The Watershed Institute is pleased to announce our 2016-2017 project grantees! Through the generosity of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Institute was able to provide nearly $52,000 in project funding to six organizations from across New Jersey.
As with the previous grant cycle, projects funded this year are consistent with the priorities identified as a part of our recent strategic planning efforts and seek to move toward a stronger, healthier New Jersey through the implementation of our Targeted Actions.
Learn more about the awardees and their projects through the map and summaries below!
Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and Its Tributaries, Inc.
CU Maurice River Watershed Stewards Program – Phase II ($10,000)
After successfully kicking off a watershed stewardship outreach campaign in the Maurice River watershed last year, CU Maurice has been awarded a grant from The Watershed Institute for a second consecutive year in order to launch the next phase of their project. This year the project will move from education toward implementation. In addition to presentations and outings related to topics such green infrastructure and stormwater management, residents and local businesses will also be offered the opportunity to receive recognition for putting their knowledge into action! Through CU Maurice River’s 2017 Eco-Friendly Property Certification Program, residents and businesses who successfully implement eco-friendly management projects will be able to receive certification through three separate tiers, as well as a plaque to display in commemoration of their achievements. For more information, contact Karla Rossini at karla.rossini [at] cumauriceriver.org
Great Swamp Watershed Association
Downstream Expansion of GSWA Water Quality Monitoring ($10,000)
The Great Swamp Watershed Association will expand their water quality monitoring program to include four downstream sites along the Passaic River that currently lack adequate monitoring. The territory served under this expanded mission will be the 55 square miles of the Great Swamp Watershed, plus the 80 miles of the Passaic River from Millington Gorge to Newark Bay. The new data will be added to the organization’s annual Great Swamp Watershed and Upper Passaic River Water Quality Report Card, thereby making local water quality data more readily available to residents, municipal officers and other stakeholders. Great Swamp will also host two public education events to share their results and to discuss issues affecting the Passaic River, as well as one “how-to” workshop focused on watershed stewardship projects. For more information, contact Sally Rubin at srubin [at] greatswamp.org or visit greatswamp.org/blog/2017-stream-monitoring-agenda
Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership
Developing a “State of the Lower Raritan Watershed” Report ($10,000)
The EPA-Rutgers Raritan River Project recently compiled data related to historic sources of pollution within the Lower Raritan Watershed, but this information remains difficult to access and place into the context of specific community concerns and actions. Working with this EPA data and other data sources, the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership will establish a baseline statement of historic pollutant impacts and present a summary “State of the Lower Raritan Watershed Report” which will be available online and distributed to municipal leaders and watershed stakeholders. This project will also result in the creation of a metadata infrastructure for reporting future Lower Raritan Watershed data, and pave the way for future projects such as a volunteer water quality monitoring program, a sample analysis plan, and a green infrastructure feasibility study. The organization will conclude their project with a State of the Watershed presentation to engage local stakeholders and generate data-to-action steps. For more information, contact Heather Fenyk at hfenyk [at] lowerraritanwatershed.org
Musconetcong Watershed Association
Building Public Consensus: Collecting Water Data with Citizen-Built Sensors ($9,000)
The Musconetcong Watershed Association will expand water flow data collection on the Musconetcong River by initiating a pilot community science project to build and deploy a low-cost sensor— designed by Stroud Water Research Center— with the assistance of the Raritan Valley Community College engineering faculty and students. There are currently only two USGS streamflow gages on the Musconetcong River. The new sensor will measure water flow and effluent dilution levels downstream from a wastewater treatment plant. This data will help to both inform the public on how lake level management and weather conditions influence downstream flow and water quality, as well as to garner public support for green infrastructure and stream restoration projects. Educational materials and signage will be produced, and the sensor data will be displayed on the organization’s website and distributed to local municipalities in a summary report. For more information, contact Alan Hunt at alan [at] musconetcong.org
South Jersey Land and Water Trust
Breathe Life Back into SJLWT Monitoring and Public Education Programs ($9,910)
This project will revive the Oldmans Creek Watershed monitoring program and examine how the watershed has changed since the South Jersey Land and Water Trust last gathered data ten years ago. Local volunteers will be recruited and trained to collect water quality data. With this data, staff will produce educational material to be shared online, and conduct public presentations on the state of the watershed in local schools and townships. The data will also be used to identify cleanup needs and support strategic habitat restoration, green infrastructure and land preservation project proposals. For more information, contact Christine Nolan at cnolan [at] sjlandwater.org
Whippany River Watershed Action Committee, Inc.
Rain Garden Education Project at Municipal Library ($2,500)
This project will provide public education related to a rain garden installation at a local municipal library. In addition to signage that will be installed near the rain garden, there will be several stormwater management lectures hosted at the library and educational material will be made available online. This project will support a larger goal of enhancing public knowledge and interest in green infrastructure and stormwater management. For more information, contact Arthur Vespignani at art724 [at] aol.com