Watershed Tools for Municipalities
Raritan Headwaters is hosting the seminar series, Watershed Tools for Local Decision-Makers, in order to provide practical guidance on science, regulations, and funding sources that can be used to understand and protect local water resources. The seminars are targeted for the decision-makers from the 38 municipalities in the 470-square-mile North and South Branch Raritan River Watershed.
As important partners in Raritan Headwaters’ mission of protecting water resources in the Upper Raritan, we hope to help municipalities develop their own internal expertise on a variety of complicated issues. The goal of these seminars is to provide expert-level knowledge in a succinct, practical workshop through interactive discussions, summary materials and hands-on planning activities on various topics presented by Raritan Headwaters scientists and policy experts, as well as visitors from regulatory agencies, universities, and other non-profits.
Seminar Series Schedule
Stream Buffer Restoration Project: Prevent Flooding and Protect Water Quality in Your Community
Dr. Kristi MacDonald and Melissa Mitchell Thomas, RHA
March 1, 2018 3-5pm Fairview Farm Wildlife Preserve, Bedminster, NJ
Description: Learn about the importance of forested stream buffers for protecting water quality and preventing flooding in your community. Explore potential areas in need of tree plantings along rivers and streams in your municipality using RHA’s newly completed buffer mapping tool. We will discuss available funding for trees and partnering with RHA on project implementation. Planting trees is a great way to engage the community in environmental protection!
Restoring Balance to Our Public Forests: Managing Damage from Deer and Invasives
Dr. Jay Kelly, Raritan Valley Community College and Dr. Mike Van Clef, Invasive Species Strike Team
March 29, 3:30-6pm Fairview Farm Wildlife Preserve, Bedminster, NJ
Description: Learn about the work municipalities are doing to restore forest health on their public open space. We will learn about research by Dr. Kelly and Dr. Van Clef on the damaging effects of deer overpopulation and exotic invasive species on tree regeneration and survival in our region’s forests. The speakers will also present case studies from towns taking an active role in managing their forests.
What’s in Your Water? Establishing a Drinking Water Testing Program in Your Community
Mara Tippett, RHA
April 12, 3:30-5pm Fairview Farm Wildlife Preserve, Bedminster, NJ
Description: Safe Drinking Water Programs are an essential environmental public health service. While commercial water companies are required by law to test customers’ water, owners of private wells are on their own. Regular monitoring is critically important to ensuring a safe water supply. Local efforts to provide community-supported testing programs help prevent exposure to drinking water contaminants by making the testing process convenient and affordable. Learn about successful programs currently offered throughout the country and how to establish a testing program in your town. An overview of common drinking water contaminants, associated health risks and recommended treatments will also be covered.
Intro to Environmental Mapping and Data Resources for Municipalities
Dr. Kristi MacDonald and Angela Gorczyca, RHA
May 17, 3-6pm Fairview Farm Wildlife Preserve, Bedminster, NJ
Description: Explore the wealth of free, online environmental data and mapping tools available for use by your municipality. Learn what types of data are available, how to access it and practical applications and uses of the data and mapping programs. This session will include a crash course in NJ GeoWeb, NJ Department of Environmental Protection’s interactive mapping tool.
Future topics, dates to be announced.
Stream and Restoration Planning for Flood Resilience
Local Ordinances for Water Protection
Open Space Preservation Mapping
To learn more about this seminar series and to obtain updates and registration information on future seminars contact;
Kristi MacDonald, Raritan Headwaters Director of Science
Informing Residents of the Health Effects of Arsenic in Drinking Water & the Need to Test and Treat Private Wells
Much like annual preventative health screenings, an annual well test is an important part of maintaining good health. Arsenic is a natural but toxic element that is found in well water throughout the watershed. Municipal government, local doctors, and the media play an important role in providing information to residents in areas at high risk for well water contaminants such as arsenic. Workshop participants will learn more about the health effects of arsenic, how arsenic enters the water supply and what tools are available to better inform residents on how to safeguard their drinking water through testing and treatment. Presenters include experts on the topic from Raritan Headwaters, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, NJDEP, and the Hunterdon County Division of Public Health Services.
Impervious Cover Assessments and Reduction Action Plans: Helping Communities Reduce Flooding, Improve Water Quality, and Get Sustainable Jersey Points
Come learn about the work Dr. Obropta and his staff are doing to help municipalities address the problem of stormwater runoff, flooding and erosion due to impervious covers such as building and pavement. Rutgers has already completed Impervious Cover Assessment and Reduction Action Plans for several municipalities in the North and South Branch Raritan Watershed. The Plans are an incredibly valuable resource that presents data on the amount and distribution of impervious cover within the municipal boundary and offers shovel ready green infrastructure projects designed by engineers and landscape architects. We will have copies of those completed Plans available at the seminar for registrants. In addition, we will discuss implementation of the existing Plans and learn how to have one created for your municipality. Most importantly, Dr. Obropta will share information on how to implement the Plan from funding sources to local ordinances.
This seminar will provide an understanding of the new regulations as well as practical advice for applying for MS4 permits and insuring new developments are in compliance. Presented by Dr. Chris Obropta and staff from the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program, as well as Raritan Headwaters’ Bill Kibler, director of policy, and Dr. Kristi MacDonald, director of science. NJ Department of Environmental Protection is a co-sponsor. This seminar will provide an understanding of the new regulations as well as practical advice for applying for MS4 permits and insuring new developments are in compliance. Presented by Dr. Chris Obropta and staff from the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program, as well as Raritan Headwaters’ Bill Kibler, director of policy, and Dr. Kristi MacDonald, director of science. NJ Department of Environmental Protection is a co-sponsor.
Additional Resources for Local Leaders
Association for New Jersey Environmental Commissions www.anjec.org