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The New Jersey Water Supply Authority (NJWSA) has recertified Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) as a “River-Friendly Business,” celebrating the College’s efforts to promote clean water and a healthy ecosystem in New Jersey’s Raritan River Basin.

“RVCC has worked with NJWSA since their initial certification in 2011 to conduct activities that help to improve water quality in the Raritan River Basin,” said Kathy Hale, principal watershed protection specialist at the NJWSA. “Both students and staff continue to contribute to the environmental stewardship that is occurring on the campus.”

When it rains, runoff carries pollutants such as litter, oil, soil, and hazardous substances into waterways. This type of pollution, known as non-point source pollution, poses a great threat to water quality locally and across the nation and can be controlled by land management activities. Through actions related to water conservation, water quality, wildlife and habitat enhancement, and education and outreach, participants in the River Friendly program work to reduce the amount of non-point source pollution that enters local waterways.

RVCC’s River Friendly Business designation is based on activities and programs at the College’s Branchburg campus. For example, RVCC staff, members of the Environmental Club, and other students have improved stream riparian corridors, native plant communities, and wildlife habitat on campus by planting native trees and pollinator plants, seeding a wildflower meadow and native grasses, and maintaining deer “exclosures” and no-mow areas.

The college also installed a second rainwater harvesting system and hosted Eagle Scout projects to install bat houses, a rainwater irrigation system for the Enabling Garden, and a nature trail. RVCC worked directly with the NJWSA on its River-Friendly certification.

This is one of several recognitions the College has received this year for its sustainability efforts. RVCC was recently ranked as the No. 1 two-year college in the U.S. for its sustainability initiatives, and received a STARS Gold rating, by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. This is the eighth year in a row that RVCC has been recognized nationally for its sustainability efforts by AASHE.

NJWSA operates the Raritan Water Supply Complex that provides drinking water in central New Jersey; staff collaborate with the River Friendly Partnership and other stakeholders to protect drinking water resources in the Raritan River Basin through the River Friendly Business, Golf Course, Community Partner, School, and resident programs.

For additional information about the River Friendly Program, visit www.njriverfriendly.org

NJWSA is a member of the River Friendly Partnership, a consortium of clean water organizations in the Raritan River Basin composed of NJWSA, The Watershed Institute, Raritan Headwaters Association, and the River Friendly Technical Advisory Committee.

RVCC, a longtime NJBIA member, is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg.

Photo Caption: RVCC Center for Environmental Studies intern Haley Weber works on a stream at the College’s Branchburg campus.  Photo courtesy of RVCC.