BASKING RIDGE, NJ - The members of the Basking Ridge Business Alliance (BRBA) received a lesson from the Great Swamp Watershed Association (GSWA) on water quality at their last monthly meeting held at the Bernards Township Community Center located at 289 South Maple Ave. in Basking Ridge.

Prior to the GSWA presentation, BRBA President Ryan McCloskey of Computer Sharp discussed upcoming events and the members and guests had the opportunity to introduce themselves. Barbara Long of Wabba Travel was the meeting sponsor.

Wade Kirby, Director of Development for Great Swamp Watershed Association, said the GSWA is dedicated to land advocacy, land preservation, educational programs and "we are involved in a downstream expansion towards Newark Bay and the Summit area." 

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"Our mission is to protect and advocate for clean and healthy water for everyone," sad Sandra Lavigne, Director of Water Quality Programs. 

She explained that corporations come to volunteer and "do some great work and have a fun day." Volunteers have helped with stream restoration to improve issues of erosion and water quality, help to build a board walk, and maintain trails. "We do see real [water quality] improvement from our efforts," said Lavigne.

Lavigne said the main part of her job is water quality monitoring. They perform monitoring tests four times a year at 18 sites and gather macro invertebrate samplings. The samplings react differently to the amount of pollution in the water. They also perform bacterial monitoring in the summer. They choose sites where people access the water to make sure the bacteria isn't above the threshold the state sets. "We use volunteers for all of this," said Lavigne. She said that climate change has impacted the water quality due to heavy rain and late season snow. 

They also perform visual assessments twice a year to assess the stream and what is going on around it, she said. "Is there a lot of erosion? Is there trash? Is there dumping?" They hold volunteer training sessions twice a year. 

She told the room of professionals the largest issue impacting the fresh water streams is micro plastics [broken down bottles and film plastic]. "One of the highest spots was Basking Ridge," she said. They have a grant to do a more in depth study. "We all need to address -- [but] how do you begin to address the issue on stopping micro plastics from coming in? Better recycling, cutting down on film plastic." She said that microfibers were also found through their sampling. She explained that microfibers get into the streams mostly from non-natural fabrics going through the washing machine, such as a warm fleece throw blanket. "Waste water treatment plants were not designed to capture this. Everyone is working on it -- but we need to be aware of that." 

Visit the GSWA website to learn more about their programs and how you can help them to achieve their mission to protect water and land for a healthier environment now and for the future.

The BRBA's next monthly meeting will be held at 8 a.m. on May 14 at Delicious Heights Outpost, 185 Madisonville Road in Basking Ridge. Visit the BRBA website for more information. 

Upcoming Events (RSVP for all BRBA events to: events@ridgebusiness.org

4/30 Networking Night at Delicious Heights Outpost

5/14 Monthly Meeting at Delicious Heights Outpost

5/18 Charter Day 

5/30 BRBA/SCBP Networking Night at The Bernards Inn