REGISTRATION IS CLOSED FOR THIS EVENT
Rain barrels collect and store rainwater from roofs, improving stream health by reducing the amount of water and pollutants that reach local waterways. The water captured by rain barrels has many beneficial uses. Residents can use water from the rain barrels to water lawns and gardens, save money on water bills and reduce stress on wells.
Rain barrels are a great way for homeowners to help protect their water supply by controlling residential storm water runoff.
Join the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership and NJ Americorps Watershed Ambassador Heather Miara for this FREE workshop! Session participants will learn how using a rain barrel can contribute to improving our water resources and will be instructed on how to build, install and maintain their own rain barrel to take home. Materials will be provided.
The Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership is often asked to talk about the most pressing environmental issues facing our Central Jersey watershed communities. Here is our “Top 10” list of cross-cutting concerns for 2019. Starting in February we will feature one concern a month on our website, exploring that issue (and potential solutions) in more detail. We invite you to join in the conversation.
- Poorly coordinated stormwater management, conducted at municipal (not watershed) scales, means that one community’s flood control efforts can lead to another community’s flooding problems.
- Centuries of burying and culverting streams has “disappeared” many waterways, compromising the ability of our landscape to adequately capture and store rain and stormwater runoff.
- Perceptions of safety (poor lighting, litter) around riverfront spaces, and poor signage and access to these spaces, deters use and enjoyment of our waterways. If we don’t know our rivers and streams we won’t grow to love them and act to protect them.
- Failure of aging water infrastructure (culverts, pipes, inlets and outfalls), an urgent safety issue for all our communities, is exacerbated by an increase in precipitation due to climate change.
- Poor control of non-point pollution sources (fertilizers and pesticides from lawns, sediments from development and erosion, oil and grease and road salt from roadways, animal and human waste, dumping of detergents and paints and other chemicals into stormdrains, and litter) results in high chemical levels, bacteria loads and algal blooms in our rivers and streams.
- Loss of biodiversity in our watershed, and a reduction in absolute numbers of insects and flora and fauna, reduces the ability of our ecosystem to cope with threats from pollution, climate change and other human activities.
- State and regional authorities do not have a clear plan to improve knowledge of the health of the Raritan and its tributaries, and do not model pollutant loads for our watershed.
- Recent federal rollbacks of requirements for oil and gas reporting may result in increased methane emissions and open the door to more pipelines that fragment and threaten habitat.
- Federal policies that extend the offshore fishing season and increase allowances in catch rates for commercial fishing reduce numbers of anadromous migratory fish in the Raritan, affecting the food chain.
- Limited regional cooperation, a “home rule” focus, and lack of collaborative action and capacity building results in a slow pace of restoration and improvements in our watershed, particularly in low income communities and communities of color.
- Check with your local Environmental Commission or Green Team for information about specific source impacts and development pressures in your community.
Article by Billy Kurzenberger, Program Coordinator at City of Perth Amboy, Office of Economic and Community Development
The City of Perth Amboy, in partnership with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program and with funding provided by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), has launched several new projects in its community-based green infrastructure initiative, Perth Amboy SWIM (Stormwater Infrastructure Management).
Washington Park is the site of a new rain garden designed to redirect and absorb rainwater while beautifying the park. The park’s parking lot is now resurfaced in porous pavement designed to allow rain water to pass through the surface and seep into the ground instead of running off into our stormwater sewers.
Perth Amboy SWIM rain garden installation, Sept 7/2017. Photo credit: Perth Amboy Mayor Diaz
In addition to the projects at Washington Park, the same partnership is responsible for the installation of two other porous pavement parking lots at municipal parking lot C on Jefferson Street and municipal parking lot RDH on Madison Street. All of these efforts will help us protect our local waterways from nonpoint source pollution, reduce flooding around the City and serve as excellent educational tools for the community.
A Perth Amboy SWIM porous/pervious pavement Green Infrastructure project at Washington Park. October 9/2017 was the first rain. Rain water is allowed to pass through the asphalt & soak into the soil rather than flood the neighborhood. Photo Credit: Raritan Riverkeeper.
Perth Amboy SWIM meets on the third Thursday of every month at 10am and always welcomes new members! Meetings are held in the Brighton Avenue Community Center (56 Brighton Avenue, Perth Amboy, NJ). For more information, please contact Billy Kurzenberger at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our April 17 meeting will focus on stormwater management, and will include a discussion of regional approaches to stormwater management.
The agenda will include an overview of federal expectations with respect to MS4 requirements, with Matt Klewin (NJDEP) presenting on “Update on Changes in the New MS4 Revision”. Manville Borough Administrator Andrea Bierwirth will speak about challenges to meeting MS4 requirements in the upper portion of the watershed.
The meeting will be held from 10-noon in the Middlesex County Planning Offices at 75 Bayard Street, New Brunswick, NJ – 5th floor mid-size conference room.
Parking is validated for those parking on floors 5 and higher in the RWJ Wellness Parking Deck located at 95 Paterson Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. Be sure to bring your ticket to the meeting for validation.
For more information contact Heather: hfenyk AT lowerraritanwatershed DOT org
Article and Photos by Jess Niederer
On this rainy 2017 day, I am just fresh back in the office after a drive past a whole lot of farms. Many farms drain their surface water out to the road, and in these saturated conditions, you can usually see how well the farmers’ erosion prevention measures are working. You know when you should wince? It’s when that run-off in the ditches looks like chocolate milk. I saw a fair share of chocolate milk run-off out there today. Why should that bother us? It puts silt in the streams (smothers a healthy benthic zone ecology), it puts nutrients in the streams, it puts any present agricultural chemicals in the streams, and it takes topsoil (which takes 100 year/inch to form) off the field.
And someone, yes, a human, is gonna have to drink that water after some imperfect filtration process. Humans not your thing? Well, first the fishes will have to live in it. Scales don’t strum your heartstrings? Alright…the adorable baby foxes will have to drink it too. Not really an animal fan at all? OK, the nutrients may cause imbalanced plant growth in the ocean, and you’ll get a lot of seaweed on you during your beach day. If you don’t think of yourself as an environmentalist, don’t worry about it, I’m not trying to convince you. But it’s a guarantee that something you care about is negatively affected when a farm’s topsoil ends up in the creek.
Contour Farming at Chickadee Creek Farm
GOOD NEWS though. The water running off our farm was clear. It wasn’t always like that, we had to work and change things up to protect the water. Through filter strips, contour farming, and being conscientious about when we till, we all win.
Jess Niederer is the owner of Chickadee Creek Farm, a certified organic and certified transitional organic* vegetable, flower and herb farm in Hopewell Valley, NJ. In 2016 she was named the National Outstanding Young Farmer by the Outstanding Farmers of America. Candidates are nominated from all across the country, and a panel of judges selects winners based on progress in their agricultural career, soil and water conservation, and service to their community, state, and nation.