With spring well underway and many people having extra time on their hands this year to do some backyard gardening, this is the perfect opportunity to talk about a staple in the environmentalist’s home toolbox: the rain barrel.
In a nutshell, rain barrels capture the stormwater that falls on your roof by hooking into your gutter's downspout. This has two main benefits, both of which are connected to each other - reducing the amount of water going into streams and helping you cut back on water consumption.
Most rain barrels can hold about 55 gallons of water. That's water that often would have otherwise flowed down your driveway and into a stormdrain or, potentially, into your basement. (If set up properly, a rain barrel can be used to keep water away from your foundation by attaching a hose that leads away from the house to the overflow hole.)
The storm sewer system will carry the runoff to a nearby freshwater stream, which will dump it out into a bay or the ocean. Because of all of the impervious surfaces humans have built over the years, including the roofs of buildings, the hydrology of streams has changed dramatically.
This is a hard Earth Day. Many of us are separated from each other, and sometimes limited in our ability to get out into the environment to celebrate. It is also a momentous Earth day because it marks 50 years since Democratic Sen. Gaylord Nelson and Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey decided to organize a day of teach-ins at school campuses across the United States to promote consciousness about air and water pollution.
Hopefully, the somewhat slower pace imposed on us by the Covid-19 crisis provides us with some time to reflect on how far we’ve come in our efforts to protect the planet in the five decades since that first Earth Day, as well as what challenges lay ahead.
The Covid-19 crisis has affected the American Littoral Society's ability to provide in person educational and volunteer opportunities, which has disrupted our ability to reach supporters to drive donations.
To help offset these losses, the Society will be participating in #GivingTuesdayNow, a new global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020.
Save the Date and get ready to help spread the word about coastal conservation!
Littoral Society Applauds Gov. Murphy’s Action to Drive Environmental Protection and Economic Development Through Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
New Jersey plans to use money from a regional plan to reduce greenhouse gas pollution to fund clean energy projects, protect the health of citizens and prepare coastal communities to better weather future storms and rising seas, according to a Friday, April 17 announcement by Gov. Phil Murphy.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Board of Public Utilities (BPU) and Economic Development Authority (EDA) released a strategic funding plan for investing the state’s auction proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the cap-and-trade pact among northeastern states dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity generating sector.
New Jersey plans to invest an estimated $80 million each year in programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, drive forward projects that boost clean energy and create jobs, protect the health of residents in environmental justice communities and increase the resiliency of coastal communities.
New Jersey’s renewed participation in RGGI and the investment of proceeds into the clean energy economy and climate change mitigation are key components of the Murphy Administration’s interconnected environmental and economic development goals. In addition, funds from the RGGI auctions will be heavily dedicated to projects that will benefit the state’s environmental justice communities.
The American Littoral Society applauds the governor's action, which comes in part through the Global Warming Solutions Act, which the Society helped craft more than a decade ago.
Dear Littoral Society Members and Supporters:
The power of our coastal community and the beauty of our coastal environment remain evident even in the midst of this enormous public health crisis. Though we are separated for a time, many draw hope and strength from memories of time spent together on boardwalks and beaches watching waves and wildlife.
In this time of social distancing, many are rediscovering how important it is to have open spaces where we can walk, listen and breathe with family or in solitude. That this comes with the advent of Spring, with its traditional themes of life renewed, brings added joy and melancholy.
For those involved with the Littoral Society, the coast and its wonders unite us because we have worked together to protect and restore them. We build reefs and living shorelines, tag fish and horseshoe crabs, take walks and do cleanups because we want to share our enjoyment of bays, estuaries and the ocean while also preserving those experiences for future generations.
Next year will be a bit brighter for sharks, as New Jersey joins the growing list of states that have banned the shark fin trade. New Jersey's long-awaited shark fin ban will go into effect on January 1, 2021.
The law, which was signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy in January of this year, is intended to end the shark fin trade, which kills approximately 100 million sharks each year.
"The American Littoral Society and numerous other organizations worked toward this goal for years, as we watched the decline of shark populations in the oceans," said Tim Dillingham, Executive Director of the Littoral Society. "New Jersey has now joined the other states that have already taken action to end the terrible practice."
The Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve Land Ethics Award for Best Overall Project was presented to the American Littoral Society on March 12. The award was presented for the design and implementation of green infrastructure in the Metedeconk River Watershed.
Located in New Hope, PA, Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve inspires the appreciation and use of native plants by serving as a sanctuary and an educational resource for conservation stewards. The Land Ethics awards honors and recognizes individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the promotion of native plants and have exhibited a strong land ethic while promoting sustainable designs that protect the environment.
Although South Jersey Scrub events are canceled, the cleanup can continue.
South Jersey Scrub is a partnership of 20 government, private, and non-profit organizations and agencies in southern New Jersey. Scrub cleanups were scheduled to take place from March 28 through April 26. However, this year, due to concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 illness, many of those activities are being canceled.
As a result, the Scrub event scheduled by the Littoral Society for Saturday, April 28 at Bridgeton City Park has been called off.
However, Scrub organizers are encouraging people to keep up the work by taking part in the 30 on Thursday program, which involves spending 30 minutes every Thursday on beautifying your area.
The 50th anniversary of Earth Day takes place on April 22 this year. On that day in 1970 over 20 million people joined together to advocate for a clean environment and demand that politicians pass laws to protect the air we breathe and the water we drink.
South Jersey Water Savers aims to mark the occasion by helping to install 50 new rain gardens this year. South Jersey Water Savers is a partnership of the American Littoral Society and eight other organizations, under the umbrella of the William Penn Foundation's Delaware River Watershed Initiative. The effort’s goal is protect the Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer – South Jersey’s primary source of water.
The result was the passage of key amendments to the Clean Air Act in 1970, the passage of the Federal Clean Water Act in 1972, and the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973. These laws became the foundation for restoring and protecting the environment in the US.
The Clean Water Act called for the waters of United States to be fishable and swimmable by mid-1983 and for zero discharge of pollutants into our waterways by 1985. Fifty years after the passage of the Clean Water Act, we are still struggling to accomplish these goals.
Over the last 50 years we have worked hard to force the federal, state, and local governments to enforce these laws to prevent industry and developers from overstepping their bounds. While we have made progress, it is still not enough.
Spring is here, on paper anyway. The virus has put a damper on what is generally the most beautiful time of year.
I’m fortunate that I live next to a 9,000+ acre park called the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and get out on nice days to observe the advance of spring. Social distancing is a cinch alone on a boat in the middle of a big bay.
One of the earliest flowers to bloom is the periwinkle (Vinca minor), although it is not native – but hey, it’s NYC! It grows as a carpet on the ground and adds nice color to the refuge trail sides in mid-March. Red maple trees are flowering now and soon the shadbush will follow.