Monthly e-news from the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership
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June 2016 - Vol. 2, Issue 6
Dear Friends of the Lower Raritan Watershed-

After placing the last seeds in my garden beds (an act of hopeful expectation, with sideways glances toward the usual groundhog hiding spots), I take a few minutes to organize seed packets for next year. Putting the packets in order it is hard not to linger on the planting instructions - a vocabulary of definite terms and habits of commonsense - a wonderful corrective to the abstractions of city life. Joseph Sapia's new "Weekly Garden and Afield Report" on the LRWP blog is equally as refreshing and grounded, a farmer's almanac of sorts for the Lower Raritan Watershed. Both Sapia's contributions, and Joe Mish's beautiful long form writing (this month on owls), give us tools to see nature hidden in plain sight. These authors reflect on the experience of prior generations (human, flora, fauna) constantly linked to the land, and in doing so suggest that our children might yet be inspired to connect to the out-of-doors themselves.

The LRWP's work with students as part of Project WADES allows us to directly observe this inspiration and to witness the next generation's joy in sense-making of the natural world. In May students at the Highland Park High School created a set of sculptures of animals and objects that should be in the watershed from objects that don't belong in the watershed (objects that they removed during stream clean-ups, pictures of the finished products below). And Middle Schoolers from the Greater Brunswick Charter School took a series of field trips to map their local stream, first tracing its course to the Raritan River and then linking it to the larger watershed. GBCS students are now developing a plan for their school to adopt One Mile Run Brook for on-going monitoring and clean-ups.

Throughout June the LRWP will also offer plenty of opportunities for grown-ups to get inspired by our natural world. See our calendar of events for information on our first annual "Lady Bug Picnic" and tour of the Highland Park Meadows (June 2), talks by entomologist Dr. John Cambridge on milkweed and pollinators (June 7) and by LRWP volunteer botanist Jessica Ray on the rare and endangered plants of the Lower Raritan Watershed (June 28), both co-hosted by the Highland Park Chapter of the New Jersey Native Plant Society. And see below for information on how to get into the field by volunteering for Visual Habitat Assessment and pathogens monitoring.

Finally, please plan to join us at our June meeting - a special evening session on Tuesday June 14, 6:30-8:30 pm "Goal Setting for the Lower Raritan Watershed / Harbor Estuary Region" - co-hosted with the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary Program and the Middlesex County Office of Planning, the Sustainable Raritan River Initiative at Rutgers University, Raritan Riverkeeper Bill Schultz, and the New Brunswick Environmental Commission. NY-NJ HEP is doing regional priority setting around water quality, habitat restoration, public access, sediment and public access goals. What do you value most about our watershed? Lend your voice! This regional effort is part of NY-NJ HEP's 2017 Action Agenda - a critical mandate of the Clean Water Act. The 2017 Action Agenda will guide how HEP uses its funding, programmatic, and research capacities to carry out shared regional goals. RSVP requested.

See you in the watershed,

Heather Fenyk, President
Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership
Volunteer Opportunity - Visual Habitat Assessments
If you have received VHA training and plan to volunteer for stream monitoring in 2016 but have not yet confirmed your stream segment or reserved supplies please e-mail hfenyk AT lowerraritanwatershed DOT org ASAP. Many thanks to our Watershed Ambassador Justin Beslity (pictured) for leading the LRWP through our third year of Visual Habitat Assessment (VHA) trainings.
Volunteer Opportunity - Pathogens Monitoring
TONIGHT Tuesday May 31, 7-9 pm in Keyport, is a mandatory training for volunteer water quality monitors interested in participating in a 16-week pathogens study of the Raritan River and Raritan Bay. Our long-term goal is to conduct regular summer monitoring & communicate pathogen presence / risks to the general public through a flag system posted at Raritan River and beach access points. Here's a snapshot of our proposal.
June 14 - NY/NJ Harbor Estuary 
Join the LRWP, NY/NJ HEP and co-hosts from 6:30-8:30 pm on June 14 for a public workshop to discuss access to the Raritan River in the context of the NY-NJ Harbor & Estuary Program's 5-Year Action Agenda. This workshop is a great opportunity to discuss shared priorities and goals for our watershed and regional ecosystem, including public access, environmental monitoring and restoration actions. We will meet in the Middlesex County Administration Building, Lower Level large meeting room (Tax Court), 75 Bayard Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. Parking available in New Brunswick City Hall surface lot at 78 Bayard Street. RSVP.
Opportunity for public comment 
NOAA is accepting comments on the draft Restoration Plan/ Environmental Assessment Draft (RP/EA) for the American Cyanamid Co. Superfund Site, Bridgewater Township, Somerset County, New Jersey through June 10. The LRWP submitted this letter 100% in support of NOAA's American Cyanamid Co. Superfund Site Plan for dam removal.
Project WADES
On the very-close stream called One Mile Run Brook GBCS sits, filled with students and books. A quaint little brook. It is wet. It is neat. The water is running. Just like kid's feet. The students were curious about their near crick. The stream is alive, but is it healthy or sick?
Middlesex County Utilities Tour 
Thanks to the folks at the Middlesex County Utilities Authority for a fascinating tour of their wastewater treatment facility! The story of wastewater treatment is really one of gravity & bacteria. The treatment process starts in settlement tanks where gravity removes more than 70 percent of the particles in the water. Next, the water is purified in aeration tanks where natural organisms (bacteria) consume the remaining dissolved materials as a food source. The water is then held in another set of settling tanks where gravity removes the natural organisms. Finally, the water is disinfected with a chlorine solution and thoroughly tested before being reintroduced into the environment - that is, the Raritan River.
May-June Calendar

-May 31 Training for Raritan Pathogens Monitoring, mtg in Keyport (7PM)
-June 2 Lady bug picnic & tour of the Highland Park Meadows, (6-8:30 pm)
-June 7 It's all about Milkweed - pollinators talk in Highland Park with HP Chapter of the NJ Native Plant Society, RSVP requested (7:30-9:00 pm)
-June 14 Goal Setting for Watershed & Harbor Estuary, NB (6:30-8:30 pm)
-June 28 Rare & Endangered Plants of the LRW in Highland Park with HP-NJNPS, RSVP requested (7:30-9:00 pm)

LRWP in the news

Mike Deak with  did a nice write-up on LRWP and all the great volunteer groups leading a renaissance of the Raritan River. We are so proud to be part of this trend!

Partner Events

Our Central Jersey Stream Team Friends have set their 2016 clean-up dates:

May 22 (Sun)
June 25 (Sat)
July 24 (Sun)
August 20 (Sat)
September 24 (Sat)
October 22 (Sat)
November 12 (Sat)
December 3 (Sat)
Copyright © 2016 Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership, All rights reserved.

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