Inspired by Rutgers New Brunswick Strategic Plan, and the Chancellors’ vision for Rutgers to become a better steward of the Raritan, the Consortium is focused on enhancing the student experience, promoting and facilitating research on Raritan issues, facilitating access to the Raritan, and helping to provide open access to data about the Raritan and its resources.
Rutgers students often perceive the Raritan River as a barrier that makes it hard to get between campuses. The Consortium is working to enhance the student experience by creating a stronger connection to the Raritan. We are working to transform the Raritan Basin into an academic solution, an interactive field laboratory that links science, engineering, and humanities programs through interdisciplinary classes, projects and activities. Through this effort, we hope to provide students with the opportunity to see first hand and apply the concepts that are addressed in their courses. Ultimately, these experiences give them a better sense of their local environment and how it fits into the larger world. Learn more here.
The Raritan Basin is a unique laboratory, ripe with opportunities for interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary research. The Basin is the largest contained within the state of New Jersey and is not only home to 1.5 million people but also Rutgers University, New Brunswick. While the upper basin in the Highlands is largely unpolluted—containing major drinking water reservoirs at Spruce Run and Round Valley—industrial development within the lower basin has left a legacy of 24 Superfund sites within a few miles of the river. Thus, the Raritan provides a diverse landscape with a variety of local ecosystems more or less modified by human intervention over hundreds of years.
The Consortium is working to connect faculty, staff, students, and Raritan stakeholders and to support ongoing research. In doing so, we hope to gain a greater understanding of how the Raritan River has changed over time and how we can inform planning and decision making throughout the Basin. Read more about our research efforts here.
Access to the Raritan
The Consortium is working to further connect students to the local environment and to facilitate the study of the evolving status of the Raritan River through access to the River. Rutgers launched a new 20 passenger landing craft that can navigate the lower Raritan River and estuary. The R/V Rutgers, operated by the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, provides those on board with the opportunity to experience the Raritan ecosystem firsthand and to participate in authentic research and data collection. The vessel comes equipped with instrumentation to measure water quality and quantity, such as CTDs, an ADCP, and a fluorometer. Follow this link to information about our research vessel and on-board equipment.
To further expand access to the Raritan, the R3C is partnering with Rutgers Recreation to explore opportunities for combining recreational pursuits with scientific and humanities exploits. Check back soon for more details on this exciting collaboration.
Access to Data
In addition to helping to facilitate the collection of data, the Consortium is also working to find ways for this data to be shared more broadly through online resources. While onboard the R/V Rutgers, students, researchers and other stakeholders routinely collect data on temperature, salinity, pH, dissolved oxygen, backscatter, and fluorescence within the water column. This cruise data is complemented by a real time water quality monitoring station deployed off the Rutgers boathouse. This information, along with other related data, has been integrated and made available through an open access data portal. Click here to read more about accessing or contributing to Raritan data.