Monthly e-news from the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership
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December 2016 - Vol. 2, Issue 12
Dear Friends of the Lower Raritan Watershed-

Did you know that portions of New Jersey’s drinking water system are so leaky they lose as much as 30% of treated water before it makes it to the tap? While this fact should prompt ongoing concern, it has special resonance as New Jersey faces its worst drought in 14 years, a situation so dire to have prompted proposals to pump water from our Raritan River into the Round Valley Reservoir in Hunterdon County to ease stress on North Jersey's dwindling water supply. Of course any such diversion would lead to changes in river flow in the Lower Raritan, which could have significant negative impacts on the water table and breeding grounds of species downstream, and can increase soil erosion and saltwater intrusion in our Lower Raritan communities. Notwithstanding recent precipitation (2.56 inches in our rain gauge the last two days), our still-depleted reservoirs and shallow ground water levels call for emergency water conservation measures, for repair of seriously compromised water infrastructure systems, and for a smart approach to designing future water systems.

For the next six months the state’s drinking water infrastructure will be the focus of New Jersey’s Joint Legislative Task Force on Drinking Water Infrastructure, which met for the first time yesterday morning. The LRWP calls on this new Task Force to think holistically about our water systems, and to explore opportunities for integrated regional and reconnected water infrastructure that include stormwater and wastewater. We believe that smart water planning and innovating around holistic, regional and reconnected water infrastructure will not only allow our waters to flow where they will, but will advance our economy and have positive equity, health and environmental impacts for generations to come. Read our October and November meeting minutes for discussion of the benefits of integrated water systems, and stay tuned for extended essays about water infrastructure on the LRWP blog.

We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday December 6, 7-9pm for the 2016 Watershed Sculpture Gallery Opening. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door. See the LRWP calendar for upcoming events: we will not have a December meeting.

A special note of thanks to all the generous donors who supported LRWP on #GivingTuesday. It is because of YOU that we are able to fulfill our mission of improving watershed health. Please do consider a gift to the LRWP, and read here to learn more about the kind of work your contribution will support.

See you in the watershed,

Heather Fenyk, President
Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership
Watershed Sculpture Project Gallery Opening: December 6
Join us December 6 for music, beer, wine, snacks, the unveiling of the 2016 sculptures, and for a special Augmented Reality experience. Bring your smart phones for a virtual tour of the watershed. More information and advance tickets available here. Image: sculptures by Highland Park High School students, created from trash collected during stream clean-ups.
New Brunswick Rain Garden
Read NBToday's piece on the first installment of the Rail-Arts-River "Green Infrastructure Corridor" to the Raritan, which went in-ground on November 9. With thanks to our New Brunswick Environmental Commission and Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program partners, this plan is designed to serve many purposes: flood control, habitat connectivity, and River access. Image credit: Tobiah Horton
Rutgers Environmental Stewards
The LRWP is pleased to partner with the Rutgers Cooperative Extensions "Environmental Steward" certification program, which provides training to equip participants to contribute to the process of finding solutions for environmental problems in their communities. Class of 2017 recruitment is underway. Image credit: Michele Bakacs
November 2016 blog posts
See our posts for great articles by our summer 2016 intern Dorothy Lee, who talks about her work developing a soils research plan for the Lower Raritan Watershed and by Joe Mish, who muses on the big cats that used to roam New Jersey. We also identify the top 10 issues facing the Lower Raritan Watershed, and recap how you helped the Raritan this year. Photo by Nancy Mayer.
December-January Calendar
December 6 - Watershed Sculpture Gallery Opening
January 8 - clean-up of South Bound Brook Flood Plain
January 17 - LRWP stakeholder meeting
January 21 - clean-up of Piscataway's Johnson Park

Partner Events

Central Jersey Stream Team, 2016 clean-up dates: December 3
Edison Greenways Group, 2016 Eco-Tours: December 4

Volunteers Needed!
The LRWP needs help with: grant-writing, tabling and outreach at events, and spearheading a monofiliament recycling station installation project (perfect for a Girl/Boy Scout Troop) and much more. Please contact Heather: hfenyk AT lowerraritanwatershed DOT org

Please Donate!
It is because of YOU that we are able to fulfill our mission of improving watershed health. Please do consider making a tax-deductible gift to the LRWP.
Copyright © 2016 Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership, All rights reserved.

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