On Saturday October 1, 2016, Scientists from Rutgers University Newark and MERI led a group of professional environmental scientist on a field demonstration of techniques and methods for studying coastal marsh lands. Dr. Dimitris Ntarlagiannis from Rutgers University Newark demonstrated subsurface characterization using electrical resistivity and induced polarization imaging. Dr. Francisco Artigas from MERI demonstrated sediment elevation table measurements for assessing accretion rates in the context of sea level rise. The group concluded their day with a pontoon boat tour of the Hackensack River.
Since 1993, MERI has been monitoring the water quality in the lower Meadowlands estuary. Water samples are collected seasonally at 14 predetermined locations in the estuary. MERI scientists are currently conducting the 2016 summer seasonal water quality sampling. In the field, water samples are analyzed for temperature, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, salinity, and pH. Samples are then brought back to the MERI laboratory for additional analysis. The monitored parameters are: ammonia, 5-day Biochemical Oxygen Demand, Chemical Oxygen Demand, hardness, Total Dissolved Solids, Total Suspended Solids, turbidity, fecal coliforms, chloride, bromide, nitrate, nitrite, sulfate, phosphate, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, cadmium, chromium, copper, iron, lead, zinc, manganese, nickel and mercury. The MERI lab is an NJDEP certified laboratory with state of the art instrumentation and past measurements are available to the public through the MERI web page under environmental monitoring.
Scientist from MERI have been taking advantage of the good weather to do maintenance work on its water quality monitoring network. Three stations located strategically near Kearny, at Saw Mill Creek and at the Barge Marina along the lower Hackensack river continuously measure water quality parameters. Hourly measurements of dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH, turbidity, salinity and water elevation are relayed via cell phone and posted on MERI’s web site under environmental monitoring in almost real time. The network has been monitoring water quality since 2004. All past and current measurements are available under environmental monitoring in MERI’s web page www.meri.njmeadowlands.gov.
Location: 2 De Korte Park Plaza, Lyndhurst NJ 07071
On July 6, 2016 the Meadowlands Environmental Research Institute (MERI) and The New York-New Jersey Harbor and Estuary (HEP) will host a public workshop concerning the needs of local watershed. The workshop was designed to get the public involved in shaping the New York-New Jersey Harbor and Estuary agenda. The agenda includes the guidance of HEP’s 2017 funding and research capacities as well as improving the restoration and protection of local watershed.
Location: 2 DeKorte Park Plaza Lyndhurst, NJ 07071
On June 17, 2016 the Meadowlands Environmental Research Institute (MERI) hosted the Measurement of Tidal Wetlands Impairments for Acquisition and Enhancement workshop, a study that was sponsored by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The workshop was held at the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority Headquarters in Lyndhurst, NJ and was attended by federal and NJ state officials as well as environmental professionals and NGO’s. After the workshop participants took a boat tour of the Meadowlands. Presentations were made by the following participants:
Francisco Artigas, MERI. Opening Comments and Conclusion
Ross Feltes, NJSEA. Institutional Perspective
Claus Holzapfel, Rutgers University. Patterns of Diversity in Urban Tidal Marshes
Sal Kojak, MERI. Topography and Hydrology
Ildiko Pechmann, MERI. Hyperspectral Image Classification and Habitat Fragmentation
On Thursday, June 9, 2016 Dr. Francisco Artigas represented the Meadowlands Environmental Research Institute (MERI) at the New Jersey Soil Science Workshop. The workshop was sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture and held at Rutgers University–New Brunswick Cook Campus. Dr. Artigas presented information on the Meadowlands and the state of its soil which included analysis of marsh surface elevation and accretion rate of change. The purpose of the workshop was to bring together USDA-NRCS soil survey cooperators and others involved in soil science in the NJ area for updates on products, services, and activities.
The Meadowlands Environmental Research Institute (MERI) is proud to announce its 2016 summer interns. Interns started after Memorial Day weekend and will work until their respective fall semesters begin. Interning in the MERI laboratory is Danielle Heaney who attends Rutgers University-New Brunswick and Lauren Beglin of Fordham University, together they are analyzing PCB and heavy metal levels in the soil at the Secaucus High School Marsh. Interning in the MERI office is Ithaca College student Calvin Yohannan who is aiding Dr. Francisco Artigas with various projects including the EPA sponsored Benthic Biodiversity and Benthic Pollutant Loads grant.
Alexander Cid and Rachel Amasah-Dsani are spending the summer at the MERI through the Rutgers University – Newark Dynamic Urban Environmental Systems and Sustainability research experience program. Alexander Cid attends Hudson County Community College and is engaged in heavy metal analysis in sediment in the vicinity of tide gates. Rachel Amasah-Dsani is enrolled at Union County College and is analyzing cations and anions from pore water in sediment’s. Alex and Rachel will conclude their internships with an end of the summer presentation where they will present their findings.
Location: 2 De Korte Park Plaza, Lyndhurst NJ 07071
Austin Hong is a junior at Georgetown University and is at MERI for the summer examining N2O flux across several wetland variables including; elevation, surface type, and pore water quality. N2O emissions are powerful contributors to the greenhouse effect and may increase in wetland environments in response to both climate change and planned resilience strategies. Hong’s goal’s are to better understand the timing and conditions that facilitate N2O emissions in the wetlands, as well as to pilot the sampling and testing methods for larger, long-term MERI projects studying greenhouse gas flux. The flux chambers Hong is using to collect his samples are located at the Secaucus High School Marsh.
Location: Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association
On May 19, 2016 the Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association hosted the New Jersey Water Monitoring Council. The Meadowlands Environmental Research Institute (MERI) was invited to present on geospatial tools for monitoring tidal wetlands in the Hackensack Meadowlands. The purpose of the workshop was to bring together wetland and water quality experts to report and discuss on the state of the New Jersey surface waters and wetlands and what steps can be taken to further the knowledge and improvement of these areas.
The New Jersey County Planners Association (NJCPA) hosted its regular meeting on February 19, 2016 at Thompson Park Visitor Center in Lincroft, NJ. Dom Elefante of MERI, illustrated the life cycle of a development permit from a GIS planning perspective. His presentation highlighted how permit tracking software and GIS are used to find property records and identify potential environmental constraints in the form of riparian claims and proximity to wetlands.