Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station [Rutgers Environmental Stewards]

Upper Raritan Watershed Association

Host Agency Info:
Name:Raritan Headwaters Association
Address: 2121 Larger Cross Road, Bedminster, NJ
Mailing address: PO Box 273, Gladstone, NJ 07934
Phone: 908-234-1852 ext 314
Supervisor Name: Lauren Theis
E-mail of supervisor: ltheis@raritanheadwaters.org


Nature of Host Agency (circle): Non-profit

Position #1
Land Steward

Project Description: The Upper Raritan Watershed Association (URWA) has been focusing the majority of our efforts on becoming good land stewards for several years. We established a Bird & Butterfly Garden in 1995, a Native Tree and Shrub Display in 2003 and a native wildflower meadow in 2004. Each of these “gardens” helps to promote the conservation of wildlife, encourages the use of native plants, and creates natural habitats requiring no chemical maintenance, thus providing environmental and horticultural education and helping to foster an appreciation of nature. URWA’s focus is to model sound stewardship and conservation practices to our visitors, hoping to inspire the creation of wildlife friendly habitat in lieu of the common “lawn”.

URWA is seeking an intern to assist with educating community members about the benefits of alternative landscaping. Work in the gardens must take place between April and August, while other responsibilities are less specific. The intern will be responsible for:

  • post-winter cleanup and prep for spring planting, including removal of invasive plants. (may involve volunteer groups)

  • completing the spring planting with the help of volunteers (if needed)

  • maintaining the plantings through the summer (may solicit volunteers to assist)

  • creating visual displays depicting the types of plants in the garden and specific wildlife that utilizes those plants (may involve the use of grant money, if available)

  • updating the log that is displayed in the Bird & Butterfly Garden

  • monitoring wildlife species utilizing the gardens on a weekly basis and displaying it creatively for public knowledge

  • monitor growth of invasive species vs. native species, create inventories for each garden

  • assisting URWA staff in the update of information to the website regarding wildlife that utilize the gardens and suggested plantings for particular types of wildlife

  • Research the Plant Stewardship Index (PSI) to determine usefulness in gardens

URWA is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that has been working since 1959 to protect and preserve the natural resources of the Upper Raritan Watershed region, an area covering 23 municipalities in Hunterdon, Morris and Somerset counties. Our mission is to secure the environmental future of the watershed through advocacy, land preservation, education and research. For more information about our work, please visit our website at www.urwa.org.

  Nature of anticipated impact : Social, Environmental

Evaluation Plan: The quality and quantity of public information created during this internship will be the key evaluator. This information may come in the form of physical garden displays or web-based information. The presence of the intern on a regular basis to monitor plants and wildlife species present will also be noted. A guest register or other strategy will be used to track the number of visitors to the gardens. Also, visitors at the garden and the website will be invited to comment on the effectiveness of the displays and asked whether they feel they will use some of the ideas communicated to them in managing their own properties. The size and location of their properties will also be requested. These results will be summarized and reported to the Rutgers Environmental steward program on an annual basis as well as in appropriate URWA documents.

Learning Objectives in plan: The intern will learn what plants are beneficial to what types of wildlife while studying bird, butterfly and plant identification.

 

Position # 2

Conservation Intern

Project Description: The Upper Raritan Watershed Association promotes land conservation through our conservation easement program. The health of our waterways is dictated to a large degree by how are land is managed and cared for. High rates of development leads to increased runoff and non-point source pollution, resulting in decreasing health of streams and rivers. Preserving open space in the watershed helps to counteract this problem. To date, URWA holds 29 conservation easements, totaling approximately 700 acres.

URWA is seeking an intern to assist in the monitoring and documentation of all conservation easements held by the organization. The intern will be responsible for:

  • Assisting with the development and implementation of a comprehensive conservation easement monitoring program

  • Conducting annual monitoring of existing easements properties

  • Assisting with baseline documentation of new easement properties

  • Documenting and recording findings from all inspections

  • Working with URWA to develop system for improved/expanded conservation easement holder relations

  • Communicate with easement holders regarding nature of the inspection and meet with easement holders following inspection to share recommendation/commendations.

URWA is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that has been working since 1959 to protect and preserve the natural resources of the Upper Raritan Watershed region, an area covering 23 municipalities in Hunterdon, Morris and Somerset counties. Our mission is to secure the environmental future of the watershed through advocacy, land preservation, education and research. For more information about our work, please visit our website at www.urwa.org.

Nature of anticipated impact (circle all that apply): Social, Economic, Environmental

Evaluation Plan: The intern must produce a written evaluation, include past and present information and future requirements for each site. Upon completion of the project, URWA will be able to continue monitoring efforts using the summaries created by the intern. These results will be summarized and reported to the Rutgers Environmental steward program on an annual basis as well as in appropriate URWA documents.

Learning Objectives in plan: The intern will become familiar with the land preservation program at URWA and conservation easements programs in the state. They will understand the requirements of a landowner involved in this program, as required by the state. They will understand how to read the legal easement documents and translate it for common understanding.

 

Position #3

Project Description: Stream Monitoring Intern

Position Description: The Upper Raritan Watershed Association has been collecting information on streams within the watershed since 1993. Currently, our focus is on conducting biological and visual assessments of the North Branch of the Raritan River, the Peapack Brook and the Rockaway Creek. During a biological assessment, macroinvertebrates, those creatures that dwell on the bottom of streams and rivers, are collected and sent to a lab for identification. They are great indicators of water quality because they are extremely susceptible to fluctuations in temperature, oxygen and stream sediment as well as non-point source pollution problems. Visual assessments involve describing the area surrounding a stream. This information is used when diagnosing potential sources of disruption to the stream as well as methods for improving the health of the waterway.
URWA is seeking an intern to assess past stream data and to assist in the management of our stream monitoring program. The intern will be responsible for:

  • reviewing past stream data for the North Branch of the Raritan River, the Rockaway Creek and the Peapack Brook.

  • Create summary reports

  • Solicit volunteers to attend training session and to assist in the monitoring of 30 sites

  • Assist in preparation and presentation of stream training class in May

  • Prepare, distribute and collect monitoring packets and supplies for volunteers

  • Coordinate volunteers to complete monitoring between June 15 and 30.

  • Assess information and create summary reports for each site, related to past data collected

  • Input information to the URWA website with the assistance of staff

URWA is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that has been working since 1959 to protect and preserve the natural resources of the Upper Raritan Watershed region, an area covering 23 municipalities in Hunterdon, Morris and Somerset counties. Our mission is to secure the environmental future of the watershed through advocacy, land preservation, education and research. For more information about our work, please visit our website at www.urwa.org.

Nature of anticipated impact: Social, Environmental

Evaluation Plan: URWA will review all summary reports on past and present stream data. We will also assess whether the current year’s monitoring was completed between the dates of June 15 and 30 with the use of volunteers. The final evaluation will be the website updates. These results will be summarized and reported to the Rutgers Environmental steward program on an annual basis as well as in appropriate URWA documents.

Learning Objectives in plan : The intern will have a firm knowledge of how to complete biological and visual assessments from conducting a training, soliciting volunteers, managing volunteers and collecting and assessing data.

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