Enjoy Your Labor Day Nature Adventures Responsibility

Seven Tips for Environmentally-Friendly Outdoor Fun

Labor Day is right around the corner! Many people will soon be packing up the car with fishing gear and heading to their favorite lake for a fun-filled weekend.

As biologists, ecologists, environmentalists, and outdoor enthusiasts, all of us at Princeton Hydro fully enjoy getting outside and having fun in nature. We also take our responsibility to care for and respect our natural surroundings very seriously. We play hard and work hard to protect our natural resources for generations to come.

These seven tips will help you enjoy your Labor Day fishing, boating, and outdoor adventures with minimal environmental impact:

  • Before you go, know your local fishing regulations. These laws protect fish and other aquatic species to ensure that the joys of fishing can be shared by everyone well into the future.

  • Reduce the spread of invasive species by thoroughly washing your gear and watercraft before and after your trip. Invasives come in many forms – plants, fungi, and animals – and even those of microscopic size can cause major damage.

  • Stay on designated paths to avoid disrupting sensitive and protected areas, like wetlands, shorelines, stream banks, and meadows. Disturbing and damaging these sensitive areas can jeopardize the health of the many important species living there.

  • Exercise catch and release best practices. Always keep the health of the fish at the forefront of your activities by using the right gear and employing proper techniques. Get that info by clicking here.

  • Use artificial lures or bait that is native to the area you’re fishing in. Live bait that is non-native can introduce invasive species to water sources and cause serious damage to the surrounding environment.

  • Plan ahead and map your trip. Contact the office of land management to learn about permit requirements, area closures and other restrictions. Use this interactive map to find great fishing spots in your area, the fish species you can expect to find at each spot, nearby gear shops, and more!

Armed with these seven tips, you can now enjoy your weekend while feeling rest assured that you’re doing your part to protect the outdoor spaces and wild places we all love to recreate in! Go here to learn about some of the work Princeton Hydro does to restore and protect our natural resources.

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“Respect nature and it will provide you with abundance.”

–compassionkindness.com

Our 2019 Earth Day Photo Contest Winner!

In honor of Earth Day, Princeton Hydro held its annual Photo Contest with the theme “Earth as Art” for its employees. We’d like to thank everyone who submitted photos this year. Overall, we received 28 gorgeous photos from our staff.

All photos were rated on the following criteria by three judges: Danielle Odom, Lucy Aquilino, and Amanda Brooks (see bios below).

  • Technical Quality (30%)
  • Originality (30%)
  • Artistic Merit (40%)
THE WINNER OF THE PRINCETON HYDRO 2019 EARTH DAY PHOTO CONTEST IS…

“The Sands of Time. Microtopography created on a windswept beach.” Wildwood Crest, New Jersey. By Jack Szczepanski

Scroll to the bottom to see a gallery of runner-up photos.

ABOUT THE JUDGES:
DANIELLE ODOM

Danielle is a Lab Technician in the Watershed & Systems Ecology Department at The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. She studies macroinvertebrates as biological indicators and she’s currently studying to become a certified midge ID expert. A former teacher, she taught nature photography to middle school students.

Lucy Aquilino

Lucy is a retired Parole officer and amateur photographer. A mom of 2, she loves taking nature photos and going on adventures with her kids.

Amanda Brooks

Amanda is a nature enthusiast who loves taking long walks in the woods with her camera and notepad. With her degree in Environmental Studies and English and her background in the arts, she is always looking for creative ways to capture the beauty of nature to inspire its protection. She currently resides in Burlington, Vermont and works as a tree-monger at Gardener’s Supply Company. You can check out more of her work on her Facebook page. 

Check out the photos from last year’s Earth Day photo contest here:

Our Earth Day Photo Contest Winner

Volunteers Pitch In at New Jersey’s Thompson Park

A volunteer effort, lead by the Middlesex County, New Jersey Parks and Recreation Department and the Rutgers Cooperative Extension, recently took place at Thompson Park.

Despite the rainy weather, 78 volunteers and members of the Youth Conservation Corps removed litter from the shoreline of Manalapan Lake, repaired fencing, made improvements to the park’s walking trails, weeded and mulched the park’s rain garden and native plant garden, and installed new plants in the rain garden.

The park’s rain garden was originally designed by Princeton Hydro Senior Water Resource Engineer Dr. Clay Emerson, PE, CFM. Rain gardens are cost effective, attractive and sustainable means to minimize stormwater runoff. They also help to reduce erosion, promote groundwater recharge, minimize flooding and remove pollutants from runoff.

By definition, a rain garden is a shallow depression that is planted with deep-rooted native plants and grasses, and positioned near a runoff source to capture rainwater. Planting native plants also helps to attract pollinators and birds and naturally reduces mosquitos by removing standing water thus reducing mosquito breeding areas.

Rain gardens temporarily store rainwater and runoff, and filter the water of hydrocarbons, oil, heavy metals, phosphorous, fertilizers and other pollutants that would normally find their way to the sewer and even our rivers and waterways.

On the day of the volunteer event, Central New Jersey received 0.44 inches of rain.  “We got to see the rain garden in action, which was really exciting,” said Princeton Hydro Senior Project Manager Kelly Klein, who volunteered at the event.

Volunteers from the following organizations participated:

  • Edison Metro Lions Club
  • Hioki USA Corporation
  • Girl Scout Troop 70306
  • East Brunswick Youth Council
  • Monroe Middle School
  • South Plainfield High School
  • Rutgers University
  • Master Gardeners of Middlesex County
  • Foresters Financial
  • Princeton Hydro

The Middlesex County Parks and Recreation Department’s next public volunteer event is tomorrow (June 2) in Davidson’s Mill Pond Park.

The Princeton Hydro team has designed and constructed countless stormwater management systems, including rain gardens in locations throughout the Eastern U.S. Click here for more information about our stormwater management services.

Our Earth Day Photo Contest Winner

In honor of Earth Day, Princeton Hydro held an internal Water-Themed Photo Contest for its employees. We’d like to thank everyone who submitted photos this year. Overall, we received 40 gorgeous water-themed photos from our staff. We have so many talented photographers!

All photos were rated on the following criteria by three judges: Danielle Odom, Darren Rist, and Dana Patterson (see bios below).

  • Technical Quality (30%)
  • Originality (30%)
  • Artistic Merit (40%)

The winner of the Princeton Hydro 2018 Earth Day Photo Contest is…..

“Black necked stilt in Ollie’s Pond in Charlotte, Florida” by Mark Gallagher

Scroll to the bottom to see a gallery of runner-up photos.

ABOUT THE JUDGES:

Danielle Odom

Danielle has been an avid outdoorswoman and self-taught naturalist since she was a small child. In 2016, she spent four consecutive months hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, traversing over 2,000 continuous miles through the Mojave Desert, the High Sierras, volcanic terrains, old growth forests, and the Cascades. She earned her B.S. in Biology and M.S. in Environmental Studies, and taught environmental education for five years. One of her favorite lessons to teach was Conservation Photography: How Photography Helped Shape the Conservation Movement. Since the age of four she has entered and placed in local photography contests; she’s the third generation in a family of semi-professional photographers.

Darren Rist 

Some of Darren’s fondest childhood memories are of fishing with his father and brothers. He’s always loved trout fishing, but it wasn’t until his first year in college that he caught the fly fishing bug…BAD. Darren spent many painstaking hours deciding whether to go to his morning engineering classes at NJIT or the ‘entomology classes’ on one of the many trout rivers in Northern NJ. (The latter usually won out). In 2003 he found himself wanting more than just a career in automation engineering. That was when he decided to buy his first drift boat and began guiding part-time on the fabled rivers of the Catskills and Upper Delaware. Becoming a fly fishing guide has enabled Darren to blend his love of the outdoors, travel, photography, birding, teaching and of course, fly fishing. In addition to guiding, Darren provides fly casting and tying instruction, and is a past president of the North Jersey Chapter of Trout Unlimited. His photography has been published in fly fishing books and periodicals. To learn more about guided fly-fishing trips with Darren, you can reach him at dprist@earthlink.net.

Dana Patterson

As the Communications Strategist for Princeton Hydro, Dana is a passionate environmental communicator who brings a strong mix of diverse stakeholder engagement experience, coupled with values-based communication strategy. She believes photography plays a strong role in storytelling and enjoys snapping shots of birds and landscapes. She recently completed a Photography course at Camden County College, where she learned both technical and creative ways to make unique photographs. While she considers herself an amateur photographer, she placed in the Yale Chapter of the International Society of Tropical Foresters 2016 Photo Contest and is published in Wild New Jersey: Adventures in the Garden State book.

Check out the photos from last year’s photo contest here.

Celebrating Arbor Day with Friends of Exton Park

The Princeton Hydro Arbor Day planting team. Photo by George Tallman

Arbor Day dates back to the 1870’s in Nebraska, when journalist Julius Sterling Morton realized the ecological importance of trees, and proposed that all Nebraskans celebrate by having a day of planting. On April 10, 1872, the first Arbor Day was born. This tradition continued to spread from state-to-state, and after several decades, became a nationwide trend. Almost a century later, President Richard Nixon moved to officially recognize the holiday in 1970. Today, the tradition has spread worldwide, and has played a key role in environmental awareness.

To celebrate Arbor Day 2018, we teamed up with Friends of Exton Park. First, we joined their weekly morning bird walk at Exton Park to look out for spring migrants.  The group of about 25 people spotted some great birds including a Green-winged Teal, Great Blue Heron, Osprey, Red-tailed Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Virginia Rail,  Horned Lark, Yellow Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and Carolina Chickadee.  The highlight of the trip was the American Bittern, who was perfectly camouflaged along the pond’s edge.

“American Bittern” by Dana Patterson

After the two-hour bird walk, we got into the Arbor Day spirit and planted 18 native trees and shrubs in Exton Park. Lead by our Landscape Architect Cory Speroff and Senior Limnologist Mike Hartshorne, the team identified the the perfect location for each plant, mostly along the main boardwalk trail leading into the heart of the park.

Overall, everyone had a great time enjoying the beautiful weather and celebrating Arbor Day.  At Princeton Hydro, we always work with our partners and clients to design sustainable landscapes with native plants that will thrive in local ecosystems.  At project sites, our goal is to create thriving habitat for wildlife and restore our natural landscape.  We were proud to sponsor these plantings for the Friends of Exton Park and thank their volunteers for organizing this event.

Enjoy the more photos from our event below. Special shout out to George Tallman of Friends of Exton Park for sharing some of his photos with us too.

 

 

 

 

 

Musconetcong River Volunteer Cleanup

The Musconetcong Watershed Association (MWA) held its 26th Annual Musconetcong River Cleanup on April 14. Volunteers conducted cleanup efforts at various locations all along the Musconetcong River from its start at Lake Hopatcong down to where it meets the Delaware River. Princeton Hydro, a proud sponsor of the event, has investigated, designed and permitted five dam removals along the Musconetcong River.

Princeton Hydro led a volunteer team near the Warren Glen Dam site and former Hughesville Dam site. The team picked-up garbage along the road and riverbank, and pulled trash from the riverbed. In 2016, we designed and oversaw the Hughesville Dam removal and streambank restoration project, which enabled the return of American shad to the river for the first time in decades.

“We enjoyed the beautiful, warm, and sunny Saturday morning bonding with our Princeton Hydro colleagues and friends, while giving back to the Musconetcong Watershed Association,” said Geoffery Goll, President of Princeton Hydro. “Our successful partnership with MWA on multiple dam removals in critical locations has expedited the restoration and protection of the Musconetcong River.”

MWA hosts cleanups throughout the year. If you have an idea for a volunteer cleanup day, please email info@musconetcong.org.