Raritan Headwaters is working to protect water resources through programs that promote an understanding of climate change impacts on water and ways we can adapt to protect our communities, streams, rivers, aquifers and the natural systems from these impacts.

In the region, climate change is expected to continue to usher in heavier precipitation concentrated in sporadic but severe weather events like those we’ve seen in recent years with Hurricanes Irene and Sandy and Tropical Storm Ida, resulting in loss of human life, property damage from flooding, destruction of trees, and heavily polluted stormwater runoff poisoning our streams and aquifers. Severe droughts like seen in 2016 may become more common despite big rain events; much of the rain runs off impervious surfaces instead of recharging underground drinking water resources.  Rising average temperatures and shifting of seasonal weather patterns threaten the plants, animals and other organisms that are a key part of the ecosystems that ensure a steady supply of clean water.

In 2021, RHA initiated The Headwaters Sentinel Climate Station project.  The climate stations, coupled with our longterm data on water quality in our streams and groundwater, will allow us to study trends over time that may be related to climate change impacts such as major storms.  View our watershed report cards and maps at “How Healthy is Our Watershed?

To meet the objective of improving climate adaptation and resiliency, Raritan Headwaters worked with consultants from Columbia University to develop  adaptive and mitigative strategies designed to increase resilience in the headwaters.

These strategies to reduce flooding, drought and water pollution are:
● Stormwater Management
● Wetland Restoration
● Riparian Buffer Zone Forest Restoration

To learn more, read the report Climate Change Impacts: Strategies in the Raritan Headwaters

We are working with our partners from the municipal level to state and federal agencies to implement these strategies throughout our watershed using a variety of conservation tools (see Watershed Tools for Local Leaders). In addition, we all play a part in protecting land and water through our behaviors and choices.  To learn more about how you can be a Watershed Protector by visiting our resource hub.