By Anjali Madgula and Heather Fenyk
We are pleased to announce that the LRWP’s MS4 Municipal Stormwater Management Assistance Program has launched via our first municipal partnership with Highland Park!
This new fee-based program is designed to help municipalities in the Lower Raritan Watershed meet their federally mandated stormwater management education & outreach requirements under the Clean Water Act.
Hurricane Ida told us that we must interrogate our current stormwater management systems, study the effects of stormwater runoff in our local townships, and implement through advocacy, policy, and community discussions, a more sustainable way to prevent stormwater from contributing to flooding or degrading the water quality in our streams and rivers. The trick? We must allow more rain to soak directly into the ground where it falls. There are so many ways to do this: by developing ecologically sensitive master plans for our municipalities, by ensuring maximum protections for our waterways and floodplains, by reducing impervious cover (hard surfaces) in all parts of our communities, by restoring degraded lands to allow for improved porosity, and by making dozens of “environmentally smart” personal choices every day. The LRWP is here to help! Please contact us to learn more!
DID YOU KNOW?
Municipalities can tap up to 25% of their New Jersey Clean Communities allocated funds to support required stormwater education.
THE LRWP’s MS4 MUNICIPAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM:
Through the LRWP’s Municipal Stormwater Management Assistance Program, we engage multiple forms of community outreach to increase everyday visibility of how our waterways and streetways are connected.
Here are a few examples of the direct assistance the LRWP can provide:
General Public Outreach (development of stormwater webpages, newsletters, materials sharing in kiosks and municipal spaces)
Target Audience Outreach (demonstrations at municipal festivals and events, educational program development for DPW and other municipal staff, #lookfortheriver community training)
School/Youth Education & Activities (direct engagement with youth via STEAM-based environmental education and programming using the LRWP’s Next Generation Science Standards Project WADES curriculum)
Watershed Regional Cooperation (stormwater management workshops for continuing education credits, programming on stormwater utilities, programming on integrated urban watershed management)
Community Involvement Activities (community clean-ups, stormwater management plan development, rain garden builds, impervious cover removal, and more!)
An MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) is called a separate system because it does not combine with the sanitary sewer system and it is designed to gather water on the streets via storm drains and pipes and release it, without treatment, into local streams and rivers. Poor stormwater management in our communities not only leads to compromised water quality, but also flooding.
HERE’s HOW WE DO IT!
Partnership initiatives with Highland Park for Year One include developing a new stormwater webpage, stormwater newsletter, hosting community clean-ups, conducting water quality monitoring of a local stream, and hosting a “Municipal Actions to Address Stormwater and Flooding” workshop to look at stormwater management from a regional, or watershed, perspective.
Highland Park Stormwater Website
Highland Park’s new website provides educational resources, graphics, mapping, and analysis for residents to learn about Highland Park’s waterflow and stormwater management system. What’s on our streets enters our local streams that enter the Raritan River eventually connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. Did you know that almost half of the ground in the Boro of Highland Park is covered by buildings and pavements?
Highland Park Stormwater Newsletter
Stormwater management materials will also reach the mailboxes of Highland Park residents via a new stormwater newsletter! Residents can read the story of how the ecosystem and water cycle of the Borough has changed since we’ve built more pavements and constructions. Check out our “Stormwater Word of the Month” section!
Special thanks to LRWP StreamKeeper Susan Edmunds for her amazing photography and writing. We encourage you to check out more of her poetic and creative science communication work via her storymap piece Mill Brook: Portrait of an Urban Stream.
Workshop on Municipal Actions to Address Stormwater and Flooding October 7th 3 PM
The LRWP is hosting a free workshop to discuss how we can create policies and municipal actions to minimize flooding and improve water quality. This workshop will be informative, engaging, and a great way for community members, educators, local officials, employees, or anyone else to get involved in community stormwater management discussions. Our Keynote Speaker is Rosana DaSilva, Water Quality manager with the New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program. See you there!
Highland Park Stream Clean Up September 26th
It was a beautiful Sunday morning where LRWP volunteers, Highland Park residents, and Rutgers students gathered on River Road with gloves and garbage bags, ready for a couple hours of hard work. Hurricane Ida had washed trash back onto the floodplains and local trails. Slowly our bags got heavier and heavier until we made our final trip down through Johnson Park to the dumpsters. LRWP intern Jason Acevedo described the experience of looking for trash as investigating a mystery, searching for clues to tell a story, “looking at a crime scene”. We found glass pieces, water bottles, wrappers, plastic bags, and even a pair of pants and a tire. As we encountered them, we wondered about all the possible ways they had gotten there, concluding that there are so many. They could have been left there by people passing by or could have been swept in by the river having entered it from literally anywhere. We are excited to co-host our next clean up which is a multi-site clean up of the Green Brook on October 23rd from 10 AM to 1 pm!