SOMERVILLE, NJ - The Borough will commemorate Earth Day April 22 with a stream bank clean-up and native species planting along the banks of the Peters Brook between East High Street and East Cliff Street.

Volunteers are needed and are asked to meet at 9 a.m. at Somerville High School. There will be a short orientation before departing for the project area. Work begins at 10 a.m. and will end at noon.

Volunteers are advised to wear work clothes and bring gloves, boots and all-weather outwear.

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Inclement weather or high water conditions may require a rescheduling of the event.

The local event is a joint project of the Somerville Environmental Commission, the Boy Scouts of America and the New Jersey Water Supply Authority. It is being held in conjunction with Earth Day activities across the United States and around the world, including the March for Science in Washington, DC.

The Peters Brook runs through the center of the borough providing a natural green seam that connects Somerville’s neighborhoods. The confluence of the Peters Brook with the Raritan River is about three miles upstream of the New Jersey American Water Company intake that provides treatment and distribution of more than 124 million gallons of water daily to New Jersey residents.

The source water for water purveyors including NJ American Water is susceptible to impairment from bacteria such as fecal coliform and E. coli and other pathogens, pH fluctuations, excessive nutrients that cause algae blooms and high amounts of sediment.

Sediment bars and erosion are evident along much of the Peters Brook. These fine silty-loam sediments can store and transport phosphorus and bacteria loads that add to the storm water pollution of the Raritan River.

Volunteers will clean debris from the waterway and the banks alongside the brook, and will do some plantings to help strengthen the banks and prevent erosion.

The plants’ roots will create a matting that helps to bind the soil; the plants will improve the aesthetics of the waterway and provide wildlife habitat.