Cleanup finished at north end of Forsythe refuge, but work goes on in Stafford

A cleanup of Hurricane Sandy debris in the Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge will extend into the fall after more debris was found than anticipated, officials said…Refuge Manager Virginia Rettig told the Press in May that chemicals found on the refuge include window cleaner, bleach, solvents, paints and stains, paint strippers, weed killers and insecticides. Mike Kennish a research professor for the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University cautioned against leaving these items in the refuge. Kennish warned that toxic substances and chemicals could infiltrate the food chain and kill marsh grasses, and organisms could pick up the substances and bring them into the salt marsh habitat.

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New Jersey peach crop arriving late but with top quality fruit

Jersey peaches are being shipped to market, a little late but in time for peach parties and pie contests around the state…The crop was slow to develop thanks to a particularly cold winter. But adequate rainfall and lots of sunny weather has meant top quality fruit, said Jerry Frecon, a retired agricultural agent and professor emeritus at Rutgers University, who is a consultant for the New Jersey Peach Promotion Council.

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Smallest farms becoming rarer in New Jersey

Strings dangling from a greenhouse-like tunnel dance when a breeze blows through Shirley Kline’s small farm, a wisp of rural beauty in a cantaloupe patch. The moment is not lost on the world-traveled farmer of 6 acres in Stow Creek Township, Cumberland County. "If you don’t take pleasure in being out here and working and getting your hands dirty, this isn’t the life for you," she said. Kline represents a dwindling portion of New Jersey agriculture – the smallest acreage farms…Richard VanVranken, Atlantic County’s agricultural agent with Rutgers University, said those five years measured in the latest census were tough for agriculture. "The last couple of years had turned around and were quite good, but the previous five years were tough, with low prices in markets for vegetables and gluts in the market," he said.

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Delays in cleaning Forsythe could lead to environmental problems, scientist warns

Delays in cleaning up Hurricane Sandy debris at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge could create environmental problems there, a Rutgers University scientist said. Household chemicals have been found during an ongoing Fish and Wildlife Service-funded cleanup at the refuge. The cleanup was expected to have been finished by now but will not be completed until at least the fall, refuge Manager Virginia Rettig said…Household chemicals are a troubling thing for a natural environment such as a salt marsh at the refuge, said Michael Kennish, a research professor for the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University. "It’s very difficult to get chemicals out of the sediments and to get the habitat cleaned out," he said.

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It’s sneezing season: With pollen levels likely to be high this year, allergy sufferers prepare for the worst

Elise Waldman, of Linwood, lives her life, but her allergies don’t make it easy. Every day, all year long, Waldman takes the over-the-counter medication Zyrtec for her hay fever and allergy symptoms. She doesn’t open the windows at her home. Shoes are left at the door from the spring through the fall. Waldman does a great deal of gardening, but the clothes go straight to the washing machine afterward…Pollen counts at the beginning of April 2012 reached 4,500 per cubic meter of air, higher than in recent years, said Leonard Bielory, director of STARx Allergy and Asthma Center. LLC, and professor, Rutgers University, Center for Environmen-tal Prediction. A pollen count is the number of grains of pollen collected during a 24-hour period in a cubic meter of air. Last year’s high was on May 6 with 10,930 grains per cubic meter of air, Bielory said.

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