July 2021 Message from the LRWP Board President

Dear Friends of the Lower Raritan Watershed –

As I type this the Oregon Bootleg Fire, fueled by historic drought, burns an expanse of dry forest lands approximate in size to our Lower Raritan Watershed. In Europe, relief agencies in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, and the Netherlands work to clean-up after intense rainfall caused deadly flooding. In one case extreme drought, the other extreme precipitation. In both, a story of climate change told through an intensified hydrological cycle, the result of warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

While we all know that to address climate change we must reduce our carbon footprint, consume less and recycle more, improve energy efficiency, and green our commute, few of us think about how understanding and caring for our local hydrology also makes a difference. At its core, watershed stewardship involves managing the relationship between the hydrological cycle and the lands we live on. Good watershed management not only means cleaner waters and a healthier environment, but for fire and flood control it can be a life-saving strategy. This is especially critical for areas like our Lower Raritan, which tops a list of US regions with Superfund sites at risk for climate related flooding, sea level inundation, and fire.

The LRWP is committed to helping us all better understand local hydrology and watershed functions on the path to improved environmental stewardship. In that vein, we welcome you to join us for two upcoming outings. On Saturday July 24, 10-noon please join us for a “Watershed Highlights and Hidden Streams” walking tour at Watchung Reservation, led by Rutgers Professor David Tulloch. And on Saturday August 14, 8:30-11:30am join us for a special tour of the Headgates, Robert Street and Nevius Street dams led by hydrogeologist John Jengo, PG, LRSP. This tour will include discussion of past and future dam removals, and will be a chance to see the scale of the dams so that downstream removals can be understood in context. Space is limited and pre-registration required for both events.

See you in the watershed!

Heather Fenyk, President
Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership