Task Force to Get Its Hands Wet Assessing NJ’s Aging Water System

What should the state do about the aging system used to deliver drinking water to homes, schools, and businesses?… "We lack consensus standards on how good or bad our systems are," said Daniel Van Abs, an associate professor at Rutgers University, speaking at an NJ Spotlight roundtable this spring.

Read the entire article at NJ Spotlight »

Drinking Water Panel Delays Recommending Safe Limit on Toxic Chemical

With rising fears about the presence of toxins in drinking water, local advocates say the scientific panel that is charged with recommending safety standards for New Jersey’s drinking water may be dragging its feet… Advocates questioned why the group had to meet in private and complained about another delay. Dr. Keith Cooper, a Rutgers University toxicologist who chairs the DWQI, said during the public portion of the meeting that it was necessary to also hold a closed session to evaluate the findings of three subcommittees (on health effects, detection, and treatment), and so that members could speak freely. The panel has met in closed session before, Cooper said. "In reality, we can go into closed session any time we want."

Read the entire article at NJ Spotlight »

Claim that jet stream crossing equator is ‘climate emergency’ is utter nonsense

Two bloggers have made a stunning claim that has spread like wildfire on the Internet: They say the Northern Hemisphere jet stream, the high-altitude river of winds that separates cold air from warm air, has done something new and outrageous. They say it has crossed the equator, joining the jet stream in the Southern Hemisphere. One said this signifies that the jet stream is ‘wrecked’, the other said it means we have a ‘global climate emergency’. To be clear, the hypothesis that global warming is destabilizing the polar jet stream is a legitimate idea that has been published in peer-reviewed journals,though it remains controversial. But even the scientist who developed the hypothesis, Jennifer Francis, a professor of meteorology at Rutgers University, suggested it had been misapplied by Scribbler and Beckwith. "I’d say cross-equator flow cannot be unprecedented, maybe not even all that unusual," she said.

Read the entire article at The Washington Post »

Is North Jersey headed for a drought? Reservoir levels falling fast

Nobody is pushing the panic button just yet, but with drier-than-normal conditions and higher-than-average temperatures over the past few weeks, state officials are carefully monitoring reservoir levels as they begin to drop… "We really don’t have any margin for error in the precipitation department because we’re seeing very low stream flow for this time of year," New Jersey state climatologist at Rutgers University Dave Robinson said. "Ground water is dropping and the reservoirs in the northern part of the state are starting to drop at a rate that’s a little faster than their normal decline."

Read the entire article at New Jersey 101.5 »

N.J. white oak – one of the oldest in the county – reportedly may be dying

Even before there was a Basking Ridge, NJ, there was the oak tree. George Washington picnicked in its shade. Gen. Jean Baptist de Rochambeau and allied French troops marched past it on the way to the Battle of Yorktown, Va. Thirty five Revolutionary War veterans are buried beneath its branches… "We had great hopes," Pastor Dennis Jones told the Post. "All eyes were on the tree to see how it would green." When it didn’t last month, when even more of its upper branches stayed bare, other experts were consulted. They tested the soil, probed the tree’s roots, checked for beetles and disease. Jason Grabosky, an ecologist at Rutgers University, inspected the tree in mid-June and declared it to be "in a spiral of decline."

Read the entire article at The Philadelphia Inquirer »

The oldest white oak tree in the country is dying — and no one knows why

Well before Columbus sailed to the New World and even before Gutenberg invented the printing press, there grew a great oak tree in a land that would one day be called New Jersey… "We had great hopes," said Dennis Jones, the pastor at Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church. "All eyes were on the tree to see how it would green." When it didn’t last month, when even more of its upper branches stayed bare, other experts were consulted. They tested the soil, probed the tree’s roots, checked for beetles and disease. Jason Grabosky, an ecologist at Rutgers University, inspected the tree in mid-June and declared it, after more than 600 years, to be "in a spiral of decline."

Read the entire article at The Washington Post »

What’s your summer reading list?

Rutgers Today wondered what books are on the top of faculty’s and staff’s must-read lists for the next few months. Some of the answers are below… Joan Bennett, professor, Department Plant Biology and Pathology, and senior faculty adviser in the Office for the Promotion of Women in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics, New Brunswick:  "A former student sent me a paperback copy of Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis. Although I have read it before, because it is the best novel ever written about a microbiologist, I plan to read it again." Thomas Leustek, associate dean for Academic Administration and Assessment, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, New Brunswick: I am planning to read Concrete Planet: The Strange and Fascinating Story of the World’s Most Common Man-Made Material, by Robert Courland. Mark Gregory Robson, Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor and chair of Plant Biology and Pathology at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences: I have two books for my global travels. First is Forty Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World by Howard Buffett. The second book is The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults by Frances E. Jensen. 

Read the entire article at MyCentralJersey.com »

Open Divisions and Exhibits at 4-H Fair Mean Everyone Can Experience the Fun

Not a member of 4-H but still want to show off a project at the Cape May County 4-H Fair? The open division is for you! The youth and adult open divisions at the 4-H Fair offer numerous opportunities for participants who aren’t a member of 4-H to take home a ribbon… Linda Horner, 4-H Program Coordinator said, "Our goal is to increase interest in the fair by showcasing projects created by people in our community that aren’t members of 4-H and at the same time give them an opportunity to be a part of the 4-H Fair."

Read the entire article at Cape May County Herald »

Learn how rain gardens cut costs and reduce runoff on tour of sites in Summit, Springfield, Clark, Rahway and Mountainside

Members of the public have a unique opportunity to see the benefits of rain gardens, porous pavements and other examples of green infrastructure, by joining a half-day bus tour of sustainable landscaping at five sites in Summit, Springfield, Clark, Rahway and Mountainside… The green infrastructure tour will take place on Tuesday July 19 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., conducted by experts from Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County and the Rahway River Watershed Association.

Read the entire article at NJ.com »

The Jersey Shore and rising environmental threats

The effects of Superstorm Sandy still reverberate to this day. The storm highlighted the need to better prepare for major weather events, as well as the need to implement more effective rebuilding strategies so that residents and vacationers alike won’t relive the treacherousness of four years ago. Today on Radio Times, we discuss how the governments and the residents of the Shore are preparing for another potential disaster, and the likelihood of that taking place. We discuss all of this with College of New Jersey professor of sociology DIANE C. BATES. We’ll also be joined by Rutgers University’s DAVID ROBINSON who is the state climatologist for New Jersey, and by reporter MARYANN SPOTO who covers Monmouth and Ocean Counties for NJ.com The Star-Ledger.

Read the entire article at WHYY »