NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Debbie Mans has spent her career fighting to protect New Jersey waterways and the state’s environment. Last February she was appointed deputy director of the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Earlier this month, at the Sustainable Raritan River Awards at Rutgers University, Mans received the Leadership award to recognize her years of work.

“Debbie Mans has provided key leadership on numerous issues related to the Raritan Watershed in several governmental and non-governmental roles during the course of the last several decades,” the university said in a statement about the award.
 
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Mans previously served an an environmental policy adviser to Gov. Jon Corzine. She had worked at the Watershed Institute of the Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association, and was the NY-NJ Baykeeper from 2011 until her appointment as deputy director of the DEP.

The Sustainable Raritan River awards were established in 2010 to recognize and promote efforts for protecting the rivers, streams and habitat of the Raritan River and Bay.

Rutgers this month also honored university professor Jean Marie Hartman, who received the Public Education award for classes she developed tp have  students to conduct their graduate research along the river.

Hartmann has also reached out to government, research and non-profit agencies to assist local organizations in implements goals to improve water quality and the habitat along the river, the university said.

A Non-Profit Innovation Award was given to Raritan Headwaters Association for research done over the last 23 years.

Association staff members and volunteers have collected habitat data at over 63 sites on streams and rivers in the Upper Raritan Watershed Region of Hunterdon, Morris and Somerset Counties.

Rutgers also honored Captain Paul Eidman, of Reeltherapy fishing charters in Sandy Hook, giving him the Citizen Action Award for work to monitor and protect marine species in the Rarity Bay and surrounding waterways.

Eidman has been involved in a series of lawsuits, on occasion being the lead plaintiff, challenging the overfishing by commercial harvesters, and pushing federal agencies to strengthen protection of key species.

The Sustainable Rarity River Collaborative is a network of over 130 organization, government agencies and businesses working to restore the river and balance social, economic and environmental needs.

This year the awards committee included Michael Catania, executive director of the Duke Farms Foundation, William Kibler, director policy for the Raritan  Headwaters, and Greg Remaud, Baykeeper and chief executive officer of the NY-NJ Baykeeper.