A group of concerned folks from Summit and Berkeley Heights is leading a volunteer effort to clean up their stretch of the Passaic. Their focus is conservation and recreation. The group’s first meeting will be held on Monday, November 30 at 7:30pm at the Summit City Hall (512 Springfield Avenue). Residents and Passaic River lovers welcome. The nonprofit Passaic River Coalition, the oldest Passaic River advocacy group, is offering professional guidance for the project, which is supported by the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions and the New Jersey-based Geraldine Dodge Foundation.
A big shout out to the Passaic River communities of Summit, New Providence and Berkeley Heights. They are the first three New Jersey municipalities to ban the use of phosphorous lawn fertilizers and restrict when and how residents can use other lawn fertilizing products. (Excess phosphorous stimulates the growth of algae and other aquatic plants that can foul waterways.) The new fertilizer rules are part of the NJ Department of Environmental Protection’s push to limit the runoff of chemicals into the state’s rivers and streams. The DEP wants all communities in the eight Passaic River counties – Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex and Union – to follow suit. Enforcing the new bans may be trickier than passing them, said Summit Councilman Tom Getzendanner: “We aren’t going to have environmental police running around.” But if community officials make an effort to educate their constituents about the dangers of phosphorous lawn fertilizers and introduce them to effective, biodegradable alternatives, Passaic River communities may just police themselves. Peter Grant, Director of Horticulture and Site Preservation at the Summit Arboretum, is taking the first step in that direction by offering two workshops on how to have a beautiful lawn and still comply with the new no-phosphorous regs.
Grant’s workshops are Wednesday, Sept 30th at 7:00 pm and Saturday, October 3rd at 10 am. No charge for Summit residents. To register call 908.273.8787, ext 1414.