Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

World Water Day

Today, we will look at water on a global scale because March 22 is World Water Day. This international observance grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

This year's theme is "Clean Water for a Healthy World." About 396 trillion gallons of wastewater are produced each year. In developing nations, about 80 percent of that water goes untreated, and ends up waterways that people will use for drinking water supplies. This is as a result of a lack of regulations and resources.

All over the world, groups and schools are hosting events to raise awareness about water availability, sanitation, and hygiene.

Read more here.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

In the aftermath of the storm...

If you haven't heard yet, New Jersey was hit hard this past weekend by a nor'easter that brought 2-5 inches of rain in many areas. Work in the water resources field makes you look at storms in a different way. I sat at my house on Saturday evening and Sunday morning, looking at hydrographs on the internet, wondering how our restoration project sites are doing, and the other places that I have been to around the area.

Hydrographs show the discharge (think: the amount of water) of a stream vs. time. Here is an example of a hydrograph from the Mulhockaway Creek from this past weekend:

The peak of the hydrograph lags behind the peak in rainfall. Where the peak is on the hydrograph (compared to the peak in rainfall), and how long the peak lasts depends on the characteristics of the watershed and the stream itself(some of which may include: slope, soil type, streambed sediment size, etc).

Hydrographs for streams that have United States Geological Survey (USGS) gauges can easily be found. If you are any of our project areas (Raritan Basin, Delaware & Raritan Canal, Manasquan), you can look up the USGS pages through our website.

If you are interested in other areas around the country, you can visit this USGS page and find your stream or river of interest by state.

So aside from spending time looking at hydrographs, I mentioned that we're interested in looking at our restoration site. Below is a video, recorded by our very own Rick Anthes, on Monday afternoon (3/15) at Hoffman Park in Union Township, NJ on the Mulhockaway (learn more about the Mulhockaway project here). The area he is focused on is the floodplain interceptor, which is used to slow down water before it enters the stream during high-flow events. Hoffman Park's stream restoration took place in the summer of 2006.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Photo of the Week!

Wickecheoke Creek, March 10, 2010
Photo by H. Barrett

The section of streambank that I'm standing on to take this picture is actually gabions, which were put into place as the streambank was eroding and had the potential to destroy the road.