October update from the LRWP President

Dear Friends of the Lower Raritan Watershed –

Five years ago Superstorm Sandy came ashore, causing widespread destruction throughout our region. Now our thoughts go out to Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico as they recover from this season’s ruinous Hurricanes. How would our Lower Raritan Watershed fare if drenched with similar rainfall to that which Hurricane Harvey dumped on Houston? Every one of our watershed communities would be devastated. And if a Hurricane like Maria hit Raritan Bay the storm surge would level Sayreville, South River, South Amboy and much of Perth Amboy. Although rainfall amounts akin to Harvey are extremely unlikely in our region, global climate change is increasing the likelihood and frequency of powerful hurricanes and other storms. The northeast has already experienced a 71% increase between 1958 and 2012 in the amount of rain that falls in very intense storms.

At LRWP we think about and work on climate adaptation in relation to water quality improvements, community health and storm preparedness. Our approach is to identify, prioritize and implement nature-based solutions (called Green Infrastructure) that will make our Lower Raritan Watershed communities resilient to stronger rain storms and rising temperatures. Preparing and adapting proactively will save money while protecting our infrastructure, the environment, and human life – with the added benefits of improved air and water quality, reduced urban heat island impacts and enhanced urban neighborhoods. For this reason we are organizing the November 17 “Green Infrastructure for Resilience” workshop with NOAA. This workshop is designed to help our communities think through their resilience approaches. Registration is now open. We encourage municipalities (Environmental Commissions, Green Teams, Planners, Engineers, Council Members) to attend as teams to develop concept plans to take back to your towns. Continuing education credits are available through the American Planning Association (6 credits) and the Association of State Floodplain Managers (5 credits).

We are very excited to kick off our 3rd (!!) year as a non-profit with the NOAA resilience workshop. We are also rolling out lots of birthday surprises on our websitethroughout October (new resource pages for students, towns, teachers and homeowners) and plenty of other events to get you out in the field!

See you in the watershed,

Heather Fenyk, President
Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership