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Welcome to the 21st Annual NJ Land Conservation Rally!

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Healthy Land Healthy Water [clear filter]
Friday, March 17

10:30am EDT

Landscaping for Healthy Water with Jersey-Friendly Yards
What we do in our own yards and neighborhoods determines how clean our water is for drinking and how healthy our waterways are for fishing and swimming.  By making smart landscaping choices, we can transform our yards into natural ”sponges” to capture stormwater and reduce the “people” pollution carried into our rivers and bays.  
Jersey-Friendly Yards (www.jerseyyards.org) is an easy-to-use, online source of information about how to landscape for a healthy environment in New Jersey. The website provides state-specific resources for reducing use of fertilizers and pesticides, conserving water, planting native species, creating habitat for wildlife, and improving overall yard health.  Users can search the Plant Database and create a custom plant list for conditions on their own property. 
Karen Walzer and Becky Laboy will showcase the website’s resources and practical applications, including the results of several landscaping projects implemented at Homeowner Associations and at branches of OceanFirst Bank.

avatar for Becky Laboy

Becky Laboy

Education Outreach Specialist, Ocean County Soil Conservation District
As the Education Outreach Specialist for the Ocean County Soil Conservation District, Becky connects the local community to the soil through programs, workshops and grant projects.  She also shares her knowledge of avian wildlife leading birding trips on behalf of the Ocean County... Read More →
avatar for Karen Walzer

Karen Walzer

Public Outreach Coordinator, Barnegat Bay Partnership
Karen is the Public Outreach Coordinator for the Barnegat Bay Partnership (BBP), a National Estuary Program. She manages the BBP’s communication initiatives and educational programs. Karen has a B.S. degree in Biology from Bucknell University and is a licensed NJ Registered Environmental... Read More →

Friday March 17, 2017 10:30am - 11:45am EDT
Garden State Ballroom A First Floor

2:00pm EDT

Clean Water Supply for New Jersey
Climate change and over use are having a dramatic effect on New Jersey’s clean water supply. Get information on the status of NJ’s major reservoirs, rivers and aquifers. Excessive water withdrawals in coastal areas and sea level rise means that salt water is intruding into fresh water supplies; increasingly frequent droughts are decreasing the amount of available water; groundwater withdrawals are impacting wetlands and streamflow, and large amounts of impervious cover inhibit groundwater recharge. 

There are, however, actions that can be taken to protect and restore our drinking water sources before it’s too late, including promoting land preservation, water conservation, supporting shifts in agricultural water use, fixing leaking water lines, and more. This session will also include an update on the status of the State Water Supply Plan, and what municipalities can do to support releasing the data to the public.

  • Participants who successfully complete this educational program will be awarded 1 NJ Public Health Continuing Education Contact Hour (CEs). 
  • New Jersey Conservation Foundation has been approved by the New Jersey Department of Health as a provider of New Jersey Public Health Continuing Education Contact Hours (CEs).   


Richard Bizub

Director for Water Programs, Pinelands Preservation Alliance
Rich joined PPA in 1997. Rich has been employed in the water resources field since 1979. Prior to joining PPA he worked as a geologic consultant responsible for designing and conducting investigations related to both water quality and water supply planning. During that time he was... Read More →
avatar for Raymond Cywinski

Raymond Cywinski

Manager, Suez Water New Jersey
BS degree in Forestry (Cook College, Rutgers University). Completed course work toward a Masters in Environmental Science, also at Cook College. Ray has worked at Suez for nearly 38 years primarily dealing with raw water quality, environmental and land use regulations and natural... Read More →
avatar for Pierre Lacombe

Pierre Lacombe

Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey
Pierre Lacombe is a hydrologist with the US Geological Survey and has investigated groundwater levels and saltwater intrusion in New Jersey for more than 30 years. Pierre has written extensively on saltwater intrusion issues in Cape May County and many other NJ Coastal Plain coun... Read More →

Friday March 17, 2017 2:00pm - 3:15pm EDT
Conference Room B Second Floor

2:00pm EDT

Land Stewardship through the River-Friendly Programs
In this workshop, attendees will learn all about the River-Friendly Certification Programs from the organizations that coordinate them. Starting with an overview of water quality in New Jersey and its close connection to land use, presenters will describe the process for developing and implementing the suite of engaging programs for residents, schools, businesses and golf courses. This session will highlight accomplishments of the River-Friendly Programs in the Raritan Basin watersheds, including the Stony Brook-Millstone, Raritan Headwaters and Lower Raritan, while diving deeper into some site-specific projects that embody the “River-Friendly” principles of water quality management, water conservation, wildlife habitat enhancement and education. To conclude, there will be an unveiling of new resources available for other organizations and future program developments.

avatar for Heather Desko

Heather Desko

Watershed Protection Specialist, NJ Water Supply Authority
Heather is a Watershed Protection Specialist for the New Jersey Water Supply Authority. She joined the Authority in 2009, after serving as an AmeriCorps NJ Watershed Ambassador for the Lower Raritan Watershed. Heather graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Boston University with a M.A. in... Read More →
avatar for Brittany Musolino

Brittany Musolino

River-Friendly Coordinator, Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association
Brittany is the River-Friendly Program Coordinator at the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association and the lead coordinator for the joint-initiative River-Friendly Certification Programs. Prior to joining the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, she completed a year-long... Read More →
avatar for Lauren Theis

Lauren Theis

Director of Education, Raritan Headwaters
Lauren Theis is the Director of Education at Raritan Headwaters, and a certified yoga instructor.  She has been in the field of conservation education for ten years, beginning with the Americorps NJ Watershed Ambassador Program in 2007. She has organized and implemented yoga and... Read More →

Friday March 17, 2017 2:00pm - 3:15pm EDT
Garden State Ballroom A First Floor

2:00pm EDT

Prioritizing and Planning Restoration and Land Preservation Targets for Water Resource Protection
Water is a common ground for many organizations working to protect our natural world and for some organizations it is the central mission.  The importance of forests and wetlands in protecting water quality and the negative effects of impervious surface and some agricultural practices on water quality are well known.  Often, preservation and restoration/BMP projects aimed at protecting water resources are done on an ad hoc basis.  In this workshop we will demonstrate that data and tools are available to prioritize and plan proactively and efficiently.  We will discuss data on land and water resources, models for prioritizing subwatersheds for preservation and restoration/BMPs, and the tools and resources (Impervious Cover Assessments and NJMap) available to municipalities, non-profit conservation groups, and agencies planning projects to protect water resources. 

 Approved for APA CM 1.25.
  • Participants who successfully complete this educational program will be awarded 1 NJ Public Health Continuing Education Contact Hour (CEs). 
  • New Jersey Conservation Foundation has been approved by the New Jersey Department of Health as a provider of New Jersey Public Health Continuing Education Contact Hours (CEs).   


James Cummins

Associate Professor of Geography and Director of Environmental Studies, Rowan University
John teaches various courses in geography, GIS and planning at Rowan University.  Holding a masters in urban planning and a masters and Ph.D. in geography from Rutgers University, Hasse's research interest focuses on land use geography and the interface of land use, environmental... Read More →

Kristi MacDonald

Director of Science, Raritan Headwaters Association
Kristi MacDonald is Director of Science at Raritan Headwaters, a non-profit conservation organization with the mission of protecting and restoring water resources in the Upper Raritan region.  She has a PhD in Ecology from Rutgers University. Her research has mainly focused on understanding... Read More →
avatar for Chris Obropta

Chris Obropta

Extension Specialist, Rutgers Cooperative Extension
Christopher C. Obropta is the Director of the New Jersey Water Resources Research Institute, an Extension Specialist in Water Resources with Rutgers Cooperative Extension, and an Associate Professor with the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers. He has a doctorate in Civil... Read More →

Friday March 17, 2017 2:00pm - 3:15pm EDT
Brunswick Ballroom A Lower Level