WMA 5 Ambassador Update

Teaching the Effects of People Pollution


By Elyse Levy


I have been working with teachers from Bayonne to Tenafly to help bring a greater understanding of what a watershed is, and the impacts humans have on their local environment through non-point source pollution, which is a fancy term for people pollution. Things we do on a daily basis, both knowingly and unknowing, contribute to the impairment of our waterways. When it rains everything that has been left on the land within the watershed flows down the storm drain and is often discharged to the nearest waterway. By modifying our personal day-to-day behavior, we can have a positive effect on the health of our watershed.


I am also spending time out in the field, citing areas of concern to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protections, by doing visual and biological stream assessments. So I strap on my waders and walk miles of streambed to see what is going on, or seine for macroinvertebrate populations in the stream.  This helps to determine how the surrounding land use is affecting the habitat and water quality in the stream. As you can imagine, it is hard to pinpoint specific causal relationships in such a complex ecosystem, but it gives a good perspective of the health of the watershed. Currently, I am concentrating on the Pascack Brook and its tributaries.

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