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Sustainable Raritan River Initiative Newsletter

News from the Sustainable Raritan River Initiative - March 2017

News and Information

About the Sustainable Raritan River Initiative


Regional Collaborative Activities



Check out the full calendar and all details by clicking here!  

Save the Date - 9th Annual Sustainable Raritan Conference and Award Ceremony


Friday, June 9, 2017 
Rutgers' Douglass Student Center, 100 George Street, New Brunswick, NJ
More details soon.

Now Accepting Nominations for the 2017 Sustainable Raritan Awards


The Sustainable Raritan River Initiative is accepting nominations for the 2017 Sustainable Raritan Awards to recognize outstanding achievement in efforts to revitalize, restore and protect Raritan River resources and promote the area as a premiere place to live, work and raise a family.  Nominations are due May 15.  The awards will be conferred at the 9th Annual Sustainable Raritan Conference and Awards Ceremony to be held at Rutgers’ Douglass Student Center on Friday, June 9, 2017. 

The Sustainable Raritan Awards were established in 2010 to promote innovation and energize local efforts to restore and protect the rivers, streams and habitat of the Raritan River, Basin and Bay.  There were originally six categories of awards.  Due to the breadth of nominees, additional awards have been added over the years.  This year, nominations will be accepted for achievement in Government Innovation, Leadership, Non-Profit Innovation, Public Access, Public Education, Remediation and Redevelopment, Stewardship, and Sustainable Business, as well as for a new category – Citizen Action.  The awards have highlighted extraordinary accomplishments and inspired other groups across the watershed to achieve comparable levels of excellence.

The Sustainable Raritan River Initiative, a joint program of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, partners with a wide array of stakeholders to address issues of sustainability for the Raritan River and its environs through a collaboration for “science informing planning informing policy”. 

To learn more about the Sustainable Raritan Awards, the conference, or the Sustainable Raritan River Initiative, visit www.raritan.rutgers.edu, or contact Sara Malone at sara.malone@rutgers.edu.  
 

Still Time to Comment on Weston Mill Dam Removal Dam Safety Application


The Department of Environmental Protection is accepting public comments on the proposed removal of the Weston Mill Dam on the Millstone River as part of the American Cyanamid Superfund settlement.  The Burueau of Dam Safety is considering the dam safety permit application for removal of the dam this coming summer.   Letters of support are still needed to push this project forward. 

Your letters (complete with a Dam Safety address header, reference and signature line) can be e-mailed to:  Clint Oman at Clint.Oman@dep.nj.gov.  E-mailed PDF letters in letter format will be accepted, but letters embedded in the body of emails will not.

The address header for Clint that should be placed in the letter can be as follows:

Mr. Clint Oman
BJDEP Bureau of Dam Safety
501 East State Street
Mail Code 501-01A
PO Box 420
Trenton, NJ 08625-0420

RE: Weston Mill Dam Removal Dam Safety Application

We support the dam's removal because it currently restricts access to breeding sites for diadromous fish, poses a drowning hazard, is negatively impacting the integrity of the adjacent historic mill, and reduces water quality in adjacent and downstream habitats. (Photo of Weston Mill Dam on Millstone River by Mike Deak/Staff Photo, myCentralJersey.com)


Replacement of Raritan River Drawbridge is Moving Forward


NJ Transit is moving forward on replacing a century-old drawbridge damaged by Superstorm Sandy.

The Raritan River Drawbridge, built in 1908, connects Perth Amboy and South Amboy and transports about 8,500 travelers daily along the North Jersey Coast Line, according to NJ Transit. The swing-span bridge was significantly damaged by ocean surges and wave-born debris during Sandy.  After the storm, inspectors found that the bridge’s deck had shifted out of alignment, and the span was out of service for three weeks while temporary repairs were made.

In November 2014, the Federal Transit Administration awarded $446.3 million toward a replacement bridge, which will have two tracks and be situated just west of the existing bridge so it can be used while the new one is built. Unlike the existing swing bridge, which rotates on an axis to allow ships to pass, the new bridge will be movable vertically so that ships can pass beneath it.  The new bridge will also be designed to withstand extreme weather events like Sandy.

The bridge construction is expected to cost $595 million, with New Jersey's Transportation Trust Fund providing the remaining $148.8 million. NJ Transit's board approved spending $17.8 million on final bridge plans, with the design expected to begin in April and end in April 2018.

If plans are approved, construction is estimated to take four to five years beginning in spring 2019.

For more information, visit http://njtransitresilienceprogram.com/raritanriveroverview/.

(Photo of tugboat Marjorie B. McAllister near the draw bridge in Perth Amboy by Associated Press, Article by John Seasly from NorthJersey.com)


Rutgers/Partners Implementing Public Regional Bike Share Program

Rutgers University, together with North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority and New Jersey Department of Transportation is implementing a public regional bike share program serving the University community, New Brunswick, Highland Park, Piscataway and the New Brunswick and Edison train stations.

Come to an open house to find out more about the bike share program and provide your feedback. Visit the project website for more information and to take the community input survey. 

  • Monday, March 13th, 12:30-2:30pm, Piscataway Public Library, 500 Hoes Lane, Piscataway
  • Wednesday, March 15th, 1-3pm, Highland Park Public Library, 31 N 5th Avenue, Highland Park
  • Monday, March 20th, 1-3pm, Middlesex County Administration Building Freeholder Room, 75 Bayard Street, New Brunswick
  • Tuesday, March 21st, 5-7pm, Middlesex County Administration Building Freeholder Room, 75 Bayard Street, New Brunswick
  • Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017 5-7pm, Rutgers University Livingston Student Center Room 202, 84 Joyce Kilmer Avenue, Piscataway
  • Thursday, March 23rd, 1-3pm, Rutgers University Douglass Student Center, 100 George St, New Brunswick
  • Monday, March 27th, 7-9am, New Brunswick Train Station
  • Wednesday, March 29th, 11:30am-1:30pm, Rutgers University College Avenue Student Center Room 411, 126 College Ave, New Brunswick
  • Thursday, March 30th, 7-9am, Edison Train Station

Written comments, questions and survey responses will be accepted through April 1st  by mail or e-mail to:

Rutgers University Division of Institutional Planning and Operations
Attn: Leigh Ann Kimber
33 Knightsbridge Road, Fl. 3E
Piscataway, NJ 08854
knightcycle@ipo.rutgers.edu
https://knightcycle.rutgers.edu/


Third Annual Raritan River Week


Environmental Steward, James Rokosny, winner of the 2015 Sustainable Raritan River Award for achievement in Public Education, has announced the third annual Raritan River Week will take place from April 22 through April 29, 2017. 

Raritan River Week is a campaign, presented by Summit SMT, (a sustainability, marketing and training company based in New Jersey), aimed at bringing focus to the river and all of the organizations that work to preserve and improve the river. The various organizations will be engaged in cross-promoting each other’s events, activities and resources. Visit the Raritan River Week website to see the various organizations, events, and valuable resources participating in this year's events. Through the website, you can also donate to the groups. You can find Raritan River Week on Facebook; follow them on Twitter: @raritanriverwk and on Instagram ‘raritanriverweek’. 

Visit www.raritanriverweek.com to learn what's happening between Earth Day and Arbor Day in your neck of the Raritan. 

The River Friendly Program has Launched a New Website


The River-Friendly Program now has its own website! And is very excited to have a dedicated place for people to go in search of information. The site is organized into pages for each program, plus information on partnerships, a blog feed, and different ways to contact program partners.

River Friendly has certification programs for businesses, schools, golf courses and residents. River-Friendly Certification Programs promote clean water and a healthy environment through voluntary action by individuals and institutions. To achieve these goals the program works one-on-one with residents, businesses, golf courses and schools to improve land stewardship practices. The program works to reduce pollution, conserve water, restore habitat for wildlife and educate the public about becoming better environmental stewards. 

The River Friendly program is a partnership among the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, New Jersey Water Supply Authority and Raritan Headwaters Association.  The River Friendly Program is the recipient of the 2016 New Jersey Governor's Environmental Excellence Award.

For more information, visit the new website at www.njriverfriendly.org.
 

Acreage Added to Sourland Mountain Preserve

Thompson Property Photo-June2016 A Feb. 9 closing was held on 58.25 acres of land being deeded to the Somerset County Open Space Preservation Program.

Located at the intersection of Pleasant View Road and Route 601 in Montgomery Township, the property was purchased from owner W. Bryce Thompson IV for $1,980,704. Montgomery Township has agreed to contribute 30 percent of the purchase price towards the county’s acquisition of the property from its Open Space Trust Fund.

In 2012, the county purchased 256 acres from Carrier Clinic (175 acres in Montgomery and the remainder in Hillsborough), which is adjacent to the Thompson property.  Montgomery Township is now working to acquire an additional 15 acres nearby on the opposite side of Route 601, as well as several other tracts of land throughout the community.

The property is primarily an open farm with areas of woodland. The acquisition helps to preserve the bucolic character of the area at the base of the Sourland Mountain, which is a mix of farms and wooded preserved land.  The preservation also serves to provide a buffer between the largely undeveloped land to the south in Montgomery and the residential development to the north in Hillsborough.  The parcel was preserved in perpetuity as open space and is now part of the county’s Sourland Mountain Preserve, bringing the total preserve area to 6,170 acres.

The property will remain largely in its existing state and the current agricultural use will continue. Somerset County and Montgomery Township will work together to determine future possible passive uses on the property that are most appropriate for the health and public enjoyment of the land.

The Sourlands contain over 20,000 contiguous forested acres that protect the water supply to the headwaters of several significant streams flowing to the D&R Canal, Millstone, Raritan and Delaware rivers. The Sourlands support many rare plant and animal species and provide nesting and migratory stopover habitat for over 100 species of migratory birds.

Somerset County began the preservation of the Sourland Mountain in Hillsborough and Montgomery townships in the early 1970s.  With the addition of the Thompson property, the preserve now exceeds 6,000 acres, making it the largest park in Somerset County’s 14,450-acre park system.

(Article excerpt from publicinfo@co.somerset.nj.us. Photo of a summertime view of the Thompson property at Pleasant View Road and Route 601 in Montgomery Township by Ed Trzaska)


Raritan Integrated Report Stakeholder Engagement Continues

The Sustainable Raritan River Initiative (SRRI) continues to work with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s (NJDEP) Division of Water Monitoring and Standards to engage Raritan stakeholders to participate in a prioritization process and strategy for restoration, protection and enhancement of waterbodies in the Raritan Water Region to inform the 2016 New Jersey Integrated Water Quality Report (Integrated Report).

The most recent stakeholder meeting was held on February 23 at Duke Farms Coach Barn where Jack Pflaumer of the NJDEP's Bureau of Environmental Analysis, Restoration and Standards reviewed the assessment process, outlined the chemical, physical and biological metrics of water quality in the region, presented preliminary assessment results, and outlined restoration and protection measures and tools.  Kimberly Cenno, Bureau Chief, outlined the upcoming funding round and the process for participating in the 2017 request for funding.  Copies of their presentations, background materials, and presentations from the two prior stakeholder engagement meetings are on the SRRI website at http://raritan.rutgers.edu/raritan-integrated-report/

The Sustainable Raritan River Initiative continues to collect information about green infrastructure and restoration projects that have been implemented in the Raritan Water Region (WMA 07, 08, 09 and 10).  This data will be used to help inform the integrated report process and other watershed management projects.  Contact Sara Malone at sara.malone@rutgers.edu for more information.


Work to Begin on Wall to Protect Sayreville Pump Station from Storm Surge and Flooding


Damage caused to the Sayreville Pump Station by Hurrican SandyThe Christie Administration announced that work has begun on a 1,700-foot flood wall and other measures to protect the Middlesex County Utilities Authority's (MCUA) Sayreville pump station from storm surge and flooding as a result of an $88 million low-interest bridge loan provided by the state.

The New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust (NJEIT), working in partnership with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), awarded the loan to the MCUA as part of an overall effort to protect wastewater and drinking water infrastructure from the kind of devastation that occurred during Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. The storm caused an estimated $2.6 billion in damages to wastewater and drinking water infrastructure statewide.

Sandy's storm surge devastated the MCUA's Sayreville and Edison pump stations, resulting in weeks of uncontrolled discharges of wastewater into Raritan Bay.

Working together, the NJEIT and DEP have developed the Statewide Assistance Infrastructure Loan (SAIL) disaster relief program to provide short-term, low-interest bridge loans that enable projects to move forward in advance of disaster relief assistance from the federal government.  The overall cost of storm-proofing both pump stations is estimated at about $123 million. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has currently committed to paying about $95 million toward both projects. The MCUA is funding the balances for both projects as low-interest loans through DEP and NJEIT.  FEMA will provide an estimated $78 million toward the cost of the $88 million Sayreville project, which has a target completion date of winter 2020. Work began last week.

Work on the Sayreville pump station consists of construction of a flood wall and related infrastructure to protect against a 1- in-500-year flood event.  The 1,700-foot-long wall will have a maximum elevation of 21 feet above sea level, which is above the 500-year flood plain elevation and takes into account wave actions associated with storm surge.  The wall will be constructed using cast-in-place concrete supported by piles and underlain with a steel sheet-pile cutoff wall for 900 feet, with the remaining 800 feet constructed with full-height sheet piling and a concrete cap. A 24-foot-wide flood gate will be installed at the station's entrance road.
 
The station will also be equipped with a system to prevent flood waters and storm surge from backing up and inundating the pump station. Influent gate valves up to 132 inches in diameter will be installed on major trunk lines to limit flows to the station and a stormwater collection and pump-out system will be constructed to control stormwater within the floodwall containment area.  A 10-megawattt standby power facility utilizing three diesel generators and one natural-gas generator will be constructed to provide backup power during emergencies. In addition, the existing electrical substation will be relocated to the northeast corner of the facility, allowing for construction of a stormwater overflow basin.

Work had been under way on the Edison pump station project. This project includes the construction of a 650-foot concrete and sheet pile flood wall built to an elevation of 23 feet above sea level to protect the facility from a 500-year storm event. This pump station will also be equipped with systems to prevent storm surge inundation and to collect and pump out stormwater from within the flood wall areas.

The MCUA's wastewater division serves about 800,000 people in central New Jersey, including all 25 municipalities in Middlesex County as well as nearby Bound Brook, Franklin Township, and South Bound Brook in Somerset County. Through the Plainfield Area Sewerage Authority, the MCUA's wastewater division also serves Bridgewater, Dunellen, Fanwood, Green Brook, Plainfield, North Plainfield, South Plainfield, Scotch Plains, Warren Township and Watchung.

To read the full press release, go to
http://www.nj.gov/dep/newsrel/2017/17_0018.htm (Photo of damage caused to the Sayreville Pump Station by Hurricane Sandy from MCUA Monthly Highlights, Aug 2015.)  For more information on the SAIL program, visit: www.njeit.org/disaster-relief.
 

Raritan Scholars Looking for Internship Proposals

The Raritan Scholars program is a great opportunity to engage Rutgers students in a substantive internship as well as an opportunity for you to advance your local projects.  The Rutgers Scholars course is a four-credit program that requires an undergraduate student to spend at least 125 hours directly involved in a project that benefits the Raritan River Basin.  The response from both students and internship sponsors has been great over the last six semesters with between 8 and 15 students doing internships each semester.  The program, under the direction of Dr. Dan Van Abs, Associate Professor of Practice for Water, Society & Environment in the Department of Human Ecology at Rutgers' School of Environmental & Biological Sciences, is seeking internship proposals from non-profit organizations and government agencies with operations in or directly affecting the Raritan Basin.

Prospective entities develop and send a proposed project to Dr. Van Abs.  Each project must be a substantive effort resulting in some sort of clear product or finished result.  Students cannot earn credit for an internship that is clerical or just involving labor (e.g., planting and weeding a garden) – there must be a real learning process involved.  Projects that are clearly related to some aspect of watershed management are preferred.  Projects can involve one or more students, recognizing that multi-student teams can be harder to fill.  GIS projects also can be harder to fill, as those students tend to have a lot of demand for their abilities.  Please propose projects for no more than two students per organization.  If you had a proposal from a prior semester that didn’t get filled and want to try again, let Dr. Van Abs know and you can simply resubmit that proposal. 

Proposals are due by March 24, but if you need more time, simply contact Dr. Van Abs.  For more information and to secure a detailed copy of the proposal guidelines and application, contact Dr. Dan Van Abs at  vanabs@sebs.rutgers.edu.


Open Space Stewardship Project Grant Applications Due April 7


The Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC) is now accepting applications from environmental commissions for grants of up to $1500 each for local open space stewardship projects. 

Supported by the Sandy Batty Grant Fund,
ANJEC will provide small grants of up to $1500 each to environmental commissions to support projects that advance local open space stewardship, and help to raise the profile of the environmental commission in the community through publicity and public participation or collaboration with local groups on the project.

Grants will fund environmental commission projects related to open space preservation, management, maintenance, restoration and education. Two‐thirds of the grant will be paid to the commission up front, with the balance (one-third) paid when the project is complete.

Applications are due by 4:30 pm on Friday, April 7, 2017 and must follow the format/template as outlined in the instruction/requirements document: http://www.anjec.org/pdfs/OpenSpaceGrant-ApplicationInstructions-2017.pdf.

Contact ANJEC with questions at 973-539-7547 or email Liz Ritter.
 

USEPA Region 2 Equipment Loan Program Application Period is Open

The 2017 USEPA Region 2 Citizen Science Water Monitoring Equipment Loan Program application period is now open to all citizen scientists/community groups operating within EPA Region 2, covering New York and New Jersey.  Priority will be given to groups monitoring urban waters and/or waters in Environmental Justice areas, including Tribal Nations, as well as first time applicants.  The equipment covers laboratory bacterial tests for Enterococcus and Total Coliforms/E-Coli; instruments for benthic macroinvertebrate collection; turbidity tubes; GPS units and water quality meters measuring general water quality parameters such as dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, conductivity and salinity.

Applications will be accepted through close of business March 24, 2017, with selections to be announced by April 6, 2017.  A signed copy of the application and QAPP can be submitted through email (preferred) to Rachael Graham at graham.rachael@epa.gov.   Or in hard copy to:

Rachael Graham
U.S EPA Region 2
2890 Woodbridge Ave
Edison, New Jersey 08837

If you have any questions or need access to the application forms, contact Rachael at graham.rachael@epa.gov or (732) 321-4438.  (Image from www.geotechenv.com)


Rutgers Research Vessel for Hire!

 

rvrutgers The R/V Rutgers, operated by the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, is available to organizations outside of Rutgers University for use in their research of the Raritan River, bay and coastal reaches. The 20 passenger landing craft, an important component of the Rutgers Collaborative for Raritan Education & Observation (RCREO), can navigate the river and estuary, providing the opportunity to experience the Raritan ecosystem firsthand and participate in authentic research and data collection. The vessel is outfitted for scientific exploration of the physical and biological riverine ecosystem and is supported by an experienced crew. Groups interested in exploring the Raritan can make arrangements to use the vessel, which can be conveniently accessed at the Rutgers Class of 1914 Boathouse on the New Brunswick campus.

The R/V Rutgers is a 36 foot (11 meter) aluminum landing craft built in 2016 by Munson Boats, Burlington, WA. Designed for use in education, the 20 passenger vessel is capable of supporting a wide range of educational and scientific needs such as trawling, grab sampling, diving, water profiling, coring, AUV operations, etc.

In addition, RCREO is working to connect those within the Raritan community who are interested in using the data collected on the Raritan for research and/or teaching purposes.  This group will share resources, including effective teaching practices and activities, as well as discuss relevant research questions.

For additional information on utilizing the R/V Rutgers for your research or programs, please contact Carrie Ferraro at ferraro@marine.rutgers.edu.
 

Want to be a Somerset County Rutgers Master Gardener?

 

Rutgers Master Gardeners are trained volunteers who assist Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) Cooperative Extension in its mission to deliver horticulture programs and information to the general public. Anyone with an interest in gardening and a commitment to volunteer service can become a Rutgers Master Gardener. No previous education or training in horticulture is required.

Visit the Somerset County Master Gardener website for more information and to access the application, pre-test and volunteer agreement.  All materials must be submitted by June 2, 2017.


EPA Kicked Off Green Infrastructure Webinar Series


EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management hosted its first webcast of the 2017 Green Infrastructure Webinar Series on Wednesday, March 14.  If you missed the webcast or want to learn more about the series, visit their Green Infrastructure Webcast Series page

The GI Webcast Series is for public officials and practitioners beginning to implement green infrastructure, as well as for those looking to enhance established programs. Initiated in 2014, the Series has featured leading academics and professionals from around the country sharing their expertise on a range of topics related to green infrastructure.

To receive updates on upcoming webcasts and registration availability, sign up for U.S. EPA’s GreenStream listserv by sending a blank email to join-greenstream@lists.epa.gov. For questions on the webcast series, please contact Matt King (king.matt@epa.gov).
 

Funding Opportunities with ANJEC and NJ American Water

Two funding opportunities are available now.  The first is through the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC) and the second is through the annual New Jersey American Water Environmental Grant Program. 

The request for applications (RFA) for the ANJEC Open Space stewardship Grants for Environmental Commissions is now open until 4:30 PM EST April 1, 2017.

The Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC)  is accepting applications from environmental commissions for grants of up to $1500 each for local open space stewardship projects.  Suitable projects for the grant funding include, but are not limited to:

Open space/ greenway/trails assessments, plans, maps          

  • Trail building, signage, maintenance
  • Management of invasive species
  • Restoration or maintenance of riparian areas within open space lands
  • Conservation easement inventory, monitoring, landowner outreach, education
  • Habitat enhancement on open space lands
  • Educational stormwater management projects on open space lands
  • Programs to involve or engage residents with local open space, trails
  • Printed and/or online guides, maps, inventories of open space, trails
  • Displays for public events or spaces
  • Multi-town efforts to link open space or trails

Community activities on a theme of local open space, greenways, or trails (walking or biking tours, workshops, interpretive activities or competitions, photo exhibits, logo contests, etc.). Can highlight specific resources or townwide open space.

The application is available at: http://anjec.org/pdfs/2016OSGrantApplication.pdf

_______________________________________________

The request for proposals (RFP) for the 2017 annual New Jersey American Water Environmental Grant Program is now open until March 27, 2017.

Established in 2005, the annual Environmental Grant Program offers funding for innovative, community-based environmental projects that improve, restore or protect the watersheds, surface water and groundwater supplies in our local communities.

NJ American Water is pleased to offer assistance to community partners to help make a positive impact on the environment, and we encourage you to apply.

To qualify for Environmental Grant funding, a proposed project must be:

  • Located within an American Water service area
  • Completed between May and November of the grant funding year
  • Be a new or innovative community initiative, or serve as significant expansion to an existing program.

More information and the application are available at: https://amwater.com/njaw/about-us/environmental-grant-program.

Both opportunities were forwarded to us by Rachael Graham, Citizen Science Coordinator, USEPA Region 2.  Contact Rachael at graham.rachael@epa.gov or (732) 321-4438 if you want to be added to the NJ citizen science mailing list to receive more notices like these.


15 Local Towns in the Raritan Headwaters Offering Community Well Testing this Spring

 

Residents of 15 towns in Somerset, Hunterdon and Morris counties will have a convenient way to test their well water this spring through a program offered by watershed watchdog Raritan Headwaters (RHA) in partnership with municipalities.

RHA’s Community Well Testing program allows residents of partner towns to buy test kits and drop off water samples within their towns. Water samples will be sent to a state-certified private laboratory for testing; confidential results will come back about two weeks later.

The Community Well Testing program is being offered in Bedminster, Bernardsville and Bridgewater in Somerset County; Chester Borough, Chester Township, Mendham Township, Mount Olive Township and Washington Township in Morris County; and Alexandria Township, Califon Borough, East Amwell Township, Franklin Township, Lebanon Township, Union Township and West Amwell Township in Hunterdon County.

The basic test for coliform bacteria and nitrates is $60. Additional tests available include lead, arsenic, radon, total chromium, iron, magnesium, volatile organic chemicals, pesticides and gross alpha radiation.

Test kits will be sold at municipal buildings or at community events like Bernardsville’s E-waste Day, Bridgewater’s Eco-Blast or East Amwell’s Green-Fest. Residents will take water samples from their taps and return them to municipal buildings on a designated day. Test results will be available about two weeks later.

Local residents whose towns don’t participate in the Community Well Testing program can still get their water tested by Raritan Headwaters.

Tests kits can be purchased weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Raritan Headwaters’ main office at 2121 Larger Cross Road, Bedminster; and weekdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at RHA’s satellite office at 124 Main Street, Flemington.

Water samples are accepted at RHA’s Bedminster office on Thursdays; and at the Flemington office on Mondays and Wednesdays.

For more information about the Community Well Testing schedule, visit the Raritan Headwaters website at https://www.raritanheadwaters.org/protect/well-testing/community-well-testing/. To contact Mara Tippett about community or individual well tests, call 908-234-1852 ext. 401 or email welltesting@raritanheadwaters.org.


Volunteers Opportunities – Will You Heed the Call?


Volunteers are needed for these programs around the Raritan basin.   For details, see the calendar listings at the top of this newsletter or follow the below links to more information.

American Littoral Society needs volunteers to help with beach cleaning and they also need administrative assistance in their headquarters at Sandy Hook. Visit their website for more volunteer information.

Bayshore Regional Watershed Council has a number of cleanups planned for the Raritan and Sandy Hook area including Mouth of Many Mind Creek on April 22.  They are also looking for volunteers to help monitor and tag horseshoe crabs.  See our calendar (link at the top of this newsletter) or their website for details.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey needs volunteers to help with the Amphibian Crossing Project, the Beach Nesting Bird Project, and the Kestrel Nestbox Monitoring Project.  Details and contact information are on their volunteer page.

Clean Ocean Action offers several volunteer opportunities from beach sweeps, outreach, office work, advocacy, education, social media, fundraising and more. Check out their volunteer page to sign up.

D&R Greenway Land Trust needs Land Stewardship volunteers, Trail Building and Maintenance volunteers, help in their native plant nursery, and more! 

Duke Farms needs volunteers to help monitor and maintain areas that have already been cleaned up and restored, including work on the Japanese Garden, Old Foundation, and Orchid Range.  They also need volunteers to assist with the Orientation Center Registration Desk, Avian Migration species identification and related data input, and general office assistance among others. Visit the Duke Farms Volunteer page for more information or fill out a volunteer application form at www.dukefarms.org/en/Volunteer/.  New Volunteer Training sessions start in April!

Hunterdon County Parks needs volunteers for a wide variety of programs and events including Public Land Days, and adopt-a-trail and nest monitoring programs.  Visit http://www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/volunteers.htm for the most current listing and contacts for more information.

Lawrence Brook Watershed Partnership has a broad variety of volunteer needs from water quality testing, to trails design, to cleanups, to developing a nature center.  See their website or contact them at contact@lbwp.org or (732) 249-LBWP.  Or attend their next members meeting on March 21 (see the calendar listings) to learn more.  

Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership has a variety of event-specific volunteer opportunities available throughout the year. Most volunteer events take place in spring and summer, and all volunteers receive discounts at LRWP events.  Civic science volunteer opportunities include water quality monitoring and other environmental assessment activities, clean-ups, outreach, and community Green Infrastructure/restoration builds.

NJ Audubon needs help with marketing, direct mail, and public outreach; fundraising; education & research and property maintenance.  If you are interested in helping to serve NJ’s environment as a volunteer at New Jersey Audubon, please download and complete the application form and mail to NJ Audubon, 9 Hardscrabble Road, Bernardsville, NJ 07924, or email to hq@njaudubon.org, or  fax to (908) 204-8960 or call the Staffed Nature Center nearest you to find out more.

NJ Invasive Species Strike Team is looking for "detectors" to report emerging invasive species on your smart phone or tablet, "strikers" to work on local eradication projects, and "ambassadors" to help with public outreach at community events.  They also need help creating outreach materials and in the office.

NY/NJ Baykeeper has posted volunteer opportunities related to oyster monitoring, several cleanup events (Mouth of Many Mind Creek, Mouth of Flat Creek, Waackaack Creek, and others), and tabling at community events.

Pequest Trout Hatchery needs volunteers to assist with fishing instruction, visitor services, trail maintenance, bird house maintenance, gardening, teaching programs and more!  All volunteers are members of the NJ Wildlife Conservation Corps (WCC). Anyone 18 years of age and older is welcome to join the Division of Fish and Wildlife as a volunteer.

The Raritan Headwaters needs volunteers to help with an April 22nd Earth Day stream clean up, their Boots and BBQ fundraiser and they also need citizen scientists for their stream monitoring program.  They will train new volunteers to collect biological and visual data on April 29, from 9 to 3:00 at Fairview Farm.  See the calendar for registration information.

Schiff Natural Lands Trust needs volunteers for their monthly Volunteer Work Days as well as to help with publicity, fundraising & special events, caretaking the Native Plant Garden, and with landscaping and trail maintenance.  

The Sourland Conservancy is looking for volunteers to help with upcoming events such as the Sourlands Music Festival and the fall Sourland Spectacular as well as their Train Station Series 

The Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association needs volunteers for all sorts of things from front desk reception, office assistance and English/Spanish translation to conservation and trail watch volunteers who will help monitor and maintain buildings and trails throughout the 930‑acre reserve. They also need stream cleanup volunteers.

The Land Conservancy needs help around their office and they are currently looking for a handyperson.  See their Volunteer/Help Wanted Page for contact information.

Does your organization need volunteers to work on projects in the Raritan basin?  Let us know and we will post your needs here.  Send requests to raritan@ejb.rutgers.edu.

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Job Postings in the Raritan Region


American Littoral Society is looking for a Temporary Education Director to work out of the Sandy Hook, NJ office, and they also have two summer internships in the same location. Go to their Jobs page for a full description and information on how to apply.  

Clean Ocean Action is looking for a Marketing and Communications Coordinator.  A full job description and list of qualifications, benefits, etc. is on their website. 

Duke Farms has a number of open positions including Seasonal Landscape Technician, Part-time Seasonal Visitor Education Assistant, Part-time Seasonal Tram Attendant, and Tram Driver as well as  6-month and 16-week Student Conservation Association Internships. 


Hunterdon County Parks is looking for seasonal help.  Job descriptions for Summer Nature Program Leaders, Summer Nature Program Assistant Leaders, Summer Nature Program Canoe Instructors, Summer Nature Program Environmental Camp Leader, and Summer Recreation Leader (Internship) have all been posted here: http://www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/personnel/jobs.htm.  Also, high school counselor-in-training positions and other volunteer opportunities can be accessed here: http://www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/depts/parks/volunteeropps.htm

Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership with coLAB Arts are seeking a paid resident artist to work with them on the Watershed Sculpture Project, Trash Troubadour and Rail-Arts-River initiatives.  With funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.  Learn more here or contact Dan Swern at dan@colab-arts.org.

New Jersey Audubon has several open positions:  they are looking for a Teacher Naturalist in the Nature Center of Cape May,  a Nature Store Sales Associate and Administrative Assistant (same location), a Ruffed Grouse Survey Technician, a Shorebird Field Technician, a Newark Building Collision Technician, and a Shrub/Scrub Bird Field Technician. You can learn more about these positions on the NJ Audubon website.

New Jersey Future is looking for a part-time Administrative Assistant.   More information here.

Raritan Headwaters is looking for a Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator (P/T) to recruit and coordinate RHA's volunteers and to coordinate/staff outreach programs/events.  RHA is also looking for a (paid) Stream Monitoring Intern for summer 2017 and an Environmental Educator (paid) for their WaterWays program.  Job descriptions and application details are on the RH website at http://www.raritanheadwaters.org/about-us/employment/.

Rutgers Gardens is looking for seasonal employees to fill positions for a Gift Shop Manager and Garden Greeters.  Contact Mary Ann Schrum for more information.  The Gardens also has a garden internship program.  More information about internships is at
http://rutgersgardens.rutgers.edu/internshipprogram.html.

Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association has several open positions.  They are seeking a Marketing Manager, a Stormwater Specialist, Camp Counselors and Group Leaders for summer programs, and they  are looking for a number of young people for a 12 week summer fellowship focused on our neighboring watershed -- the Delaware River.  Detailed job descriptions and directions for applying are on their website at http://thewatershed.org/employment/.

The Land Conservancy has two open intern positions --- a Planning Intern, and a Stewardship Intern.  Visit their Employment Opportunities page for details. 

Want to find more listings?  The Watershed Institute, a Program of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association has an Environmental Jobs Board.  Check out the listings on their website at http://thewatershedinstitute.org/jobs/.
 

What To Do if You Catch a Tagged Fish


If you catch a fish with a yellow dorsal loop tag, the tag belongs to the American Littoral Society. They need the tag returned along with the recapture information. To make it easy for you to respond, you can download a tag return form. Complete the form, tape the tag to it and mail it to the address on the form. Download Form

When the Society receives your form, they enter the data into a database. In return, you and the person who originally tagged the fish will receive 
  • The history of your fish (where it was tagged, how much it has grown)
  • An American Littoral Society fish tagger's jacket patch
  • Information about the tagging program 
  • The knowledge that you have made a contribution to marine fisheries science
  • If you are interested in becoming a tagger contact Jeff at 732-291-0055 or e-mail jeff@littoralsociety.org.
Become an American Littoral Society fish tagger. You can learn how fish grow and where they go.  Plus you will contribute data needed to protect and preserve fish for your generation and generations to come. Fish tagging memberships include one year membership in the Society, and two tagging starter kits (10 tags, 10 data cards, 1 applicator needle in each) and all the instructions you need to start tagging fish. Once you get the hang of it, you'll be able to purchase multiple tag kits without needles for $6 each. Membership and tag kits are tax deductible.

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WARN NJDEP -- New Mobile App to Report Non-emergency Environmental Incidents


The WARN NJDEP mobile app, which launched this past November, complements the DEP's telephone hotline, 877-WARNDEP (877-927-6337). The app can be downloaded through Google Play, the Apple app store and the Microsoft app store. Enter WARN NJDEP in the search bar.

The app is not intended for reports of life-threatening and/or environmental emergencies. These should be reported by calling 9-1-1, local police or the DEP's hotline. Also, the app is NOT to be utilized by regulated entities as an acceptable method for fulfilling notification requirements to the DEP.  

Examples of non-emergency incidents that may be reported through the app include improper storage or disposal of waste and other materials, odor complaints, smaller sewage leaks, smoke and dust complaints, underground storage tank incidents, and wetlands or stream encroachment issues.

The WARN NJDEP mobile app was developed in partnership with the New Jersey Information Division of NICUSA, Inc., a company that helps New Jersey government entities develop web-based services to improve information and communications.

The app allows users to provide essential information on the type of environmental incident, the date and time of the incident, whether it is ongoing, and a brief description of what happened. The app utilizes GPS technology for pinpoint location of environmental incidents and allows users to submit photos as part of their reports to the DEP.

Users may provide their contact information, although they may choose to report incidents
anonymously, as has been the case for years through the DEP hotline number system. The app provides a one-touch link allowing the user to call the DEP's Communications Center and directly speak to a dispatcher, if that is the user's preference.

The DEP's Communications Center is staffed 24 hours a day, every day of the year and receives some 100,000 calls annually on a wide range of incidents, such as nuisance wildlife complaints, wildfires, hazardous material releases, and wetlands and other land-use violations. The center works to assign cases within the DEP or to appropriate county and local agencies.


For environmental incidents in the Raritan...


If you see activity that looks like a violation of environmental regulations, report it!  Call the NJDEP Hotline at 877-WARNDEP (1-877-927-6337) or use the new WARN NJDEP app to report things like clear cutting of trees in stream buffers; dumping in storm drains, wetlands, floodplains or streams; and muddy water running off construction sites into waterways. 

After you report the illegal activity to the NJDEP, call or email your local watershed group and tell them about it as well.  If the NJDEP gave you a case number for your complaint, reference that number when you contact your local watershed group; they can help follow-up on the problem. 

There are several wonderful organizations working in the Raritan who can help.  Following is a list of which group covers what area.  You can get more information about these organizations and the other Collaborative partners on our Website on the Collaborative tab. 

  • The Raritan Headwaters should be notified for activity in the North and South Branches or Upper Raritan River watershed that includes Spruce Run and Round Valley Reservoirs, and the Neshanic and Lamington Rivers
  • The Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association will help with activity in the Millstone watershed that includes Carnegie Lake and the Stony Brook
  • The Lawrence Brook Watershed Partnership will assist with any activity in the Lawrence Brook watershed, and
  • The Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership should be notified for any activity in the Lower Raritan that includes the region from Piscataway to Sayreville
  • The NY/NJ Baykeeper and the Raritan Riverkeeper should be notified for any activity in the Lower Raritan that includes the South River and Manalapan and Matchaponix Brooks as well as the Raritan Bay, Sandy Hook Bay, and Arthur Kill

Again, contact the NJDEP first and then call your local group. 

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Sustainable Raritan Newsletter and Facebook Page


SRR Collaborative LogoDoes your community or organization have any events or projects --past or present -- that advance sustainability of the Raritan and its environs in the following areas?
  • Hazardous sites and sediment cleanup
  • Water quality, stormwater and infrastructure
  • Habitat preservation and resource stewardship
  • Greenways, recreation and public access to the Raritan and tributaries
  • Balanced redevelopment and restoration

We’d be happy to post your information in our next newsletter.  Send your articles or event notices for our Newsletter or Calendar via email to raritan@ejb.rutgers.edu.   Also check out our Facebook page.

The deadline for the next newsletter is April 22, 2017.

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The Sustainable Raritan River Initiative is is a joint program of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey that partners with other Rutgers schools, centers and programs to ensure the best contributions from the sciences, planning and policy for a more sustainable Raritan River, basin and bay. 

The Initiative works with the Sustainable Raritan River Collaborative, which is a network of over 130 organizations and agencies in the Raritan River region working together to promote the integration of sound planning and a vision for the Raritan Basin that balances social, economic and environmental objectives.

For more information, visit our Website and follow us on Facebook.
 
title image courtesy of Michael Catania
Copyright © 2017 Sustainable Raritan River Initiative, All rights reserved.