Tag: Piscataway

Protecting the Rutgers Ecological Preserve

Article and photos by Daniel Cohen, Rutgers University junior

As a lifelong resident of Highland Park, and currently a student at Rutgers I have greatly enjoyed hiking throughout the university’s Ecological Preserve, a relatively pristine area located on the Livingston Campus. The Rutgers Preserve was established in 1976 as an ecological resource. Its purpose is to serve as an aesthetic, educational, and recreational area for the Rutgers community as well as for the residents of New Jersey. This 360-acre Eco-Preserve is the habitat of numerous creatures including migrant songbirds (warblers and towhees). It is also the home of the white-tailed deer. The Preserve is the site of native plants such as Spring Ephemerals and Jack-in-the-Pulpit, as well as Ash, Beech, Hickory, and Red Oak trees.

Anyone concerned with environmental matters in the Lower Raritan Watershed should be aware of the proposed Rutgers “Innovation Park” (IP) plan – an infrastructure project to be constructed adjacent to the Rutgers Eco-Preserve site. Rutgers has requested that the New Jersey Commission of Budgeting and Planning allocate $4.75 billion for infrastructure projects on its campuses as part of a Master Plan. Included in this proposal is funding for IP, a major project to be built on the edge of the Preserve. According to the Rutgers publication Business Plan and Implementation Strategy (2016), its purpose is to “promote research collaborations, technology transfer and commercialization, job creation, and public-private partnerships.” IP, an inter-disciplinary learning site with a goal of furthering environmentalism is well-intentioned.

However, a project whose mission is environmental may nevertheless be harmful to the Preserve’s ecosystem. A major building project occurring just outside the Eco Preserve’s borders may well threaten fauna and flora within the Preserve itself. The project will result in pollutants from trucks and construction machinery as well as in greater noise levels. Fossil fuel emissions, the primary cause of climate change, have already caused the destruction of species of animals and plants worldwide. Excessive construction noise is harmful to the well-being of animals and plants as fossil fuel emissions and increased decibel levels will not stop at the Preserve’s periphery. The essential question is to what degree, the site will be impacted.

If it has not yet done so, Rutgers must conduct a thorough environmental review of the effects of this infrastructure project. Although in the Rutgers publication there is an environmental assessment of the IP site itself, there is no reference to its impact on the adjacent Eco-Preserve. There should be a comprehensive environmental assessment regarding how the IP project will impact this area. Residents of Central New Jersey and beyond, including members of the Rutgers community who care about protecting this vital habitat, must be given the opportunity to interact with those involved with this project.

Macros Sampling Demo & Fall Walk in Rutgers EcoPreserve

Join the LRWP, our Watershed Ambassadors, and Rutgers Professor Richard Lathrop (Director of the Rutgers University Ecological Preserve and the Sustainable Raritan River Initiative) for an afternoon ramble and macroinvertebrate sampling demonstration in Rutgers EcoPreserve.

We will be sampling in Buell Brook, a headwater stream that flows through the Rutgers University Ecological Preserve before emptying into the Raritan River in Johnson Park. The EcoPreserve serves as a natural teaching area and outdoor recreation hub with over 7 miles of trails. Buell Brook’s riffles and pools provide habitat for such fishes as black-nosed dace, creek chub and American eels. Immature eels, known as glass eels, migrate up the river and seek refuge in these smaller tributary streams.

We will meet at the kiosk across from the Business School on Avenue E. Park in the gravel lot near the Business School (100 Rockafeller Rd, Piscataway Township, NJ 08854) or in the RAC parking lot and cross over Avenue E.

Wear appropriate clothing and footwear that can get wet.

To RSVP: hfenyk@lowerraritanwatershed.org

Feb 25 – Clean up of Johnson Park (Piscataway) Take 2!

The LRWP and Middlesex County Parks are co-hosting a clean-up in Piscataway’s Johnson Park on Saturday February 25.

We will meet at 1030 River Road in Piscataway in the lobby of the County Parks Headquarters Office. There will be signs up to direct folks to the office where there will be a table set up with sign-in forms, trail maps for County open space areas, etc.

Volunteers should dress for the weather, and be prepared to be outdoors. Middlesex County will provide gloves and garbage bags. Parking and bathrooms are on-site.

Everything will have died back off the forest floor at this time of the year so it’s a great time to remove refuse – please let us know if you can make it.

January 21 – Clean Up of Johnson Park (Piscataway)

The LRWP and Middlesex County Parks are co-hosting a clean-up in Piscataway’s Johnson Park on Saturday January 21.
We will meet at 1030 River Road in Piscataway in the lobby of the County Parks Headquarters Office. There will be signs up to direct folks to the office where there will be a table set up with sign-in forms, trail maps for County open space areas, etc.

Volunteers should dress for the weather, and be prepared to be outdoors. Middlesex County will provide gloves and garbage bags. Parking and bathrooms are on-site.

Everything will have died back off the forest floor at this time of the year so it’s a great time to remove refuse – please let us know if you can make it.