Responding to Climate Change

The vast majority of the world’s scientists agree that human activity is changing our climate. The combustion of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas, release carbon dioxide and other substances into the air. These gases create a “greenhouse effect,” trapping the sun’s heat and resulting in rising temperatures at the Earth’s surface and in our atmosphere.


Climate change has a particularly strong impact on water. Evaporation, transpiration and precipitation increase as the Earth warms. Many parts of the world are experiencing intense storms and flooding, while other regions are harmed by severe drought. These changes are threatening entire ecosystems and human populations around the globe.


According to NJ State Climatologist David Robinson, a member of the Watershed’s Science and Technical Issues Committee, the average annual precipitation in New Jersey has increased from 43.9 inches, over the first seven decades of the 20th century, to 49.4 inches during this century. Much of the increase is occurring in particularly large storms. According to the National Science and Technology Council’s 2014 National Climate Assessment, the amount of precipitation falling in “very heavy events” (defined as the heaviest 1% of all daily events) increased by 71% in the northeast between 1958 and 2012.


Dr. Robinson and his colleagues at Rutgers University predict that New Jersey will continue to experience wetter and wetter winters and springs, with longer, hotter and drier summers. Climate scientists say that we need to implement strategies to mitigate projected climate change by reducing our release of global warming gases like carbon dioxide and methane and to adapt to climate change. The Watershed advocates for policies and programs that advance both goals:

  • To help communities adapt to climate change, we seek larger protected buffers on our streams and rivers to prevent new construction in floodplains, stronger stormwater management requirements to reduce the volume and pace of runoff and funding to purchase and remove structures that have been subject to repeated flooding.
  • To reduce the magnitude of the anticipated impact from climate change, we collaborate we ReThinkEnergyNJ and other nonprofit organizations to advocate for accelerating the transition to clean energy sources like solar and wind power and away from damaging fossil fuels like oil and gas. Our Watershed Center is a leading example of how residents and institutions can reduce their use of fossil fuels.



For this Sunday, we will view a film on the industrious, buck-toothed engineer – the North American Beaver who are changing the world “one stick at a time”.

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The Watershed Institute applauds Gov. Phil Murphy for signing into law today the Flood Defense Act, which passed the Legislature earlier this year.

Come learn about aquatic life and other watery wonders at World Water Day at The Watershed Insitute copy

On March 23, 2019, The Watershed Institute will hold its inaugural World Water Day Festival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on a tricky assignment for National Geographic: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate.


The 2nd Annual New Jersey Watershed Conference brings stakeholders together on clean water issues.

For this Sunday, we will view three short films with the central issues of climate change and clean water. Anthropocene In the midst of the ...

Join us April 8 to see Former Vice President Al Gore continue his tireless fight, traveling around the world to influence international climate policy in An Inconvenient Sequel.

Aerial views of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy to the New Jersey coast taken during a search and rescue mission by 1-150 Assault Helicopter Battalion, New Jersey Army National Guard, Oct. 30, 2012.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen/Released)

With millions of Americans still suffering the ravages of recent hurricanes, resiliency to extreme weather should be a major issue for NJ Gov.-elect Phil Murphy.


Princeton Artists Alliance has used art as commentary on social and political issues for 25 years. The artists are taking on “The Politics of Water”, responding to issues such as climate change…


The American Institute for Architects (AIA) of New Jersey met at the Watershed Center for their East Coast Green conference focused on protecting the health…


Around the globe, the warming atmosphere, land and oceans are causing fundamental changes to the water cycle and weather patterns. 


The Watershed’s first conference on Climate Change for High School Students was held on Sunday, April 23rd at the Watershed Center.

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Earth Day is celebrated with action at the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association: We plant trees, remove trash from streams, sell native plants, and host conferences on climate change.


High school students are invited to join us for a conference on climate change at the Watershed Center on Sunday, April 23 from 1-5:30pm. The free conference is cosponsored by…


One thing is clear: this election was not about the environment. In fact, the issue was raised only obliquely in the four-and-a-half hours of debates that the two…