Tag: Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership

Pathogens Monitoring Results for 8.20.2020

Photos and article by LRWP Board President Heather Fenyk

The LRWP and EARTH Center of Middlesex County monitors for Fecal Coliform and Enterococcus at six non-swimming public beach access sites along the Lower Raritan during the warmer summer months. Fecal Coliform and Enterococcus are indicators of disease-causing bacteria in our waterways.

The EPA recommends that a single Enterococcus sample be less than 110 Colony Forming Units (CFU)/100mL for primary contact. 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. Enterococci levels are often high after heavy or consistent rainfall.

Briefly, our Sayreville, South Amboy and Perth Amboy sites are looking good this week! Please note that these results for August 20, 2020 are preliminary and awaiting Quality Control.

Field Notes

Yesterday was an exquisite day for sampling the Raritan!

Clear and gorgeous waters, and the re-purposing of a broom handle into our snazzy new sampling stick.
Thanks to Maya and NJ Watershed Ambassador Heather Miara for lending a hand in the field.
Thanks also to IEC’s wonderful Jessica Bonamusa for meeting us in the Elizabeth IKEA parking lot for the sample handoff.
This week we kick off our genetic source trackdown analysis – the larger sample bottle in the mix of pathogens sample bottles will go to a Rutgers lab for filtering and analysis. We’re looking forward to more definitively pinning our pathogens problems on human, beast or fowl.

Summer 2020 Lower Raritan Monitoring Sites

The New Jersey state Department of Environmental Protection and Middlesex County Health Departments typically monitor at sanctioned public swimming beach sites. They do not monitor the water quality for pathogens at public access non-swimming beach sites along the Raritan, despite regular use of these areas for primary contact (fishing and swimming) by members of our urban communities.

The LRWP works with in partnership with the Interstate Environmental Commission for lab analysis of our samples. We have a Quality Assurance Protocol Plan (QAPP) approved by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. We work to report our results as soon as lab analysis is completed.

2019 Water Quality Findings & Next Steps

Join the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership at the May meeting of the Middlesex County Water Resources Association for a presentation on 2019 Water Quality Monitoring Findings and Next Steps for 2020!

Monday May 11, 1:30-3:30 pm. We will meet in the Middlesex County Administration Building, Freeholder Meeting Room

75 Bayard Street / New Brunswick, NJ  08901

More details to follow.

Virtual Workshop: Connecting Habitats Across New Jersey

How should we assess areas for habitat connectivity in our urban watersheds? How can we build support for biodiversity planning in our urban core?

In this half day workshop we will learn how to use tools developed by NJDEP to help assess habitat connectivity needs, and hear from NY/NJ Harbor Estuary about findings from recent citizen science connectivity assessments.

To kick things off, we will hear from Isabelle Stinnette with NY/NJ Harbor Estuary Program who will discuss findings from their Aquatic Connectivity Through Climate-Ready Infrastructure Project. This project uses the North Atlantic Connectivity Collaborative protocols (www.naacc.org) in concert with a hydraulic model to make recommendations for connectivity restoration in New Jersey watersheds.

Following Ms. Stinnette’s presentation we will hear from NJDEP zoologist Brian Zarate and his team who will introduce the statewide habitat connectivity plan called Connecting Habitat Across New Jersey (CHANJ), launched last year by the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife. NJDEP will provide an overview of the major tools that CHANJ offers to guide a multi-scale, all-hands-on-deck approach to improve landscape and roadway permeability for wildlife, demonstrate the new interactive, web-based CHANJ Mapping tool, and show how it can be used to help guide land protection and management and to mitigate barriers to wildlife movement – goals that are particularly urgent in the face of climate change and urbanization.

This online workshop will run from 9:30 am – 12:30 pm on Monday May 4.

Presenters:

Isabelle Stinnette

Isabelle Stinnette is the Restoration Manager at the New York – New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program (HEP), where she runs the inter-agency restoration work group, tracks restoration progress in NJ and NY, and works with partner agencies to further habitat restoration efforts.  Prior to joining HEP, she worked for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as a Restoration Biologist as well as Research Technician expediting storm recovery and resiliency projects.  Isabelle has a M.S. degree from the School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at Stonybrook University and a B.A. from St. Lawrence University.

 

 

 

 

Brian Zarate

Brian Zarate is a Senior Zoologist with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP).  He coordinates the state’s reptile and amphibian conservation work and leads a statewide wildlife initiative called Connecting Habitat Across New Jersey (CHANJ).  After receiving his BS in Natural Resource Management from Rutgers University in 2001, Brian worked for the U.S. Forest Service in Alaska and then returned to New Jersey to begin employment for the Division. Until 2007 Brian worked under contract for the state through the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey not-for-profit agency and then was hired by ENSP later that year.  Brian serves on committees and boards for the Wildlife Habitat Council, American Turtle Observatory, NRCS, and the Highlands Council.  He’s currently a national co-chair for Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) and a long-standing member of the Northeast PARC steering committee.

 

 

Resources:

The LRWP explains why we need improved habitat connectivity, especially in our urban areas

Nature of Cities talks about planning for biodiversity conservation, see also their “Building for Birds” on-line tool

PBS’s Eco Sense for Living recently produced a “Wild Crossings” special feature highlighting habitat connectivity in New Jersey

REGISTRATION REQUIRED. Registration closes 6 PM Sunday May 3. Registrants will receive a link to the training on Sunday evening in advance of the Monday session.

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Photo: Roger Dreyling, “BioBlitz Foxes” @ Elmwood Cemetery, New Brunswick 6.18.2019

Happy Earth Week from the LRWP!

Watch our Earth Day Message on YouTube!

Happy Earth Week!

My name is Heather Fenyk, and I am President of the Board of the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership.

During this time of quarantine, we, the Board, our interns and volunteers, miss being together and drawing inspiration from time together outside.

We are trying to find creative ways to connect with each other, and with you.

We know that time outside in nature, connecting with nature, allows us to become bigger than the problems we face.

We also know that service and stewardship gives us a similar broader view.

While we wait in our homes – that may also now serve as office, school, kitchen, classroom or gym – we invite you to prepare for stewardship!

We are now hosting virtual trainings in water quality monitoring or habitat connectivity planning – our first virtual training is pathogens monitoring webinar on Monday April 20. You can also sign up for our Habitat Connectivity planning workshop on May 4. Information on other upcoming events is on our events page.

We will also soon send invitations for a virtual flyover “tour” of our Lower Raritan Watershed. This special event will include Q & A with photographer Alison M. Jones, who will share images of the Raritan Basin taken during a recent flight sponsored by LightHawk.

The Covid-19 crisis has a huge impact on humanity, on our institutions, on ourselves.

During this time, it is hard to stay engaged in the environmental issues we care so deeply about.

We thank you for staying engaged!

We hope to soon see you in the watershed!

Earth Day Clean-up of Seeleys Run, Franklin Township

~VOLUNTEERS NEEDED~

Since its inception in 1970, Earth Day has brought millions of people together to celebrate our world’s environment. The day has also focused our attention on environmental problems such as pollution, flooding and littering.

Join the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership, Franklin Township Environmental Commission, the Watershed Institute, and others for an Earth Day clean-up of Seeleys Run!

WHAT: a clean-up of Seeleys Run on Saturday April 18

WHEN: 9:30 am – noon

WHERE: Back corner of the Somerset Village parking lot, 900 Easton Avenue, Franklin Township (enter by the IHOP)

SPECIAL NOTE: Please wear closed toe shoes and clothes you are willing to get dirty and wet. Bring a reusable water bottle. Gloves, bags and light refreshments will be provided!

REGISTRATION REQUIRED.

***For more information contact Stan Jaracz, Franklin Environmental Commission member at jaraczs@yahoo.com***

You may wonder why it is so important to keep our waterways clean. Streams, rivers and other waterbodies make up the watershed where we all live. Watersheds are areas of land where runoff from rain and snow drains into a lake, stream, river or wetland. These watersheds are full of life. They provide habitat for fish, birds and wildlife. They are also a source of drinking water for homes and businesses. The Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership and The Watershed Institute share a joint mission to keep water clean, safe and healthy through conservation, advocacy, science and education.

Visit Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership and The Watershed Institute to learn what we are doing to protect your water.

POSTPONED – Watchung Mountain Hidden Streams Hike

POSTPONED!!

Registration is now open for the LRWP’s first “Watershed Highlights and Hidden Streams” walking tour of 2020!

Join us Sunday March 29, 2-4 pm as we trace paths through the Watchung Reservation.

Our hike will be led by LRWP Board Member and Rutgers Professor David Tulloch.

We will kick off from the northwest end of The Loop in the Watchung Reservation with a walk down to Blue Brook and Lake Surprise as we talk about the long journey to the Raritan.

Estimated 4 miles of walking.

Registration required. Please check our website for updates, especially in the case of inclement weather.

Sky Top Dr, Scotch Plains, NJ 07076

Watershed Sculpture Project: Helping Hands!

The Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership invites you and your favorite young person to learn about watershed health, the role of arts in environmental outreach, and to join us in stewardship by creating “watershed sculptures” for inclusion in our 2020 Sculpture Project gallery installation.

This FREE event will be held on Saturday March 7 from 2-4 pm at the Milltown Senior Center: 60 Violet Terrace, Milltown, NJ 08850

So that we can be sure we have adequate supplies, preregistration is requested.


 

Grant funding has been provided by the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders through a grant award from the Middlesex County Cultural and Arts Trust Fund.


Program funded by Middlesex County, a partner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

 

New Brunswick Conservation Zone clean-up

The LRWP and Middlesex County Division of Parks are co-hosting our first clean-up of 2020 of a very special area in New Brunswick – the New Brunswick Conservation Zone!

This clean-up will take place at 9:30 AM on Saturday February 22

We will meet in the far corner of the New Brunswick AMC Movie Theater parking lot – this is the section closest to the Route 1 Bridges: 17 US Highway 1 / New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Gloves and bags will be supplied. Please wear rubber boots and clothing you don’t mind getting dirty.

Dec 8 – Green Brook clean-up!

Join the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership and Central Jersey Stream Team for a clean-up of the Green Brook!

WHAT: a clean-up of the Green Brook on Sunday December 8 from 10AM to 1PM

WHERE: Green Brook Regional Center, 275 Greenbrook Rd, Green Brook Township, NJ 08812

This Event is Co-coordinated by the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership and Central Jersey Stream Team. With special thanks to the Green Brook Department of Public Works for cartage and supplies.

Please wear closed toe shoes and clothes you are willing to get dirty. Gloves and bags will be provided!

Registration requested.

*** For more information contact Heather hfenyk@lowerraritanwatershed.org, or #908.349.0281 ***

Green Brook clean-up 2018 – trash as far as the eye could see.

 

PARK(ing) Day 2019

PARK(ing) Day is one of our favorite days of the year. What’s not to like about taking over hard, impervious parking lot surfaces and re-purposing them into beautiful pop-up-parks for public enjoyment? This year the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership teamed up with the Rutgers Landscape Architecture Club, New Jersey Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects – NJASLA and Garden of Healing Yoga & Wellness to make magic happen in downtown New Brunswick. With thanks to videographer Will Atwater for this recap of the day.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_GsmkX1QjI&feature=youtu.be

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