From June 15-30, volunteers and staff monitored 67 sites along the North Branch and South Branch of the Raritan River and their tributaries. We collected biological samples of the critters that live on the bottom of the stream (benthic macroinvertebrates) and recorded observations of the stream and surrounding habitat conditions. The biological samples are analyzed at a State certified laboratory and provide water quality ratings for each site.

We added four new sites this year along the Spruce Run, Rocky Run, and Capoolong Creek and South Branch Raritan River in order to fill in monitoring gaps in the western region of our watershed. This expansion helped us to achieve our goal to grow our stream monitoring program to include at least one stream monitoring site in each of our 52 subwatersheds!

This year’s training workshops were attended by 62 volunteers, 43 of whom were new to our stream monitoring program. We are grateful to Carmela Buono, our 2016-2017 AmeriCorps NJ Watershed Ambassador who taught the biological portion of the two beginner sessions. Rather than bring in a guest trainer for our experienced volunteers this year, we put the spotlight on them, asking that they describe their personal connection to the watershed and passion for protecting clean water. I was completely captivated by their stories and so appreciative of these dedicated individuals donating their time to Raritan Headwaters.

Stephanie Beck, RHA’s stream monitoring intern, was a huge asset helping to coordinate with volunteers and prepping monitoring kits. Charlie Fischer and Carmine Ricciardi used our YSI ProPlus meters and LaMotte Kits to collect water chemistry data at each stream monitoring sites. Kate Arnao and Philip Worster also contributed to our baseline bacteria monitoring program.

Here are photos highlighting our volunteers’ experiences.