Many of our projects require a lot of hands to get the job done. Volunteer with us and help your community through conservation! Have an expertise? As a non-profit organization the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership is always looking for help with computers, public relations, accounting, and other general concerns.
The LRWP also has a variety of event-specific volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Civic science volunteer opportunities include water quality monitoring and other environmental assessment activities, clean-ups, outreach, and community Green Infrastructure/restoration builds.
To stay up-to-date on general LRWP volunteer opportunities, please sign up for LRWP volunteer e-alerts or shoot us an e-mail. Our e-mail alerts provide dates of water quality monitoring trainings, stream/river clean-ups and when the LRWP will be tabling at outreach events. We are also always interested in administrative and other strategic volunteer assistance. Tell us what you’re good at and want to do, and we’ll match you with a volunteer opportunity!
Water Quality Monitoring
The LRWP was formed in 2014 as a volunteer Water Quality Monitoring program. Volunteers conduct visual habitat assessments and take water quality samples one time a month from May-August along the Raritan River and in area streams as part of our Water Quality Monitoring Program. Volunteers are fully trained by the LRWP and New Jersey Americorps Watershed Ambassadors, and all equipment is provided. Volunteers are asked to commit to a full season (May-August).
-Visual Habitat Assessment
Do you like biology? Are you the outdoors type? Can you survive mosquitoes, black flies, and potentially ticks jumping on you at every chance they can? Well, if so, then consider working with the LRWP on conducting visual habitat assessments for stream corridors throughout the watershed or in your hometown. The LRWP will teach you and certify you in visual habitat assessment scoring criteria to help us determine how healthy a stream corridor ecoystem is for fish life, aquatic insects, wildlife, and animals in general. This is a great opportunity to go on hikes along your local streams, document what they look like, what you see around them, what you see in them, and to take photos of your pathways. Visual Habitat Assessments are the core of LRWP monitoring activities.
-Benthic Macroinvertebrates Assessment
Do you like streamwalking? Are you fascinated by the animals that live in our waters? Do you want to learn more about them? Then perhaps benthic macroinvertebrates assessments will be your thing. The LRWP will teach you and certify you in benthic macroinvertebrate assessment (catching, identifying and counting the organisms that live in the water) to help us identify water quality trends. Surveys of aquatic insect communities can be used to identify areas of concern within streams and rivers, as they can reflect the presence of non-optimal conditions that other measurements (such as chemical monitoring) might miss. Individual stream sites can then be ranked from best to worst, in comparison to reference conditions, and priorities can be set for their improvement.
What are macroinvertebrates? By definition, macroinvertebrates are organisms without backbones, which are visible to the eye without the aid of a microscope. Aquatic macroinvertebrates live on, under, and around rocks and sediment on the bottoms of lakes, rivers, and streams. As a result of their habitat choice, macroinvertebrates are often regarded as “benthos” which refers collectively to organisms which live on, in or near the bottom. Examples of freshwater benthic macroinvertebrates include the immature and adult stages of many different types of invertebrates. A freshwater benthic community may consist of the immature stages of many flies, beetles (adults and juveniles), mayflies, caddisflies, stoneflies, dragonflies, aquatic worms, snails, leeches and numerous other organisms that inhabit the benthos. Because of the limited mobility of macroinvertebrates and their relative inability to move away from adverse conditions, the location of chronic sources of pollution often can be pinpointed by comparing communities of these organisms.
Other Civic Science studies in the Lower Raritan Watershed
-NASA civic science study on soil moisture in the LRWP
The LRWP conducts clean-ups independently and with other groups throughout the year. We also conduct an annual “Watershed Sculpture Project” clean-up when we pair up with artists to identify objects from area streams that can be incorporated into masterwork sculptures. These clean-ups take place in August-September.
-Watershed Sculpture Project Clean-ups
Community Outreach / Tabling at Events
We love meeting new people and telling them about our wonderful watershed! We’re always interested in identifying green fairs, festivals or other events around the watershed to do outreach, and we’re happy to work with volunteers to help us staff tables at these events.
Stream Restoration/Green Infrastructure
The LRWP is in the early stages of identifying sites for stream restoration and green infrastructure interventions in LRW communities. Are you aware of a site that needs some TLC? Do you want to help prepare and implement a restoration project? Let us know – we may be able to help!