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

Welcome to the first issue of The Raritan Watershed Register!

We call our newsletter "The Register" because it is the LRWP mission that through civic science and data gathering we work to record - or to register - scientific findings about the Lower Raritan Watershed. We then share these findings with Watershed residents and established decision-making bodies for informed decision making about policy, land use and landscape change. In this issue we cover Watershed news, recap LRWP activities, and provide details for upcoming meetings and events.

In Volume 1, Issue 1 we highlight our April Earth Day stream clean-up, our "Found in the Watershed Sculpture Project" gallery event, and more. We have fun and would love to have you join us! Learn how at our May 19 meeting (agenda here), from 9-noon at the Middlesex County Department of Planning. Or get out in the field on Saturday May 23rd for our 2nd Annual "Adopt a Stream" Visual Habitat Assessment training conducted by Americorps Watershed Ambassadors (RSVP required).

Please share The Raritan Watershed Register with your colleagues, neighbors and friends and let's get the word out about our Watershed's health. The newsletter format should make communications easier going forward - let us know what you think.

See you in the watershed,

Heather Fenyk, President
Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership
Mile Run Brook Clean-Up
The LRWP, New Brunswick Department of Public Works, Rutgers Community Service, and the New Brunswick and Franklin Township Environmental Commissions coordinated a clean-up of One Mile Run Brook. More than 60 volunteers worked cleared four sites.
Watershed Sculpture Gallery Event
Celebrating the power of arts-environment partnerships to enrich our community, the LRWP and project partners coLAB Arts hosted an exhibit opening for the "Found in the Watershed Sculpture Project" highlighting sculptures made of trash pulled from area streams.
Nature Walk in the Pine Barrens
Area naturalist Joe Sapia led us through the Pine Barrens of Helmetta on May 13. We learned about the area's history and observed the impacts of development. We heard 29 different bird songs and saw many gorgeous spring plants in bloom, including the pink lady-slipper orchid, the flowering dogwood and the northern pitcher plant. Walk co-sponsors the Highland Park Chapter of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey helped identify dozens of other native plants.

River Rally 2015
With thanks to Wansoo Im of IMRivers we attended River Rally 2015 in New Mexico's Bernalillo Watershed. Organized annually by the national River Network, River Rally brings together the North American watershed/river protection community for knowledge-sharing and celebration of the amazing work being done around the country to protect our Rivers and streams. We attended workshops on water quality monitoring, non-profit management and environmental policy. And we observed an inspiring expression of "watershed culture" throughout New Mexico - the City of Santa Fe has a Department of "Parks, Trails and Watershed."

Other Updates:

LRWP Organizational Status

In April we took some big steps toward formalizing non-profit status for the LRWP. We filed Articles of Incorporation, received a Federal EIN, established a Board of Directors, and created a bank account. Learn more about the LRWP's organizational activities in our April 2015 minutes.

NJ Water Supply Master Plan

In advance of the April 22 New Jersey Legislative Oversight Committee hearing on the subject, the LRWP signed on to a letter coordinated by The Watershed Institute to push for the release of the updated Water Supply Master Plan.

The goal with the Plan is to ensure that the State's waters resources are managed in a way that would withstand drought, maintain productive aquifers, and ensure a sustainable supply of surface and groundwater resources. The statute requires an update every 5 years, but the most recent version of the Plan is now almost 20 years old. Regular updates that take into account growth and development are crucial for adequate protection of New Jersey's groundwater and surface water. They are also crucial to address impacts of the state’s aging infrastructure. As much as 20 percent of treated drinking water is lost through leakage before it ever reaches customers and businesses. An audio recording of the hearing is available here.

LRWP June Meeting 
**Please note time change!**
At our June meeting, scheduled for 1:00-4:00 PM on Tuesday June 16, we will enjoy a special presentation by Wetlands Scientist Bill Young. Starting at 1 PM Bill will speak about his work coordinating the wetlands remediation component of a major brownfields remediation project in Fords, an industrial section of Woodbridge, for the site’s new owners. The Fords site, a contaminated 200-plus-acre patch of mostly wetlands, sat abandoned and off-limits for years. It had once been home to a chemical plant with concomitant sludges and lagoons. Today, after eight years of remediation it would be hard to find a more positive example of environmentally sensitive brownfields remediation in the Lower Raritan Watershed.

The June presentation starts at 1:00 PM, the organizational part of our meeting will start at 2 PM, followed by the Board of Directors meeting at 3 PM. Our monthly meetings are held in the Middlesex County Office of Planning First Floor Meeting Space, 40 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ  08901.

In the News
Thanks to Mike Deak for a great piece highlighting the LRWP in the April 19th Home News. Mike gives the headline to the Raritan River and to some of the folks trying to bring attention to this wonderful natural resource in central Jersey.

Copyright © 2015 Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership, All rights reserved.

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