Every year, each of the 20 watershed districts in New Jersey has a representative, or Watershed Ambassador. These districts cross many boundaries of municipalities and counties, being the area from which water gathers and flows through many streams, lakes, rivers and eventually out to sea. Galloway Township is mostly in Watershed Management Area # 14, the Mullica River and its tributaries. The Watershed Ambassador is an AmeriCorps position, through the NJ DEP’s Water Monitoring Division.
These Ambassadors are typically recent college graduates who are “testing the waters” of various environmental fields and interests. Their year of service runs from August through July to co-ordinate with most school years.
This past term (August 2020 through July 2021), the Mullica River Watershed Ambassador for the Mullica River district has been Chris Roan. Chris spent two years at Rowan College of South Jersey in Glassboro, then two years to graduation at Rider University near the Trenton area. He graduated from there with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science.
Chris signed on with AmeriCorps and was assigned to the base of operations for the Mullica program; which is the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve (JCNERR), on Great Bay Boulevard in Tuckerton, which is near the Tuckerton Seaport. His term has been entirely within the historic period of the Covid-19 pandemic. Through a combination of personal protection measures, virtual communications and ingenuity, Chris managed to serve his term admirably. He was able to participate in stream health assessments and other water quality science monitoring. The studies of macroinvertebrates in streams, caught by seining or netting, is a reliable and very important test of pollution levels; along with other chemical and physical analytics. Part of that analysis is now for the presence of microplastics in the water samplings.
Chris worked, via online platforms like ZOOM, with elementary and middle schools to give his educational presentations. He also worked with students and local environmental groups on litter cleanups. He partnered with the South Jersey Chapter of Surfrider to install recycling receptacles for used monofilament fishing line and tackle; placing them at popular spots along Great Bay Boulevard (Seven Bridges Road), from Tuckerton out to the Rutgers University Marine Field Station (RUMFS).
I can attest to Chris’ willingness to help with local projects. When I asked for some help for our Green Team in removing invasive plants from the Glenn By The Bay Park property, Chris showed up several times for work sessions, once bringing along two more Watershed Ambassadors who also pitched in !
Chris says that his AmeriCorps term year was definitely a challenge, but he is grateful for the chance to step up, to show up, and to deliver. Working with his Ambassador contemporaries as well as with established researchers in the field and labs was very rewarding.
Chris Roan will be winding up his duties this month and then heading off to the next level of college. He will be attending the University of North Carolina and will be pursuing a Master’s Degree in geoscience with an emphasis on Earth processes and global changes.
We say “Thanks, Chris” and wish you well on your journey.
Go Green Galloway is a volunteer organization dedicated to reducing the carbon footprint of Galloway through the promotion of energy efficiency and conservation, environmental education and the implementation of sustainable practices. We always welcome new volunteer members. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Mary at 609-742-7076. Also be sure to like our Facebook page.