The LRWP is built on partnerships – with citizens, community groups, non-profits, schools, government entities, 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, and through collaboration we seek to build and expand capacity for all.
Community groups / schools
The LRWP emerged out of food security concerns – specifically the safety of fishing for consumption in the Raritan River – raised by members of the New Brunswick Community Food Alliance. Finding little data about water quality to share with the community, members of the NBCFA launched an on-going civic science water quality monitoring program. The LRWP developed out of this effort. In addition the water quality monitoring program, on-going partnerships with the LRWP include soils research, pollinator garden installation and habitat connectivity plan development.
coLAB Arts engages artists, social advocates, and communities to create transformative new work. The group facilitates creative conversation through innovative programs and artist infrastructure, connects artists with community partners and mentors, and executes productions that challenge perceptions and inspire action. The LRWP and coLAB Arts work together on Placemaking activities in the Watershed, most specifically the award-winning Watershed Sculpture Project and Rail-Arts-River. In Summer 2018 coLAB and LRWP co-hosted a week long “Summer Institute” for watershed residents ages 12-21 in which participants first learned about watershed issues, then were challenged to report on and creatively interpret their findings. In 2023 will again co-host two youth-focused Summer intensive learning opportunities: 1) a monthlong program organized for New Brunswick community youth; and 2) a two week state-wide program for 4th graders to learn about environmental planning, to be held in July in partnership with coLAB and Rutgers Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.
Lazos América Unida, Inc. represents and advocates on behalf of the Mexican American community as well as strengthening the relationship between the Hispanic and broader community. The LRWP and Lazos work together on grassroots horticulture and floriculture projects that seek to enhance and foster individual and collective prosperity. From 2016-2020 Lazos and the LRWP co-hosted an annual “watershed 101” summer camp for youth ages 6-18. Participants conducted water quality monitoring of local streams, learned the difference between obligate and facultative wetlands plants, mapped storm drains and areas of flooding in their neighborhoods, and participated in natural history study.
The LRWP works with New Brunswick’s Esperanza Neighborhood group on stream clean-ups, community cleanliness improvement strategies, and other advocacy campaigns to keep stormwater drains free and clear of trash to protect our waterways.
The LRWP is working with the Greenfaith Raritan Valley Environmental Action Circle to support development a new GreenFaith focus on the Raritan River.
Watershed and other local environmental groups
Municipalities, Commissions, Green Teams
Borough of Milltown
Township of Highland Park
New Brunswick Environmental Commission
Highland Park Environmental Commission
Bridgewater Environmental Commission
Milltown Environmental Commission
Edison Township Environmental Commission
South River Green Team
Sayreville Environmental Commission
The Middlesex County Chosen Board of Freeholders passed a resolution to support the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership with technical assistance from the Middlesex County Water Resources Association and the Division of Comprehensive Planning and the Environment.
The Division facilitates green infrastructure projects, watershed restoration planning initiatives, public access opportunities along the Raritan River and its tributaries as part of its comprehensive planning role in Middlesex County. The LRWP and the Division work together on a variety of projects, including “Natural Assets Mapping” for the watershed, and the NJDEP-funded Raritan River & Bay Regional Resiliency Project.
Rutgers RCE provides technical assistance to the LRWP through grant writing and research, and partners on projects including watershed stewardship development and the K-12 schools-based Project WADES. The Rutgers RCE Environmental Stewards Program, designed for individuals who want to learn about the environment and watershed health. This program includes 60 hours of lectures, field study and analysis and culminates in a 60 hour volunteer internship. The LRWP hosts RU Stewards as they deploy their internship projects to the benefit of our watershed.
The Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders passed Resolution R15-782: “Resolution Regarding Authorization of Somerset County as a Partner of the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership.”
In Somerset County, Colonial and Revolutionary War sites, monuments and buildings are found in virtually every town. Somerset County Parks celebrates these cultural assets and links them to open space preservation and recreation uses.
The Fall 2014 Rutgers Landscape Architecture GeoDesign and Analysis Graduate Studio launched an on-going partnership with the LRWP, and every semester we work with LA classes to explore the future of the Lower Raritan Watershed.
Working with NJAES the LRWP engages communities on Green Infrastructure plan development and deployment. Current projects include placemaking activities e.g. Rail-Arts-River, #lookfortheriver and “The Run Off,” as well as watershed restoration including the Lyell’s Brook Restoration Plan.
The Rutgers Water Resources Program (WRP) provides support for the LRWP through research assistance and development of Impervious Cover Reduction Action Plans for all Lower Raritan Watershed communities.
The WRA is a quasi-governmental group that makes critical decisions on water resource matters in the Lower Raritan Watershed. The County’s future sewer service area map is maintained by the WRA, and the Manalapan Brook Watershed Implementation Plan secures the input of the WRA in all implementation projects. The LRWP and WRA co-host various workshops, meetings and events throughout the year.
RVCC engages campus and community members in environmental research, education, and stewardship activities that inspire effective and sustainable environmental practices in our home counties, across New Jersey, and beyond.
The LRWP and MCC’s Civic Engagement & Experiential Learning program have partnered on initiatives including research, art gallery displays to communicate environmental issues through art, and stream and river clean-ups.
The Sustainable Raritan River Initiative is a joint program of Rutgers’ School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. The Initiative works with a network of over 130 organizations, governmental entities and businesses in the Raritan region on a Action Plan to balance social, economic and environmental objectives towards the common goal of restoring the Raritan River, its tributaries and its bay for current and future generations. The Initiative conducts an annual conference and topical workshops, provides technical assistance, and develops anchor projects that raise the profile of the Raritan River. The Initiative also publishes a monthly e-newsletter and maintains a calendar of Raritan region happenings.
State, National & International Water Network Partners
The Lower Raritan River has shown some of the highest geometric mean pathogen levels in the New York-New Jersey Harbor in recent years. Since 2019, LRWP hsa partnered with IEC and EPA in pathogens monitoring at six non-bathing public access beach sites along the Lower Raritan. IEC donates supplies and lab analysis to assess conventional pathogen indicators including Enterococcus and Fecal Coliform.
With thanks to assistance from the Fahrenfeld Research Group, in 2020 the LRWP launched pathogen / microbial source trackdown survey to identify sources of pathogens at our non-bathing public access beach monitoring sites.
Jersey Water Works is working to transform New Jersey’s inadequate water infrastructure through sustainable, cost-effective solutions that provide communities with clean water and waterways; healthier, safer neighborhoods; local jobs; flood and climate resilience; and economic growth. LRWP is a member of the JWW Infrastructure Solutions committee.
No Water No Life combines the power of photography, science and grassroots activity to raise awareness of the values and vulnerability of our freshwater resources and sustainable solutions to past and current degradation of our watersheds. This long-term project has conducted over 30 expeditions to its 6 case-study watersheds in North America (the Raritan, Mississippi and Columbia River Basins) and Africa (the Nile, Omo and Mara River Basins), which are documented on its website.