Monthly e-news from the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership
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October 2015 - Vol. 1, Issue 6
Dear Friends of the Lower Raritan Watershed -

It's official - the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership is now a registered 501(c)3! Not only are we now an official non-profit, we also have a new mascot to use for school and youth outreach: meet Jorge the LRWP turtle! Jorge will likely make an appearance at both our October 20th meeting and the Watershed Sculpture Project Fundraiser on October 29 from 6-9 PM (see below).

No doubt all our turtle friends are happy with the rain the last few days. We measured 1.58 inches in the rain gauge this morning, with Hurricane Joaquin promising more soon. Despite recent precipitation, the September 23 drought watch issued by NJDEP should have all of us on notice. Decreased stream flow compromises the ability of our waterways to do the important job of sediment flushing and increases nutrient loadings. It is associated with increased chemical treatment costs for our drinking water. It means compromised habitat conditions for macroinvertebrates (an important food source for fish and birds). Drought opens the door to invasive species and intensifies salinity intrusion in our estuaries. The effects of drought are typically observed even 2-3 years after stream and river flows return to normal.

New Jersey's drought pales in comparison to the situation in California, but it is a good reminder to start thinking smart about water management and acting smart about water conservation. New Jersey needs a state Water Supply Master Plan that maps a path to a water secure future. Our municipalities need to ramp up water recycling, smart sewering, green infrastructure and groundwater recharge. And the Lower Raritan Watershed needs a comprehensive stream monitoring plan so that we can start tracking watershed-level responses to climate and hydrologic changes and provide River health data to residents, scientists, resource managers and decision makers. The LRWP needs you to help with this last step as we are working to raise $1,300 to develop a comprehensive volunteer monitoring program for the Lower Raritan Watershed. No amount is to small to contribute. See details on our "Go Fund Me" campaign page and below.

See you in the watershed!

Heather Fenyk, President
Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership
Meet Jorge the LRWP turtle!
Jorge's design was inspired by turtle gourds made by the Oaxacan community (a community with a significant presence in the LRW) and also references the Lenape myth of the "Great Turtle," which involves creation of the Lenape homeland by placing the earth on the back of a giant turtle. Turtles are known as an indicator species and are a key part of a balanced ecosystem. Many thanks to Jorge's creator, Kae Yamane.
Help the LRWP Develop A Comprehensive Monitoring Plan
The LRWP is working to raise $1,300 to participate in the web-based training program “Monitoring That Guarantees Measurable Results” (sponsored by the nationally-known River Network). This program will give us the assistance we need to develop a comprehensive monitoring plan for the Lower Raritan Watershed including a data inventory, a blueprint for monitoring objectives, an information delivery plan and a monitoring program evaluation plan. For more information on the campaign and to donate. No amount is too small.
October 20th - LRWP Meeting
At our October 20 meeting, 9 AM-noon, former WMA9 Watershed Ambassador Jon Dugan present findings from habitat and biological monitoring at sites in the LRW. Is there a site you want included for monitoring in 2016? Come ready to discuss recommendations for future monitoring, action and restoration.

Watershed Sculpture Unveiling
Join us on Thursday October 29 from 6-9PM for the unveiling of the 2015 Watershed Sculptures. This is the second year of a partnership between the LRWP and coLAB Arts - our groups provide refuse from stream clean ups to artists who rework them as masterwork sculptures. Sponsored by the RWJUH Wellness Center, the evening will include an artist meet and greet, music by Little Rose, heavy hors d'oeuvres and a silent auction. Beer and wine will be available. For more information on the project and to purchase a ticket.

Image: Christopher Carter, River Spirit (2014)

Rutgers Environmental Stewards
Rutgers NJ Agricultural Experiment Station is now accepting applications for the Spring 2016 Rutgers Environmental Stewards Program. The program includes 60 hours of training and a 60 hour internship. New for 2016 is a partnership with the LRWP in which Environmental Stewards will learn about watershed health through field study and analysis. Anyone with an interest in the environment and a commitment to volunteer service can participate, no previous environmental training necessary. For more information.

LRWP calendar

October 20 - LRWP monthly meeting, 9AM-Noon. Please note that we have a NEW meeting location! We will meet in the 5th Floor Conference Room in the Middlesex County Administration Offices at 75 Bayard Street. Meeting attendees can park in the Robert Wood Johnson Wellness Center Parking Deck located at 95 Paterson Street on floors 5 and above (note that levels 3 and 4 are only for supermarket and RWJ use). A maximum three (3) hours of parking will be validated for our meeting, and attendees will have to visit the Second Floor of the Administration Building to have their ticket validated.

October 29 - Watershed Sculpture Project Fundraiser at the Robert Wood Johnson Fitness & Wellness Center, 6-8 PM, 100 Kirkpatrick Street, #201, New Brunswick

November 9 - PLEASE NOTE MEETING DATE AND TIME FOR NOVEMBER! Joint meeting with the Middlesex County Water Resources Association for a tour of the Middlesex County Water Utility Facility, 1:30 - 3:30 PM. 1500 Ronson Rd., Iselin, NJ  08830.

Other Watershed News and Updates

The LRWP was in the papers twice last week. The Home News captured a picture of Maya and the LRWP cardboard canoe taking 4th place in the 2015 Raritan River Festival races, and The Sentinel interviewed us regarding the drought.

Central Jersey Stream Team is readying for one more river cleanup in the LRW this season. On October 18 the group will be working from Queens Bridge in Bound Brook to Riverside Park in Piscataway. The event begins at 8:00 am. E-mail CJST for more info.

New Jersey Audubon Plainsboro Preserve Environmental Education Center is hosting "Across Watersheds," a No Water, No Life Traveling Photo Exhibit. Several images feature the Lower Raritan Watershed. Photos by Alison M. Jones, curated by Jasmine Graf. Runs from October 8th to November 9th. Tuesday to Saturday 9-4 PM.  Sunday, 12-4 PM. 80 Scotts Corner Road, Cranbury, NJ 08512  (609) 897-9400.


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