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  • Kate Munning

Raritan Headwaters Climate Station Installed at South Branch Preserve

Pictured here is the headwaters of the South Branch of the Raritan River, which starts in Budd Lake, a natural body formed by a glacial remnant, and joins up with the North Branch in Bridgewater before eventually emptying into the Raritan Bay on the Atlantic Ocean.

TLCNJ has partnered with the Raritan Headwaters Association (RHA) to install a Mayfly Enviro DIY Climate Station at South Branch Preserve. RHA’s Sentinel Climate Stations Project uses these climate stations to collect and transmit continuous data on stream temperature, conductivity, and water depth so it can be viewed and downloaded by municipal decisionmakers, scientists, educators and students, fishing clubs, and state environmental agencies. This data could help future NJ municipalities develop climate resilience plans in their master plans that are required by the state.

Freshwater resources face significant threats from climate change. This is especially true of headwater stream ecosystems, which rely on cold, oxygen-rich conditions to supply clean water to much of the planet’s population. Increasing temperatures can result in more cases of mosquito-borne diseases, decreased availability and delivery of drinking water resources, longer growing seasons for aquatic and terrestrial invasive species, and restricted recreational activities.

Data is needed to inform decisions on our water sources’ vulnerability to climate change and the steps necessary for effective resilience and adaptation planning. We’re doing our part at TLCNJ, but we all have some way we can be part of the solution for a healthy planet where we humans (and our fellow living things) can thrive. For example, you can check out the NJDEP SEEDS program for volunteer opportunities to monitor water quality in your area.

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