Raritan Headwaters is pleased to welcome Candace McKee Ashmun of Bernards Township and George Cassa of Tewksbury Township to its Board of Trustees.
“Candy and George both have extraordinary experience and expertise in the conservation field, and we’re honored that they have agreed to serve as trustees,” said Cindy Ehrenclou, executive director. “This is actually not Candy’s first time on our board. Back in the 1960s and ‘70s, she served as both a staff member and board member at Upper Raritan Watershed Association, one of our parent organizations.”
Raritan Headwaters was formed in 2011, from the merger of Upper Raritan Watershed Association and South Branch Watershed Association.
Kick up your boots on Earth Day – Saturday, April 22 – at Raritan Headwaters’ “Boots & Bar-B-Q” fundraiser from 6:30 to 11 p.m. at Hunt’s End Farm in Gladstone.
The event, which benefits Raritan Headwaters’ efforts to protect local clean water, includes delicious hors d’oeuvres and dinner, bourbon and rye tastings, a “Corn Hole Madness” tournament featuring the popular bean-bag toss game, and live music and dancing.
“We are looking forward to celebrating all the good work of our volunteers on Earth Day,” said Cindy Ehrenclou, RHA’s executive director. “This is literally a down-to-earth party. Boots are more than just a style choice; they’re recommended footwear since the party is being held in an indoor riding ring.”
Earlier on Earth Day more than 1,500 volunteers organized by Raritan Headwaters will clean trash and litter from more than 50 sites along the Raritan River and the tributaries that flow into it.
Raritan Headwaters recently honored three individuals and a corporate team for outstanding volunteer service on jobs ranging from cleaning up stream banks to planting trees to creating educational activities for kids.
Amie Swanbeck of Chester, Walt Hassinger of Annandale, Jackie Parrinello of Quakertown and the Information Technology department of Wyndham Worldwide of Parsippany were officially recognized at RHA’s annual membership meeting on March 2.
“We’re very grateful for our volunteers and we can’t thank them enough,” said Cindy Ehrenclou, executive director.
Amie, a senior at West Morris Mendham High School, spends three afternoons a week volunteering at Raritan Headwaters’ main office at Fairview Farm Wildlife Preserve in Bedminster. As part of a career exploration program at her high school, she designs nature education activities for children who visit Fairview Farm.
Residents of 15 towns in Somerset, Hunterdon and Morris counties will have a convenient way to test their well water this spring through a program offered by watershed watchdog Raritan Headwaters in partnership with municipalities.
RHA’s Community Well Testing program allows residents of partner towns to buy test kits and drop off water samples within their towns. Water samples will be sent to a state-certified private laboratory for testing; confidential results will come back about two weeks later.
“It’s convenient, it’s affordable and it’s private,” said Mara Tippett, well test manager for Raritan Headwaters.
“Everyone whose drinking water comes from a well should have it tested once a year, and the Community Well Testing program makes it easy,” she added. “There are health risks from drinking contaminated well water, and the only way to know for sure if your well water is clean is if you have it tested.”
Elections have consequences, and one major consequence of the 2016 election is sweeping changes to federal environmental and climate policy.
These changes make New Jersey’s 2017 elections all the more critical, according to Bill Kibler, policy director at watershed watchdog Raritan Headwaters.
New Jersey voters will elect a new governor and fill all seats in the state Assembly and Senate on Nov. 7. The election, Kibler said, gives voters an historic opportunity to stand up for the environment and public health by choosing candidates who place a high priority on protecting clean water and air.
“This is an opportunity for a rebirth of the environmental movement, especially the grassroots environmental movement of which watershed associations are a cornerstone,” he said. “The positive message is that 2017 can be the year that New Jersey reclaims its role as a national leader of the environmental movement.”
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.
In 2016, Raritan Headwaters sampled water at 61 stream sites throughout its 470-square-mile watershed, which is the area that drains into the North Branch and South Branch Raritan River. It found that 10 percent had excellent water quality, 48 percent had good quality, 39 percent had fair quality and 2 percent had poor quality.
One widespread culprit impairing streams in New Jersey is bacteria, according to Angela Gorczyca, water quality manager for RHA.
Looking for a way to help the environment and beautify your community? Raritan Headwaters, the region’s nonprofit watershed watchdog, needs your help this Earth Day, Saturday, April 22!
Bedminster-based Raritan Headwaters is looking for volunteers of all ages for its annual Stream Cleanup, a large-scale effort which last year drew over 1,350 volunteers to dozens of river and stream sites in Hunterdon, Somerset and Morris counties. Together, the volunteers – including families, scout troops, businesses, civic groups and schools – picked up nearly 14 tons of trash.
Angela Gorczyca, water quality manager for Raritan Headwaters and coordinator of the Stream Cleanup event, is hoping for another strong volunteer turnout this year.
“I think people are hungry for opportunities to make a difference in their local community,” she said. “The act of picking up trash empowers volunteers, who instantly see a positive change in their neighborhood.”
Two Raritan Headwaters staff members, Director of Education Lauren Theis and Director of Science Dr. Kristi MacDonald, will lead educational workshops on March 17 at the 21st annual New Jersey Land Conservation Rally in New Brunswick.
Theis will be co-presenter of “Land Stewardship through the River-Friendly Programs,” with Heather Desko of the New Jersey Water Supply Authority and Brittany Musolino of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association. In this workshop, attendees will learn about the River-Friendly certification programs coordinated by the three partner groups, and how other organizations can join in this growing effort to engage New Jersey residents, schools, businesses and golf courses in taking positive actions to protect water quality in local rivers.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, more young people will get a chance to learn about the water in their rivers and streams, and how to tell if it’s clean.
J&J recently awarded Raritan Headwaters a $20,000 grant to extend the scope of our WaterWays and RiverFest environmental education programs, which are available to schools within the watershed’s region in Hunterdon, Somerset and Morris counties.
Led by trained educators, our flagship WaterWays program has been teaching students about river ecology for more than 20 years through a combination of classroom and field experiences. The program fosters students’ appreciation for the natural world, creates a greater sense of stewardship for the environment and increases their understanding of how human behavior can impact natural systems.
Rain gardens are landscaping multi-taskers: They stop water runoff, keep pollution out of rivers and streams, add beauty to yards, and attract birds, bees and butterflies.
Learn how to create a rain garden on your property on Wednesday, Jan. 18, at a workshop sponsored by Raritan Headwaters, the region’s nonprofit watershed watchdog. The program will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Fairview Farm wildlife preserve at 2121 Larger Cross Road, Bedminster.
Lauren Theis, education director for Raritan Headwaters, will lead the “Design Your Own Rain Garden” workshop. She will cover all the basics, from planning and design to installation and maintenance. “Attendees will learn how to read topographic maps of their property, select the perfect location and design their very own garden,” she said.