was involved in early conversations to start up the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership and was a cheerleader as the organization grew and developed. He was especially supportive of, and involved with, the community boat build program. Until last year he joined most of the LRWP boat build sessions and stream clean ups. Scott was an avid kayaker and could often be seen cleaning up trash as he kayaked along the Raritan River.

With gratitude for your friendship and stewardship, Scott. You are missed!

Scott Yaede shows off the smallest tire found during a clean-up of the Raritan River floodplain in Donaldson Park, October 26, 2019.

The Embers Burst Into Flames

Article and photos by Joe Mish

Blaze orange leaves adorn this local black oak. Nature’s seasonal clock has struck 10, autumn has arrived as October takes out a full page ad to showcase its array of brilliant color.

The hot breath of August turns September mornings into a smoldering mist as embers of summer’s end burst into an explosion of October color.  

The early morning autumn mists, so prominent along the rivers and brooks that flow gently across the landscape, stir the imagination to reach back in time to a place where magic was the accepted answer to the wonders of nature. 

Dark green leaves turning to fluorescent orange is the stuff of wonderment. The purpose of which is to generate thought and build creative answers to perplexing questions. It is as if nature is guiding human evolution to higher intelligence by flashing colorful prompts to articulate a creative response. Creativity is the foundation of knowledge and its application. A warm up exercise for the immersion into disciplined technology, ruled by logic and reason. 

The heavy white mist, rising from the river, overflows the pastures, providing a blank slate, into which the light of dawn infuses clouds of ever-changing color. A band of intense pastels emerge from the night and rest upon the horizon to await the sun’s arrival. The first color to appear is a layer of fireball red which cools to an orange glaze, so intense, it appears the world is on fire. Purple streaks fading to rose, pink and salmon support layers of golden yellow, chartreuse and sulfur. This celestial palette, stirred by the rushing wind, spurred on by the sun’s heat clashing with the night’s cool air, disperses the colors to tint the rising river mist.

The predawn light begins to color the rising mist along the South Branch

The early morning light show vanishes into thin air as the sun rises to its zenith above earth. Brilliant blue sky, unmarked by clouds, stand in contrast to the colorful October foliage. Late afternoon herds of fluffy white clouds appear animated as their structures are constantly reshaped by the whim of the wind.  Each bold cloud, composed of delineated puffs of white, bordered by shades of gray, compel interpretation as they resemble earthbound faces, animals and objects. Again, a playground for the imagination to run wild, compliment of autumn weather. It is easy to understand how humans used the sky to interpret messages from the beyond, as true in paleolithic times as it is today. Playing with clouds is to share the exact same emotion and interpretive conclusions as long-gone ancestors. The clouds become a portal in that way, piercing the impenetrable wall of time to prompt creative interpretation, likely more aligned than different.

Fluffy white clouds invite the viewer to ride the sea of imagination.

It is the colorful autumn foliage which garnishes the late day clouds and dramatic morning river mists of October. At a distance, woodlands appear as a single undulating blanket, woven with colorful threads, showing irregular swatches of yellow, green and scarlet. Viewed as a time lapse, the colors expand southward, while the northern edge reverts to earth tones of grayish brown as if consumed while on the run, from the hungry wolves of winter. 

Brilliant, blaze orange oak leaves defy imagination in their intensity, and stand in bold contrast to the conservative green, brown and gray tones that dominate the landscape. Like a flash of fire, its sight demands our absolute attention as sure as the flash of a lightning bolt. In that long moment of awe, imagination, held in abeyance by reality, rushes in to disrupt the continuity of time.  

October is totally dedicated to autumn and all its glorious color, a time when golden mists and billowy white clouds mark the transition between summer and winter; a perfect agreement between two polar opposites.  

The trail of Octobers past, is a familiar well-worn path through time, lit with the brilliance of golden leaves, beckoning the traveler deeper into a world of timeless beauty.

The trail of Octobers past, is a familiar well worn path through time, lit with the brilliance of golden leaves, beckoning the traveler deeper into a world of timeless beauty.

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.

Raritan Pathogens Results for 9.15.2022

By LRWP Monitoring Outreach Coordinator Jocelyn Palomino

The Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership and Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County run a volunteer pathogens monitoring program from May to September every Summer. On Thursdays we collect water quality samples at 6 non-bathing public access beach sites along the Raritan River, provide our samples to the Interstate Environmental Commission for analysis in their laboratory, and report the results to the public on Friday afternoons. Our goal in reporting these results is to give area residents an understanding of potential health risks related to primary contact (touching) the water during water based recreation.

Lab results for water quality samples taken on September 15, 2022 show Enterococcus bacteria levels that exceed the EPA federal water quality standard of 104 cfu/100mL at a majority of our monitoring sites. Problem sites are indicated by red frowns on the map and chart and include Riverside Park (Piscataway), the Edison Boat Ramp (Edison), Ken Buchanan Waterfront Park (Sayreville), and 2nd St. Park (Perth Amboy). The green smiles represent sites with Enterococcus bacteria levels below the federal standard for recreation and include Rutgers Boathouse (New Brunswick) and South Amboy Waterfront Park (South Amboy).

Pathogens/Enterococci levels are used as indicators of the possible presence of disease-causing bacteria in recreational waters. Possible 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. Such pathogens may pose health risks to people fishing and swimming in a water body. If you choose to recreate on the Raritan, please do so safely and be sure to wash thoroughly after all activities!

Many thanks to the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County and Interstate Environmental Commission for their partnership, and to our team of volunteers who came out this week! See here for more information on our pathogens monitoring program.

Welcome to the LRWP’s new Raritan Scholar intern Jonathan Kim! Volunteer Frank Dahl showed Jonathan how to fill out the data forms. Photo Credit: Andrew Gehman

Andrew Gehman multi-tasked while in the water collecting samples – YSI in one hand, camera in the other taking photos of our beach-based monitoring team! Photo Credits: Andrew Gehman

Frank returned the favor and captured Andrew in action while he held the YSI in place so we could document real-time data of the water , Photo Credits: Frank Dahl

Boyd Park’s Sculptural #FRAME

In environmental monitoring, a picture is worth a thousand words. Crowd-sourcing hundreds or thousands of field photos for sustained environmental monitoring and reporting is even better!

By engaging community members in taking and sharing photographs of the landscape, the LRWP’s #FRAMES repeat digital photography project serves a need in bringing awareness to areas at risk for sea level rise, littering, and development pressures. We think our monitoring #FRAME – conceived as a sculpture – is a pretty great example of creative environmental communication! Check it out in New Brunswick’s Boyd Park, along the water near the amphitheater.

The #lookfortheriver #FRAME in New Brunswick’s Boyd Park

This project developed as a collaboration between the Lower Raritan Watershed Partership, coLAB Arts, the City of New Brunswick, and sculpture artist Toby Horton. Grant funding has been provided by the Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners through a grant award from the Middlesex County Cultural and arts trust fund. Made possible by funds from Middlesex County, a partner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

FramesThis project includes installation of streamside sculptures and signage that tell a story of hidden streams and landuse impacts in our local floodplains. Some sculptures are crafted of materials salvaged from homes destroyed by flooding and communicate historic flood height in the area. Designed as “frames,” they are positioned to frame views of areas at risk of inundation, erosion and other climate impacts. Interpretive information invites the viewer to take photos through the frame and to upload to social media. This actively engages the viewer/photographer as civic scientist and yields crowd-source longitudinal data that tells a story of seasonal and other changes (litter, invasive plants, high water levels) thus allowing for restoration planning.

Raritan Pathogen Results from 09.08.2022

By LRWP Monitoring Outreach Coordinator Jocelyn Palomino

The Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership and Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County run a volunteer pathogens monitoring program from May to September every Summer. On Thursdays we collect water quality samples at 6 non-bathing public access beaches along the Raritan River, provide our samples to the Interstate Environmental Commission lab for analysis, and report the results for the public on Friday afternoons. Water quality results for September 8, 2022 for two of our sites suggest exceedance of federal EPA threshold for Enterococci at two of our sites: Riverside Park (Piscataway) and Edison Boathouse (Edison). This is indicated by the red frowns on the map – primary contact with waters at these locations is not recommended. The “green smileys” represent the sites with pathogen levels that are below the standard for primary contact recreation: Rutgers Boathouse (New Brunswick), Ken Buchanan Waterfront Park (Edison), South Amboy Waterfront Park (South Amboy), and 2nd St. Park (Perth Amboy).

Suitable levels for primary contact should not exceed 104 cfu/100mL. Per the EPA, Pathogens/Enterococci levels are used as indicators of the possible presence of disease-causing bacteria in recreational waters. Possible sources of bacteria include Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs), improperly functioning wastewater treatment ps, stormwater runoff, leaking septic systems, animal carcasses, and runoff from manure storage areas. Such pathogens may pose health risks to people fishing and swimming in a water body. As always, if you choose to recreate on the Raritan this weekend, stay safe and please be sure to wash your hands!

Big thanks to our partners, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County and Interstate 

Environmental Commission, and to our great group of volunteers! See here for more information on our pathogens monitoring program.

A great picture of Cristian Sanlatte from Fahrenfeld Lab and Michele Bakacs from Rutgers Cooperative Extension monitoring the beautiful Riverside Park, Photo Credit: Andrew Gehman

Andrew Gehman and our crew posing at the Ken Buchanan Waterfront Park , Photo Credits: Michele Bakacs

While our crew finished the post-calibration of the monitoring equipment before handing off the samples. Raritan Riverkeeper Bill Schultz pulled up to chat with the team , Photo Credits: Andrew Gehman

Raritan Pathogens Results 8.25.2022

The Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership and Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County run a volunteer pathogens monitoring program from May to September every Summer. On Thursdays we collect water quality samples at 6 non-bathing public access beach sites along the Raritan River, provide our samples to the Interstate Environmental Commission lab for analysis, and report the results for the public on Friday afternoons.

Our pathogen results for August 25, 2022 show that our three most upstream exceed federal water quality standard for recreation, represented by the red frowns on the map and chart: Riverside Park (Piscataway), Rutgers Boathouse (New Brunswick) and the Edison Boat Launch (Edison) all sampled with high Enterococcus levels. The “green smileys” for the downstream sites indicate that Enterococcus bacteria levels are below the EPA federal standard for recreation.

As always, if you do choose to recreate on the water take proper precautions and be sure to wash hands and any body parts that came in contact with the water.

Suitable levels for primary contact should not exceed 104 cfu/100mL. Per the EPA’s federal water quality standard for CFU primary contact, Pathogens/Enterococci levels are used as indicators of the possible presence of disease-causing bacteria in recreational waters. 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. Such pathogens may pose health risks to people fishing and swimming in a water body.

Big thanks to the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County and the Interstate Environmental Commission for their partnership, and to our monitoring volunteers that came out this week! See here for more information on our pathogens monitoring program.

Thank you, Ella!!

Gabriella (Ella) Robinson, a freshman at Seton Hall and former resident of Piscataway, has earned her Gold Award after completing over 80 hours of community service in partnership with the Lower Raritan Partnership, the 4H Club, Jack and Jill of America, the Central NJ chapter, and the township of Piscataway and Middlesex County. The Girl Scout Gold Award is presented to fewer than 6 percent of Girl Scouts annually.

Ella’s Gold Award Project, called “Go Green Central New Jersey,” was designed around bringing awareness to the water pollution of the Raritan River. Go Green Central New Jersey’s goal is to protect the Raritan River Watershed and educate residents about the importance of environment at Raritan via cleanups and other community environmental stewardship opportunities. She also created a rain garden in Columbus Park in Piscataway.

Gabriella faced a great deal of adversity to accomplish Gold Award distinction. Working on the award since 2019, she worked throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Hurricane Ida nearly curtailed her plans and she had to move the location of the rain garden because the original location was flooded because of Ida.

“This award is important because it shows not only the importance of each of us helping the environment but why community partners are so important,” explained Gabriella. Gabriella will attend Seton Hall University in the School of Diplomacy and International Affairs where she hopes to make a difference on the global scale.

August 18, 2022 Raritan Pathogen Results

By LRWP Monitoring Outreach Coordinator Jocelyn Palomino

The Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership and Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County run a volunteer pathogens monitoring program from May to September every Summer. On Thursdays we collect water quality samples at 6 non-bathing public access beach sites along the Raritan River, provide our samples to the Interstate Environmental Commission lab for analysis, and report the results for the public on Friday afternoons.

Our pathogen results for August 18, 2022 suggests two of our upstream sites exceed federal water quality standard for recreation, represented by the red frowns on the map and chart: Riverside Park (Piscataway) and Rutgers Boathouse (New Brunswick). The “green smileys” for all other the sites mean Enterococcus bacteria levels are below the EPA federal standard for recreation at these locations: Edison Boathouse, Ken Buchanan Waterfront Park (Edison), South Amboy Waterfront Park (South Amboy), and 2nd Street Park (Perth Amboy).

Suitable levels for primary contact should not exceed 104 cfu/100mL. Per the EPA’s federal water quality standard for CFU primary contact, Pathogens/Enterococci levels are used as indicators of the possible presence of disease-causing bacteria in recreational waters. 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. Such pathogens may pose health risks to people fishing and swimming in a water body.

Big thanks to the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County and the Interstate Environmental Commission for their partnership, and to our monitoring volunteers that came out this week! See here for more information on our pathogens monitoring program.

The low tide at Rutgers Boathouse allowed us to observe a small herd of deer wandering along the river bank, Photo Credits: Genevieve Ehasz
This week’s monitoring crew working together at the Edison Boat Launch, Photo Credits: Andrew Gehman
The team gathered data while on a messy dock at our Ken Buchanan Site, Photo Credits: Andrew Gehman

Captured one of our amazing volunteers Andrew Gehman wading into our monitoring site in Perth Amboy (2nd St. Park), Photo Credits: Genevieve Ehasz

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