lopatcong creek and watershed planning

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Lopatcong Creek and Watershed Planning Perfect TogetherGrace Messinger, Executive DirectorNorth Jersey RC&D1

OverviewSetting of Lopatcong CreekWhy: Watershed Restoration & Protection PlanningWhat is process, how will process achieve improved water qualityLopatcong CreekOn-the-ground ActivitiesLopatcong Creek Initiative (River- Friendly Communities)Morris Canal Lopatcong Creek RestorationAgriculture/River-Friendly Farm CertificationQuestions ???2

Headwaters: ForestedCentral: Agriculture, SuburbanDownstream: Urban /Suburban

Here we are in the landscape- if you traveled on Route 22 to get here from NJ- you were in the Lopatcong Creek watershed3

Lopatcong Creek

Size: 20 sq milesFive Townships, 1 CountyForest & Wetland: 26%Agriculture: 38% Urban: 31%Waterway Designated as: Category One-Trout Production for 18 milesStressors: Phosphorous, Fecal Coliform/E. Coli (Bacteria) Lack of Natural Riparian Habitat

A hybrid area is one where cities and towns have grown up alongside a regions waterways creating a situation where human-caused impacts may compromise high quality natural resources.

People are drawn to waterways- either for utility use or recreational use: past history showcases use of water as mode of transportation, way of life for citizens of Lopatcong Creek Watershedbest known historical attribute- the MORRIS CANAL- at one point the Loptacong Creek and Morris Canal prism were ONE4

WHY: Watershed Restoration & Protection PlanIt is a strategy that provides assessment and management information for a specially defined watershedBenefit addresses problems in holistic manner with active stakeholder & community involvementPlans include: Recommendations/Changes to local zoning ,development regulations and programs, Installation of best management practices at specific priority locations Protectsensitive watershed resourcesRestoreresources that have already been degraded by agriculture or urbanization5

Watershed Planning Cycle

It is iterative and adaptive to area and citizens/stakeholders involved6

Build PartnershipsWatershed targeted for restoration but need $$$ to do work and PLANWm Penn Fnd supporting Watershed Restoration and Preservation Plan Draft plan to meet USEPA criteria Seek approval from NJDEP- BEARS, will provide more funding opportunities to implement projects

Rutgers Cooperative Extension-Water Resources ProgramNJ Audubon SocietyLopatcong Creek InitiativesThe Nature Conservancy Trout UnlimitedWarren County Planning Dept

Lopatcong Creek Initiatives working to get municipalities on board, citizens and local businesses7

Characterize WatershedField Sampling & Data Collection via GIS Identify causes & sources of pollution/impairmentPhosphorousFecal Coliform/E. ColiTemperatureProject Team obtained NJDEP QAPP

Rutgers has completed impervious cover assessment for twps assessments will help determine how to better manage stormwater runoffInformation used to guide prioritization of area

In-stream WQ sampling for fecal coliform8

Set Goals & Wish-list of Projects

Agricultural BMPsCover crop, no-till, riparian buffers, integrated nutrient mgtStormwater BMPsStream & Riparian RestorationTargeted land for preservationMunicipal outreachSeptic education

Make wish list of projects- align with how much each practice will reduce impairments, estimated costs, estimated partnerships & or source so funding to implement & set schedule/time table to implementLook at projects on 3 yr, 5 yr, 10 yr horizons9

Education & OutreachWWW.LOPATCONGCREEK.ORGMission of Initiative: Encourage river-friendly LIVING & FARMINGRESTORE & PROTECT ecological health of watershedCollaborative CONNECTIONSResidentsFarmersBusinessesMunicipalities


IMPLEMENT .Do Projects NOW andfind more MONEY to do MORE RESTORATION PROJECTSLAND PRESERVATION PROJECTS11Lopatcong Creek- Morris Canal Project in Warren County NJArea in highlands planning area

Lopatcong Creek: C1-FW1-TP; 2,200 linear ftWMA 1Highlands Planning AreaLopatcong Creek & Morris CanalWarren County- Project Area CR 519Stykers RoadLopatcong CreekCanal TowpathLopatcong & Greenwich TownshipsWarren CountyUpper Delaware Watershed Mgt Area #1Lopatcong Creek adjacent to Route 519 in Lopatcong Township at Inclined Plane 9 W continuing until Strykers Road. Located in Highlands Planning AreaLopatcong Creek- Category One- FW-TP 12Site Condition

Lopatcong CreekLopatcong CreekMC: TowpathSevere ErosionFloodplainMorris Canal- being eroded away by Lopatcong CreekLopatcong Creek- dis-connection from floodplainExcessive sediment in system- over widening of streamSevere loss of historic resource- because creek was not placed back in orginial streambed


Goal: Full Stream Re-alignment Improved WQ, reduced sedimentGoal: Protection of NJ & National Historic SiteGoal: Increased recreational access of Morris Canal

Dont have to wait for watershed planning to be completed before doing workseeking funding/support for immediate project-morris canal-lopatcong creek restoration14

Agricultural Sustainability

River-Friendly Farm Certification TM Program is a voluntary program which gives public recognition to farms which protect and enhance water resources.


Program is free and voluntary with benefitsRiver-Friendly Farm Certification Program TMIdentifying resource concernsAssisting with finding financial and technical assistance to meet their goalsHelping farmers understand how to meet regulationsAssisting with paperwork when applying for cost-share, grants, etc.

Assisting in the development of the path to River-Friendly Farm CertificationInforming participating farmers of upcoming opportunitiesIncreased cost-share availability for participantsMore

16There are two basic stages of being in the programbeing a participant and then eventually being certifiedJust for participatingwhich is free--identify resource concern--assist with finding technical and financial assistance to meet farm goals--Helping farmers understand regulations--assisting with paperwork--increased cost-share availability

Cover Crop A cover crop is a crop planted primarily to manage soil fertility, soil quality, water, weeds, pests, diseases, biodiversity and wildlifeHealthy soils hold more waterBuilds organic matterDisturb soil less frequently- save $ & equipmentIncreased productionReduce use of fertilizers, pesticides, reduce run-off

Rye & Clover

NJ Audubon Society is able to provide seed for farmers, or farmers can apply to USDA-NRCS for the Soil Health Initiative whereby they can conservation payments per year for 3 years to apply a multi species cover crop- North Jersey RC&D helping to cover difference of cost and assist with coordination of application, seed purchase17

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.Margaret Mead


Mailing Address:P.O. Box 117Asbury, NJ 08802gmessinger@northjerseyrcd.org

RC&D Staff:Grace Messinger, Executive DirectorJulie Gause, Administrative AssistantJennifer Byrne, Agriculture Outreach SpecialistBlaire Langston, Watershed Specialist



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