Saturday, May 16, 2015

Raritan River Clean-Up Efforts Symbolic for Our Time

The Central Jersey Stream is collaborating with the Raritan & Millstone River Commission to clean up the Raritan River from Dukes Parkway Park in Manville to about a mile downstream. They're in need of volunteers for the May 31st event.
No one else can inspire people to the meaning of this sort of effort as does Andy, who posts dozens of photos of his trash-scouting and clean-up efforts on the Save the Raritan River Facebook site and elsewhere. He knows the entire Raritan watershed, upper and lower, and can tell you where a car needs to be removed from the Raritan River and give you exact counts of tires in the water at locations up and down the rivers, if he hasn't pulled them already while enlisting others for help.
About a year ago, I was captivated by his posts about golf balls in the Lamington River and North Branch Raritan below the confluence in Bedminster. He's even got a shot of a brook trout with a golf ball in its internal ventral region. I guess the ball got swept by current and the trout took a reaction swipe, but how a 13 or 14-inch trout could force a golf ball down its throat I really don't know or why it would be inclined to do that, but there it is and posted on the internet.
He photographs discarded mattresses, spring beds, and big time trash of all sorts, creating for himself a symbolic presence in New Jersey that future generations are likely to well remember, because the environmental movement is not going away. We're gathering ground and Andy proves the point. We want clean, healthy rivers and our efforts will accrue over time, resulting in better yet.
Andy's efforts don't stop at removal of discarded fixtures of an industrial civilization breathing the last of its carbon emissions as the new age of an environmentally informed public begins to replace the mania for billowing expansion. He has photographs of an apparent sea-run brook trout caught in the Raritan River. He's actively involved in the efforts to understand the shad and herring runs on the Raritan and tributaries. He canoes and fishes. And he posts more information on the web about organizational efforts for the benefit of the Raritan, its ecosystem, and the people who flourish or can thrive through recreational activities on the rivers than anyone else out there.
Visit Save the Raritan River to read and see for yourself ( And if getting soaked on a Saturday seems like a baptism to new life you'll enjoy, RSVP on the Central Jersey Stream Team's site ( After all, it's all about resurrection. Once upon a time the Raritan flowed pristine. Baptism and resurrection are strong words for something natural, but why not, since the Raritan will never again be the river original to the landscape before Europe took over.

Nowhere else on the planet--and everywhere the planet's in big trouble--does the environmental movement symbolize more, perhaps, than where it concerns a river right at the Northeast Corridor's dead center. This is where industry developed big time. So get out with Andy and the Stream Team and make history.  


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