The LRWP welcomes Anjali Madgula!

Hello! My name is Anjali and I am a recent graduate of Rutgers University with a major in English Literature and minors in Creative Writing and Environmental Policy. I am excited to be working with the LRWP on community outreach for the #lookfortheriver project and the pilot MS4 municipal stormwater management assistance program as it rolls out in Highland Park. The MS4 stormwater assistance program is designed to help townships in meeting their federally mandated stormwater management outreach requirements. The program seeks to communicate with residents by solidifying a network for direct and accessible stormwater management education that highlights the serious impacts of stormwater runoff on our communities. More on this soon!

My background includes hub coordinator for Sunrise Movement Rutgers, through which I’ve led training, created social media campaigns, and planned direct actions with local coalitions for environmental justice. I’ve also worked on outreach for climate strikes, divestment campaigns, and faculty union advocacy during my time as a Rutgers student and a member of the Rutgers Climate Task Force Student Advisory Panel. 

Through my academic work with environmental humanities, I am passionate about reading and writing narratives that don’t treat the environment as a separate story but as one that is completely entangled in our own culture, desires, and everyday lives. I was the recipient of the James Suydam Prize in English and the Evelyn Hamilton Award in Non-Fiction for the Spring 2021 Rutgers English Department Awards. I’ve also written about avenues for movement building as a staff writer for both UnpublishedZine and The Rutgers Green Print. To check out my publications, click here! https://linktr.ee/anjalim 

In my free time, I enjoy dancing, watching animated television shows, and making cottage cheese chocolate chip pancakes with my friends. I love meeting new people so feel free to reach out to me at anjalimadgula@gmail.com

City of Water Day – Celebrate in Perth Amboy!

Saturday July 10, the LRWP will join our Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program friends who are hosting a “Kayaking on the Raritan” City of Water Day event in Perth Amboy.

Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program has planned a variety of activities targeted towards Perth Amboy residents from ages 16 and up! Participants will be educated on the basic structure of a combined sewer system and a brief description of Perth Amboy’s system will be presented as well. Kayaking and water sampling (fecal coliforms) will also be available with an explanation to be given to attendees of why the water may be cleaner or dirtier on that given day due to the outfall at the end of Second Street.

Kayaks will be available to use for a designated amount of time and water sampling participants will use two kits to collect 20 samples from either the shoreline or while they are kayaking. The participants who collect the samples will be emailed a description of the results when they are determined. Brochures describing CSOs and green infrastructure and an email sign-up will be provided for people to join Perth Amboy SWIM or the Perth Amboy Green Team to stay engaged on this matter. This event is in participation with City of Perth Amboy, Perth Amboy Green Team, and Perth Amboy SWIM.

Location40.50035, -74.27699

Learn Morehttp://water.rutgers.edu

Happy 4th of July! Monitoring Results for 7.1.2021

Another pretty good week of results from our pathogen monitoring. While our downstream sites are within limits, the Piscataway site continues to give us trouble with very high enterococcus and fecal coliform TNTC or “Too Numerous To Count.” Yikes! We received .7 inch of precipitation since sampling, which likely means the pathogens count will be higher at all sites.

Many thanks to our Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County, and Interstate Environmental Commission partners, and special thanks to our wonderful volunteers!! See here for more information on our pathogens monitoring program. Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend Everyone!

June Update from the Boat Shop

Saturday June 19 was the last day of the women’s “build your own paddle” workshop. Big thanks to Amber Hennes and Sarah Tomasello for jumping in to lead this absolutely amazing program, and to the great group of ladies who joined us for the pilot program. We all learned a lot, and just look at these beautiful paddles!!

The clock is ticking on our Fresh Grocer space downtown New Brunswick – a big shout out to the New Brunswick Parking Authority for allowing us to take over this facility for a wonderful six months of paddle building, boat building and community building. Keep your fingers crossed for Captain Derek Hartwick and our LRWP team – we’re hoping to soon find a new permanent location for boat building, rowing program development, and more.

Raritan River Pathogens Monitoring Results for 6.17.2021

Our lab is looking into possible holding time issues with a few of our samples for 6.17.2021, which would mean that our Edison and Sayreville results might have to be thrown out. HOWEVER, it is looking like green smiles across the board for the first time since we started our Raritan River pathogens monitoring program! (See here for more information on our pathogens monitoring program). As always, huge thanks to our Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County and Interstate Environmental Commission partners, and to our amazing volunteers! Happy Father’s Day Weekend!!

Summer Rain

Article and photos by Joe Mish

The gentle summer rain falling on the reflective water, lined with muted shades of gray and green foliage, combine to create a scene so peaceful, you must remember to take a next breath.

The gentle summer rain falling on the reflective water, lined with muted shades of gray and green foliage, combine to create a scene so peaceful, you must remember to take a next breath.

The mid-summer sunlight dimmed, as amorphous white clouds, heavy with moisture, washed over the blue sky. Deep shadows settled in among the layers of leaves that blended the crowns of oaks and maples into a coarse, solid green curtain. The leaves of the Norway maples on the outer edge of the woodlot appeared pale matte green in the dim light and hung motionless at a sixty-five-degree angle as the atmosphere held its breath in anticipation of the impending rain.

As the rain began, the earliest errant drops chose random dance partners among the leafy branches. Though not a breeze was evident, individual leaves began to dance while others remained perfectly still. Partners were exchanged and switched until the full burst of rain fell from the clouds to engage all the leaves to move to the rhythm of the falling rain. 

A gentle summer rain is a perfect complement to a warm summer day. Clear blue skies and unfiltered sunshine heat the earth and plants to further warm the air from below. Pollen and dust, at the mercy of the breeze, settle everywhere. 

The heat rising from the earth mixes with the already warmed atmosphere to create a layer of suffocating air. The promise of relief comes, when in late afternoon, billowy white clouds appear on the horizon in dramatic contrast against the unobstructed azure blue sky. The transient clouds, directed by upper atmosphere winds, obscure the sun as they drift across the sky, trailing rain in their wake.  Immediately the stifling temperature falls as cool raindrops hit the dry earth. Each drop a micro explosion, as dust and pollen are washed away and reconstituted into the soil. In the aftermath, on the field where the clash of violent heat transfer and exploding dust particles flew, a veil of white mist hangs low over the battleground as the sunshine returns.  

While the rainfall was sudden, it was expected. In fact, the coming rain was preceded by a distinct odor.

Researchers claim the familiar scent that sometimes fills the air prior to a coming rain is ozone being pulled to earth from high in the atmosphere and most often occurs after a dry spell. 

In the temporary shelter under a full leafed tree, another odor, distinct from the ozone, fills your nostrils. It is best described as organic and to me, smells like what I think rich moist soil smells like. Even without rain, upon entering mature woods there is that same odor, enhanced by the heavy foliage which contains the moisture in the air as it mixes with the natural composting of decaying plant matter. The odor, initially after a rain begins to fall, is from the composting bacteria in the soil mixed with ozone, the combination named petrichor. 

Sun showers are a summer event where magic seems to partner with nature to produce a contradictory reality. The sun shines while the rain falls, no clouds obscure the sun. A meteorological phenomenon that is best left unexplained to be thoroughly enjoyed. Consider it a momentary truce among the elements who constantly clash for dominance in the atmospheric heavens.       

Whether a sun shower, cloud burst or late afternoon thunderstorm, refreshing, best describes a summer rain, it is an invitation to step out and feel the cool gentle rain on your face, and try to catch a few drops on your tongue. It is life, composed mostly of water, who recognizes itself in the heaven sent drops of rain, especially during a warm and gentle summer rain. 

Author Joe Mish has been running wild in New Jersey since childhood when he found ways to escape his mother’s watchful eyes. He continues to trek the swamps, rivers and thickets seeking to share, with the residents and visitors, all of the state’s natural beauty hidden within full view. To read more of his writing and view more of his gorgeous photographs visit Winter Bear Rising, his wordpress blog. Joe’s series “Nature on the Raritan, Hidden in Plain View” runs monthly as part of the LRWP “Voices of the Watershed” series. Writing and photos used with permission from the author. Contact jjmish57@msn.com. See more articles and photos at winterbearrising.wordpress.com.

Petition to Support Development of a Community Boat House on the Raritan River in Middlesex County

The Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership (LRWP) and Friends are petitioning the Commissioners of Middlesex County, New Jersey for development of a community boathouse and launch facility on the Raritan River Waterfront. We have three main objectives:

  1. Protect and store the boats and equipment for Youth and Community Rowing Clubs and for personal human powered watercraft and gear;
  2. Increase access to the Raritan Riverfront for human powered watercraft, including a universal access launch; and
  3. Preserve and increase public access to the Raritan River.

If you share our dream of a more accessible Raritan River, please provide your signature on this petition.

Why should Middlesex County Commissioners support a community boathouse and launch facility on the Raritan River?

Middlesex County is the largest landholder of Raritan River-adjacent land. Public access to the Raritan, and public facilities and opportunities for on-River recreation, are in short supply in Middlesex County.

Who would use a community boathouse and launch facility on the Raritan River?

The building and associated boat storage and launch will provide secure indoor and outdoor facilities for equipment belonging to community, youth, High School, and other rowing clubs.

Facilities will include secure boat and gear storage for personal watercraft, accessible in a “self-store / self-serve” structure.

The public will be able to rent space within the boathouse for workshops, meetings, and events; use observation decks for data gathering, birdwatching and exploration; and utilize publicly accessible docks for launch of kayaks, canoes and other human powered watercraft.

What are the public benefits of this community boathouse project?

This project increases access to the Raritan River for the general public by providing facilities for the secure storage of human powered watercraft to facility and enjoyment of our waterways.

This project strengthens partnerships of human powered watercraft users to work together to provide opportunities for public outdoor recreation on the Raritan River by creating a center for community.

How does this project fit into the County’s strategic plans?

The Community Boathouse Project fits within many planning documents, priorities, and goals that the County has developed through due diligence processes. These include Destination2040 Plan development, County Open Space planning, Middlesex County Parks & Recreation programming, and other County-led initiatives.

Pathogens Monitoring Results 6.3.2021

What a soggy week in the Lower Raritan, with 1.56 inches accumulated in our rain gauge in the 24 hours since our water quality monitoring activities yesterday morning June 3. The USGS flood gage shows discharge significantly above the 24 year median daily statistic.

With such significant precipitation please know that our pathogens sampling numbers for six non-bathing public access beach sites captured during June 3, 2021 monitoring are not reflective of the current situation. (See here for more on our pathogens monitoring program):

Enterococci results are reported in Colony Forming Units or CFUs. Suitable levels for primary contact should not exceed 110 cfu/100mL. Pathogens/Enterococci levels are used as indicators of the possible presence of disease-causing bacteria in recreational waters. Such pathogens may pose health risks to people fishing and swimming in a water body. Sources of bacteria include Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs), improperly functioning wastewater treatment plants, stormwater runoff, leaking septic systems, animal carcasses, and runoff from manure storage areas.

Huge thanks to our partners: Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County and the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission.

Field Notes:

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