The LRWP formed in 2015 to address legacy and ongoing contamination of the Raritan River and the Lower Raritan Watershed. Our work emerged in partnership with the New Brunswick Community Food Alliance and New Brunswick’s Mexican immigrant community around food security concerns related to fishing the Raritan for consumption. We sought data on the health and safety of the water and fish in New Jersey’s Raritan River, found that little data had been collected, and so organized to document historic and ongoing environmental risks through grassroots research and science. With the information we gather we prioritize stewardship and advocacy to clean-up the polluted waters and lands of the Raritan River and her Watershed, enhance habitat and biodiversity in our region, and improve the overall health of the Lower Raritan Watershed ecosystem. Our civic science volunteers are rigorously trained, our data gathering practices are quality controlled, and our data is reviewed and accepted by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Our Environmental Justice (EJ)/Social Equity Focus
- Maintaining pressure on NJDEP to act on their (2009) legislated mandate to rank every contaminated site in order of risk and urgency with respect to environmental health, particularly environmental health of communities of color and the most vulnerable. The “Remedial Priority System” was to serve as a corrective to market-driven remediation that prioritizes clean-up of the most economically desirable contaminated sites. 12 years later however the agency still has not published this list
- Conducting water quality monitoring and reporting at non-bathing public beach access sites along the Raritan River that are not monitored by NJDEP or local or County Departments of Health. Non-bathing public beach access sites are disproportionately accessed by people of color.
- Researching the extent to which our local communities of color are more likely than white communities to be at risk of hazards related to climate change. This includes examining the potential for these communities to be subjected to new discriminatory lending practices called “bluelining” (report to be published June 2021).
- Working to make resources available for our Lower Raritan Watershed community to analyze and understand environmental justice issues in their own neighborhoods, including hosting workshops to promote and train local communities in using Environmental Justice, climate change, and health-related analytical tools.
- Educating ourselves and the larger watershed community about historic and system racism, and supporting those who are imagining a new path forward for our state and nation through structural change.
Our work is driven by a belief that for a healthy and thriving Lower Raritan Watershed, science, community engagement and environmental stewardship must be integral to our collective culture and identity.
Meet Jorge – the LRWP mascot!
Jorge’s design was inspired by turtle gourds made by the Oaxacan (Mexico) community, a community with a significant presence in the Lower Raritan Watershed. The turtle also references the Lenape legend of the “Great Turtle.” The legend tells of creation of the Lenape homeland by placing earth on the back of a giant turtle. Turtles are known as an indicator species and are a key part of a balanced ecosystem. Jorge is our mascot for use in school and youth outreach.
The LRWP is a source of information about the health of the Raritan River and her watershed, a source of inspiration for individuals and groups looking to connect with nature through science, recreation and discovery, and a source of community innovation around environmental stewardship and restoration.
The mission of the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership (LRWP) is to conserve, enhance and restore the natural resources of the New Jersey Watershed Management Area 9, the Lower Raritan Watershed. Read more…
We are built on partnership – with citizens, non-profits, government representatives, University researchers, business representatives and others – through which we work to restore the health of the Lower Raritan Watershed in Central New Jersey. We are driven in our work by opportunities for collaboration. Read more…
LRWP 2018 IRS 990-N