TO: Friends of the Lower Raritan Watershed
FROM: Heather Fenyk, President LRWP
RE: Mapping LRW Natural Assets and 2016 Meeting Schedule
In 2016 the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership, with input from the Middlesex County Department of Planning, is spearheading development of a Natural Assets Map for the Lower Raritan Watershed (Watershed Management Area 9).
We have three key objectives in developing this Natural Asset Map:
1) To evaluate, prioritize and map natural and cultural assets in the Lower Raritan Watershed;
2) To provide an informed basis for Green Infrastructure (GI) Initiatives to be included in pending updates of regional/County Comprehensive Master Plans; and
3) To promote inclusion of a mitigation plan component with GI implementation strategies into recertification of Municipal Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) permits and stormwater management plans for municipal master plans.
To advance these goals, the LRWP will host a speaker series in 2016: "Developing a Natural Assets Map for the Lower Raritan Watershed." The year’s activities will be roughly divided into two phases. The first half of the year will include a series of presentations that will help us develop priorities for assets mapping and lead us to development of a Natural Assets Map for the Lower Raritan Watershed. The second half of the year and running into 2017 will focus on how to use the LRW’s Natural Asset Map to prioritize GI initiatives at the municipal, county and watershed level. We are using Karen Firehock’s “Evaluating and Conserving Green Infrastructure Across the Landscape: A Practitioner’s Guide” to structure the mapping effort and orient our work.
2016 Meeting and Event Schedule
The LRWP typically meets on the third Tuesday of the month from 9AM-Noon in the Middlesex County Office of Planning located at 78 Bayard Street in New Brunswick, NJ 08901. However, we have also planned some special joint meetings, field trips and workshops with the Middlesex County Water Resources Association (WRA) that may be held on different dates. These are noted with an asterisk * below. The LRWP has also started to calendar our clean-ups, walks, volunteer monitoring trainings and special events for 2016. These are also indicated with an asterisk. Presenter schedules and room availability may change. Please be sure to check the LRWP events page for updated information on speakers, dates, meeting locations and times.
*January 16 – Johnson Park Clean-up, 9:30-Noon. Co-hosted by the LRWP and Middlesex County Department of Parks. Meet at 1030 River Road in Piscataway at the County Parks Headquarters.
January 19 – LRWP Strategic Planning meeting (general meeting), 9-Noon.
*January 26 – Natural Assets Mapping Project Kick-off, 9-Noon.
February 16 – Natural Resource Assets. Presentations by John A. Miller, Princeton Hydro Water Resources Engineer and co-founder and legislative committee chair for the New Jersey Association for Floodplain Management and Rutgers Professor JeanMarie Hartman, Director of the Hartman Lab of Watershed Systems Studies at Rutgers. Presentations from 9-10:30AM followed by LRWP general meeting.
*February 26 – Workshop: “Fixing Flooding: One Community at a Time: Innovative Solutions using Green Infrastructure.” Co-hosted by Rutgers Water Resources, Middlesex County Office of Planning and the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership. 8:30-5 PM at the Middlesex County Fire Academy in Sayreville. Info to follow.
March 15 – Recreational Assets and Neighborhood, Cultural & Historic Assets. Presentations from 9-10:30 AM followed by LRWP general meeting.
April 19 – Transportation & Mobility Assets. Presentations from 9-10:30 AM followed by LRWP general meeting.
*April 28 – Dance Performance at Crossroads Theater in New Brunswick (evening). The LRWP often comes across homeless encampments during stream monitoring and stream clean-ups. This choreographed dance piece, developed as a collaboration between choreographer Joe Monteleone and the LRWP with support from coLAB Arts, explores the relationship between social advocacy & environmental advocacy specific to the homeless community that has taken up residence along the Raritan River.
*May 8 (Tentative) - Visual Habitat Assessment Training
*May 9 – Joint meeting with Middlesex County Water Resources Association (WRA) on “Middlesex County Utility Authority Retrofits.” 1:30-3:00 PM in the Middlesex County Administration Offices.
*June 14 – NOAA Workshop: “Green Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience” co-hosted by LRWP and Middlesex County Department of Planning. Half day morning workshop, start time TBD. At the Middlesex County Fire Academy in Sayreville. Credits available.
*July 11 OR 19 - Interim mapping project findings, “report back,” and discussion of prioritizing projects from municipalities, 9-Noon.
August – TBD
*September 12 – Joint meeting with Middlesex County WRA: tour of Fords Avenue redevelopment site in Woodbridge. 1:30-3:00 PM in Woodbridge.
October 18 – Seeing Brownfields as Community Assets for Restoration. Presentations from 9-10:30, followed by LRWP general meeting.
November 15 – Economic Assets, Innovation & Regional Planning. Presentations from 9-10:30, followed by LRWP general meeting.
December 20 – LRWP 2nd Annual “Year in Review” Potluck. Location TBD.
The LRWP is excited about the year we have planned. In addition to the Natural Assets Mapping exercise we are busy developing a comprehensive stream monitoring plan for the Lower Raritan Watershed. We have also received a grant to implement the Watershed Sculpture Project as an arts-science curriculum in three area schools (with coLAB Arts). And we are pleased to further develop the Rail-Arts-River planning concept for the Lower Raritan Watershed (with coLAB Arts, Rutgers Landscape Architecture and Middlesex County Department of Planning). Stay tuned for a kick-off of the Rail-Arts-River blog series exploring how arts-environment partnerships can address integrated issues including economic development, social resiliency and ecological regeneration.
Why not make a New Year’s resolution to get to know your watershed better? Sign up to be a stream monitor, or join us for clean-ups, meetings, events, workshops and performances. And please read and contribute to our wonderful “Voice of the Watershed” community blog! “Voices” is a place for watershed residents to document (through photos and posts) stories and observations of the watershed. Current Contributions to the LRWP Voices of the Watershed Blog include Joe Sapia's wonderful “Pine Barrens Around Helmetta” column, and 6th grade watershed resident Maya Fenyk has just contributed her first installment of the “Threatened and Endangered Species of the Watershed” column. Do you have a story to share? We are always looking for contributors to celebrate stories of the watershed we call home.
See you in the Watershed!