Workshops teach local leaders how to protect water

Dr. Thomas l. Weyman, DMD PA – Clinton

Cosmetic dentistry with a gentle touch


This winter and spring, watershed watchdog Raritan Headwaters will host a series of four educational workshops to teach municipal officials and interested residents ways to protect local water resources.

“Watershed Tools for Local Leaders” will be offered on Thursday, March 1; Thursday, March 29; Thursday, April 12 and Thursday, May 17. Each session will focus on a different topic relating to water.

The seminars are targeted for decision-makers from the 38 municipalities in the 470-square-mile North and South Branch Raritan River Watershed. All will be held at RHA’s headquarters at Fairview Farm Wildlife Preserve, 2121 Larger Cross Road, Bedminster.

“We want to provide local leaders with the information they need to make informed decisions on protecting water,” explained Dr. Kristi MacDonald, science director for Raritan Headwaters. “RHA staff and invited experts will share practical guidance on science, regulations and funding sources useful to local communities.  It is also a great way to hear what other municipalities are doing and form partnerships.”

Thursday, March 1, 3-5 p.m.: Stream Buffer Restoration Project: Prevent Flooding and Protect Water Quality in Your Community – Planting trees is a great way to engage the community in environmental protection! Dr. MacDonald and Melissa Mitchell Thomas will explain the importance of forested stream buffers for protecting water quality and preventing flooding.  Participants will explore potential areas in need of tree plantings along rivers and streams in their towns using RHA’s new buffer mapping tool, and learn about available funding for trees and partnering with RHA on project implementation. Cost: $10 per person.

Thursday, March 29, 3:30-6 p.m.: Restoring Balance to Our Public Forests: Managing Damage from Deer and Invasives – Learn about the work municipalities are doing to restore forest health on their public open space.  Dr. Jay Kelly, Raritan Valley Community College and Dr. Michael Van Clef, Invasive Species Strike Team, will describe their research on the damaging effects of deer overpopulation and exotic invasive plant species on tree regeneration and survival in our region’s forests.  The speakers will present case studies from towns taking an active role in managing their forests. Free.

Thursday, April 12, 3-5 p.m.: What’s in Your Water? Establishing a Drinking Water Testing Program in Your Community – While commercial water companies are required by law to test water, the owners of private wells are on their own. Regular testing is critically important to take sure drinking water from private wells is safe.  Mara Tippett, RHA’s well test manager, will describe successful programs currently offered, and how to establish a testing program in your community. An overview of common drinking water contaminants, associated health risks and recommended treatments will also be covered. Free.

Thursday, May 17, 3-6 p.m.: Intro to Environmental Mapping and Data Resources for Municipalities – RHA’s Dr. MacDonald and Angela Gorczyca will explore the wealth of free, online environmental data and mapping tools available for use by municipalities. Participants will 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. Cost: $10 per person.

To register and see more information, go to

About Raritan Headwaters

The largest watershed organization in New Jersey, Raritan Headwaters has been working since 1959 to protect, preserve and improve water quality and other natural resources of the Raritan River headwaters region through efforts in science, education, advocacy, land preservation and stewardship. RHA’s 470-square-mile region provides clean drinking water to 400,000 residents of 38 municipalities in Somerset, Hunterdon and Morris counties and beyond to some 1.5 million homes and businesses in New Jersey’s densely populated urban areas. RHA has achieved statewide impact and is a proud recipient of the 2015 and 2016 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award. To learn more about Raritan Headwaters, please visit or call (908) 234-1852.