Janssen Pharmaceuticals in Titusville in September completed a comprehensive process to become River-Friendly Business certified.
In 2004, Janssen Titusville was the first business certified by the nonprofit as River-Friendly and the business has been building on their efforts by creating a greener and more sustainable workplace for decades.
For this round, Janssen officials took steps to improve their property management in the four River-Friendly areas: conserving water, protecting water quality, enhancing wildlife habitat, and educating others. They upgraded toilets and sinks to water-efficient models, maintained an existing rain garden that captures and filters water, installed plants that provide habitat and food for wildlife, and ran educational programs.
These steps will help reduce the amount of chemicals, pesticides, sediment and other pollutants that flow into local waterways. Landscapes like the Janssen campus, which have large buildings, parking lots, and other developed areas, can contribute to flooding problems and pollute waterways with runoff of litter, oils, dirt, and more. River-Friendly practices work to combat these negative impacts of development, and protect our waterways from degrading.
By way of background, The Watershed Institute runs the River-Friendly program in collaboration with two other environmental organizations (Raritan Headwaters and New Jersey Water Supply Authority) to help diminish the negative impacts of human activities on the environment.
In general, businesses enrolled in the program must document their property care practices, encourage employee education and engagement, and complete three environmental improvement projects. The certification process can take between six months to multiple years. The Watershed Institute’s River-Friendly Program Coordinator Erin Landis provides support, guidance, and resources throughout the entire certification process.
One of Janssen Titusville’s major River-Friendly actions has been the conversion of lawn to naturalized meadows and wildflowers. Over 30 acres of the approximately 150-acre Janssen Titusville campus has been converted to naturalized meadows or wildflower gardens, which provide a multitude of benefits. Native plants, which evolved naturally in New Jersey, absorb more water during storms and are more drought-tolerant than a lawn because of longer root systems.
These enhanced areas help reduce stormwater runoff, flooding, and transportation of pollutants like trash and sediment to local waterways. The naturalized areas also provide habitat and food sources for beneficial birds and pollinators like butterflies and bees.
Janssen Titusville officials noted some of their benefits of reducing their lawn: they spend less money and time maintaining the naturalized area, no fertilization or irrigation is necessary, and mowing only occurs twice a year. Additionally, the beauty of the meadows and wildflowers are appreciated by employees and visitors alike.
Janssen took many other steps to become a River-Friendly certified business, including organizing annual Sustainability Fairs, reducing their fertilization application by over 50%, and creating an employee-led Sustainability Team that coordinates educational webinars and events for Janssen staff. Janssen’s website states that they ‘work hard to manage [their] environmental impact through stewardship of natural resources such as water’, and throughout the River-Friendly certification, we have seen the evidence of this commitment and hard work.
Thank you to everyone at Janssen Titusville who made this certification happen. They will be given a free River-Friendly Business sign to display in front of their Titusville office building, as well as ongoing support from The Watershed Institute in their environmental endeavors.