Raritan Headwaters Association > News & Blog > Articles by: Angela Gorczyca
 

By | September 29th, 2017

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!

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By | September 26th, 2017

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) is seeking your help in locating harmful algal blooms (HABs) in the headwaters region of the Raritan River Watershed and throughout the state. Citizens can now report a suspected HAB by calling the DEP Hotline at 1-877-WARNDEP (927-6337) or send a mobile alert through the WARN NJDEP mobile app (available via iTunes, Google Play or Windows Phone).

HABs are caused by naturally occurring blue-green algae or cyanobacteria, single-celled organisms that rely on photosynthesis to turn sunlight into food. While present under normal conditions in freshwater lakes and streams, excessive nutrients like phosphorous and nitrogen, high water temperature, and still water can cause cyanobacteria to grow excessively and become a HAB. You may recall the HAB incident at Lake Eerie that led the city of Toledo, Ohio to warn their residents to avoid drinking tap water back in 2016. Of the 17 potential HABs reported in New Jersey so far this year, 12 have been confirmed as harmful algal blooms according to the NJDEP’s HAB website.

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By | May 30th, 2017

Stephanie Beck has joined us as Stream Monitoring Intern this spring/summer. A recent graduate from Rowan University and currently a field technician for the Barnegat Bay Partnership, Stephanie is furthering her career in environmental research and marine biology. Her biggest accomplishment was completing an animal rehabilitation internship in Sarasota, Florida where she rehabilitated sea turtles.

Stephanie’s job as our stream monitoring intern is to coordinate and organize equipment, volunteers, and the stream monitoring data.

By | May 30th, 2017

Hundreds of small rivers, streams, creeks and brooks meander through Hunterdon, Somerset and Morris counties’ mostly-rural landscapes, eventually joining to form the North and South Branches of the Raritan River.

How clean are the waters of these streams? Can you safely wade, swim, fish and paddle in them?

These are questions that Raritan Headwaters, the region’s watershed watchdog, has been investigating and reporting to the public for almost 60 years through its annual stream monitoring program.

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By | January 26th, 2017

Raritan Headwaters’ interactive stream monitoring map is updated on our website! You can enter your address into the tool bar at the top of the map to find the nearest stream monitoring site in relation to where you live. The map features all 62 of our stream monitoring sites. The stream monitoring sites are represented by circles and are color coded by their water quality ratings in 2016. Excellent sites are blue, green sites are good, fair sites are orange, and red sites are poor. If you click on a circle, you can find out some basic details about each site and can click on the more information link to visit a site’s official stream monitoring page. Each stream monitoring site page includes a site description, photo, raw data and its trend line graph. Learn more about our stream monitoring program.

 

By | September 28th, 2016

bacterial-monitoring-2

Fluorescent wells, shown under a black light, are samples positive for E.coli.

View our report

E.coli bacteria, an indicator of fecal contamination, is used by NJDEP to determine whether water quality is meeting federal standards for recreational use under the federal Clean Water Act. Thanks to an equipment loan and training from USEPA, our science staff and volunteers sampled impaired monitoring sites and non-regulated swimming areas in the Watershed to determine if the water meets these standards. The sampling occurred on a weekly basis during the month of August.

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By | August 25th, 2016

Bacterial monitoringE. coli bacteria, an indicator of fecal contamination, is used by NJDEP to determine whether water quality is meeting federal standards for specific uses such as drinking water, recreation, and fishing.  Thanks to an equipment loan and training from USEPA, our science staff and volunteers are sampling impaired monitoring sites and non-regulated swimming areas in the Watershed to determine if the water meets these standards.  The sampling will occur on a weekly basis during the month of August—stay tuned for the results!

Generally, Raritan Headwaters recommends waiting two to three days before swimming in a stream after a rain event due to the increase of pollutants like bacteria that can wash into a stream from land. Sources of E. coli on land include farm animals, pet waste, and failing septic tanks. Be sure to do your part and pick up after your pets and inspect your septic tank on an annual basis!

By | June 24th, 2016

Monitoring - SB24 From Riffle Facing UpstreamWe are in the midst of wrapping up our two week stream monitoring season. This year volunteers and staff monitored 60 sites along the North Branch and South Branch of the Raritan River and their tributaries between June 15-30. Volunteers collected biological samples of the critters that live on the bottom of the stream (benthic macroinvertebrates) and recorded observations of the stream and surrounding stream habitat conditions. The biological samples are analyzed at a State certified laboratory and provide water quality ratings for each site.

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By | July 28th, 2015

Stream Monitoring VolunteerRHA extends a huge thank you to our incredible stream monitoring volunteers! 100 volunteer Citizen Scientists fanned out across our watershed recently and monitored 65 stream monitoring sites. The participants collected stream bugs (macroinvertebrates) to determine water quality ratings and conducted visual habitat assessments to identify potential problems and solutions for improving the health of the waterways.

The season ran smoothly due to the hard work of Alexandra Walczak, our AmeriCorps NJ Watershed Ambassador and our summer water quality interns, Char-lene Streitz and Matthew Ecochard.

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By | June 12th, 2015

Stream Monitoring in Black RiverWe are eagerly looking forward to the start of our two week stream monitoring season on Monday, June 15th! This year volunteers and staff will be monitoring 63 sites along the North Branch and South Branch of the Raritan River and their tributaries. Volunteers collect biological samples of the critters that live on the bottom of the stream (benthic macroinvertebrates) and record observations of the stream and surrounding stream habitat conditions. The biological samples are analyzed at a State certified laboratory and provide water quality ratings for each site. We are expecting about 100 people to volunteer at one or more of our stream monitoring sites this year!

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