Monthly e-news from the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership

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December 2019 - Vol. 5, Issue 11
Dear Friends of the Lower Raritan Watershed -

In the opening scene of Mark Ruffalo’s devastating new true-story legal thriller Dark Waters, released this week in New Jersey theaters, we watch as a car travels rural roads to a swimming hole. In the dark of night three teenagers exit the car near a “no trespassing” sign, jump a fence, and dive in. The camera pans to signs marked “containment pond,” where chemical byproducts of Dupont’s manufacturing plants – specifically Perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA – are ostensibly “contained”.

The year is 1975. PFOAs are unregulated. Things end badly. We soon learn that PFOA is related to an abundance of health risks. The film traces a decades-long corporate cover-up of these risks, as well as loss of life and tremendous suffering. The film also makes clear how exceedingly difficult it is to contain toxic pollutants.

The issue of pollutant containment is the focus of a report released last week by the US Government Accountability Office that identifies the nation's Superfund sites deemed most "at risk" of climate crises including flooding, coastal inundation, and wildfire. Of the 945 sites on the GAO list, 24 are in our 352-square mile Lower Raritan Watershed. This is an incredibly disproportionate 4% of the most at-risk toxic sites in the United States. Our almost 900,000 watershed residents don’t have to travel rural roads to encounter pollutant hazards, they are proximate to where we live, work and play. More info on the GAO report, and a list of these sites, is on the LRWP website.

Pollutants and pollutant containment are complex problems, and we must work together to address them. Please join us for our annual potluck December 13 to hear LRWP Board Member Johnny Quispe share his research into how wetlands can protect our shores from sea level rise and contaminant flows. Mr. Quispe will also share info on a new $249,639 NFWF grant to develop a "South River Ecosystem Restoration and Flood Resiliency Enhancement Project" to reduce coastal inundation and erosion.

Please also plant to join us for our final stream clean-up of 2019 at the Green Brook Regional Center on Dec 8, 10-noon.

Heather Fenyk, President
Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership
Green Brook clean-up 2019!
Our final clean-up of 2019 is Sunday December 8. We'll be pulling trash from the Green Brook with our Central Jersey Stream Team friends. Meet at the Green Brook Regional Center, 10-noon. Please RSVP.
toxic soup
An incredibly disproportionate 4% of the nation's total Superfund sites most at-risk of climate impacts are in our Lower Raritan according to a report by the US Government Accountability Office.
Our #lookfortheriver campaign is in the New Jersey Council for the Humanities catalog for 2020! Book through NJCH for our program on how to #lookfortheriver to improve local waters.
You are Invited!
This aerial of our Lower Raritan Watershed tells a great story of our River, its watershed, and our connection to the NY/NJ Harbor Estuary and NYC. Taken by Alison M. Jones with No Water No Life during a LightHawk aerial tour of the watershed, it is one of many aerial photos we will share at our potluck next Friday December 13, 6-8 pm. RSVP requested.
Other news
  • Congrats to the New Brunswick Planning Board for approving a Municipal Public Access Plan for adoption as an official component of the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Element of the Master Plan! MPAPs serve to catalog routes to, and amenities to enhance, public access to tidal waters and their shorelines as part of the Public Trust Doctrine.
  • PARK(ing) Day is one of our favorite days of the year. What's not to like about taking over hard, impervious surfaces and re-purposing them into beautiful pop-up-parks for public enjoyment? Check out this video to watch our 2019 PARK(ing) Day magic.
  • Rutgers Extension is recruiting for its 2020 Environmental Stewards classes, which will run in our Lower Raritan Watershed counties of Union and Somerset. More info here.
  • If you are 70½ or older, you can donate up to $100,000 from your IRA to a charitable organization such as LRWP and receive tax benefits in return. Your gift, made before 12/31/19, will count as part of your required IRA minimum distribution for 2019. It must be transferred directly from your IRA financial institution to LRWP, tax # 47-3574185.
  • LRWP on NJECC rosterNew Jersey public employees can now donate to the LRWP directly through the 2019 New Jersey Public Employees Charitable Campaign! Our ID is #8149. Details on our webpage. Of course we welcome cash and other donations as well.
Contact us at:
Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership
PO Box 446
New Brunswick, NJ  08901

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