MERI

MERI AWARDED EPA FY14 GRANT for $215,239

 

MERI has been awarded an EPA grant in the amount of $215,239 to conduct a study titles Benthic Biodiversity and Benthic Pollutants in Emergent Marshes of the NJ Meadowlands.

The proposed study will look at benthic diversity and population density at two wetland sites and contaminant loads associated with the benthic community at three other wetland sites in the Meadowlands. This study will complement historical baselines of sediment contamination and benthic diversity providing new and updated information critical to the future enhancement and management of these highly impacted urban coastal wetlands.




Unmanned Autonomous Vehicle (UAV) presentation by Steve Cohen

 

Steven Cohen demonstrated to MERI Staff the latest drone technology for acquisition of aerial imagery and video.

Steve coordinates the Unmanned Autonomous Vehicle (UAS) and Mechatronics Education STEM GPS program  at Bergen County Community College (BCC). A future collaboration between MERI and this program would involve on the one hand, the transfer of drone technology to MERI and on the other, BCC students would be trained on image processing techniques and methods at MERI. Drone technology is quickly becoming a preferred tool for environmental monitoring and will complement MERI’s current balloon photography for monitoring estuarine plant and animal communities.




MERI hosts USAID-funded Vietnam Forests and Deltas Program

 

On October 21, 2014 MERI hosted a USAID-funded Vietnam Forests and Deltas Program facilitated by the Coastal Resources Center of the University of Rhode Island.

The objective of the study tour is to provide opportunities for Vietnamese officials and leaders to consider broader adaption strategies for rivers and deltas.  USAID encourages the tour participants to consider some of the longer-term planning challenges facing deltas, notably with sea level rise and resettlement and various water issues.   To achieve these objectives and to present innovative thinking, the US tour will visit government, business, academia and community leaders working in NY/NJ region as well as New Orleans and the Louisiana region of the Mississippi Delta.    First stop of the tour was the New Jersey Meadowlands which is considered a large urban estuary and where joint actions between a variety of actors from government, industry and communities are addressing the long-term planning challenges facing this and other estuaries and deltas because of sea level rise.




Municipal Map Training Sessions

 

MERI-GIS will be hosting a series of training sessions for In-District municipalities.

The sessions will cover how to use the Municipal Map web mapping application, to get municipal officials familiarized with new tools and to get a better understanding of the overall functionality of the tools available. The second component is the Emergency Response Information System (ERIS) which focuses on emergency planning and pre-planning.


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MAC-URISA Conference, Oct 22-24

 

MERI, the scientific arm of the NJ Meadowlands Commission shared valuable work related to the Meadowlands region at the Mid Atlantic Chapter of URISA.

This marked the 17th bi-annual MAC-URISA Conference that provides technology-rich moderated sessions, workshops and networking opportunities for GIS professionals. Studies presented by MERI ranged from spatially explicit flood modeling efforts to Balloon photography of wetlands, GIS and permitting workflow, Hyperspectral remote sensing of marsh vegetation and estuary sediment movement patterns.


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Summer Interns 2014

 

This summer MERI staffed 7 interns working in various research projects of the institute.

Samantha Calderon (Bloomfield H.S.) and Marielly Pena (Newark Tech) were brought to us through the  program  “Explore NJ” for High School students interested in environmental science. Samantha will begin her first year at Bryn Athyn College in Pennsylvania and Marielly is a returning junior at Newark Tech.

Omar Morgan studied under our “Senior Experience” program throughout the school year as well as this summer. He graduated in  June from Bergen Academy and will begin his college career at Boston University.

Brian Wlodowski & Maulik Patel will return to college this fall.  Brian is a 3rd year student at Ramapo College and Maulik will begin his 2nd year at TCNJ.

Isabella Martin will return to Bergen Academy as a Senior and Sumin Lim who was brought to us through Liberty Science Center’s “Partners in Science” program is a senior at East Brunswick High School.




Mechanical Invasive Species Control

 

Every year in August a team of MERI scientists with help from a landscaping crew mechanically remove the invasive Phragmites at the Riverbend Wetland Preserve site to prevent the collapse of the native plant community. Portions of the site currently support a mixture of native high saltmarsh vegetation, dominated by saltmarsh hay (Spartina patens). Other areas consist of open water and dense monocultures of common reed (Phragmites australis).


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Sediment Movement in Tidal Creeks

 

MERI scientists recently completed the first installation of a stage-velocity measuring station at a tidal creek in the Secaucus High School Wetlands Enhancement Site.

These measurements are part of an EPA Wetlands Development grant designed to measure impairments to wetland function in the Meadowlands. For coastal wetlands to remain functional and continue to provide valuable ecosystems services such as effective buffer areas against flooding and support high levels of biodiversity  they must keep up with sea level rise.


Stage-Velocity Measuring Station setup



Three thousand year old ecosystems buried in the Meadowlands of New Jersey

 

Scientists from the Meadowlands Environmental Research Institute will be traveling back in time 3000 years to look at the composition of the first wetlands to become established in the Meadowlands of New Jersey.

Using a Russian Peat sampler scientists can go back in time and extract sediment core samples buried thousands of  years ago containing pollen grains, plant seeds and plant fragments. Tree branches from the original forested fresh water wetlands were recently collected from 17 feet deep samples at the Lyndhurst Riverside Marsh near the New Jersey Turnpike between exists 15 and 16. Carbon 14 dating revealed that some of the first wetlands to become established in the Meadowlands of New Jersey after that last glaciation period date back to 3000 years ago.


Stage-Velocity Measuring Station setup



Municipal DPW Dashboard

 

Through this on-line dashboard, towns can view and report information and location of on municipal infrastructures such as catchbasins, manholes, stormwater lines and outfalls.

Using the online Dashboard municipal workers can view location, orientation and existing conditions. Operators in the field can fill out reports and photos on the fly. It is a helpful tool to report back to DEP which requires detailed inventories of stormwater features, or for internal municipal DPW record keeping. Piloting the application is the Borough of East Rutherford. Municipalities wishing to use the system can access the site using existing ERIS account. If you need further assistance or access accounts, please contact the GIS Department.


DPW Dashboard

Figure 1: Access to the mapping site shows various infrastructures, including attributes