Issue #9           

Winter 2005           


The Basin Bulletin   
Newsletter for Stakeholders of the Raritan Basin Watershed    



Colonial Park Pond Protected From Water Quality Problems

The Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association (SBMWA) partnered with Somerset County Park Commission and TRC Omni Environmental Corporation (TRC Omni) to restore the Powder Mill Pond in Colonial Park by planting the shoreline around the pond with native plants and shrubs.  Powder Mill Pond is located within the campus of Colonial Park (Somerset County Park System in Franklin Township, NJ) and on an unnamed tributary that flows to the Millstone River.  The Powder Mill Pond is a highly utilized pond for paddleboats and fishing within Colonial Park. 

Due to upstream activities and grazing by Canada geese, the shoreline surrounding the pond became bare of vegetation.  By losing this vegetated ‘buffer’ from around the pond, pollutants had an easier pathway to enter the pond and cause water quality problems, such as algae blooms in the summertime, when most people are out enjoying the pond.  Also, due to the lack of a strong and extensive root system, much of the soil along the edge of the pond was eroding into the pond itself.  Tom Boccino, the Park Commission’s Manager of Planning and Land Acquisition noted, “Many problems were seen in and around the pond, algae were growing wildly in the summer, the wire covered rocks used to prevent erosion in the past were now exposed, causing safety concerns.  And the Canada geese were an annoyance to park visitors as well as polluting the water with their waste.” 

Powder Mill Pond in 2003, Pre-Restoration

Volunteers planting the buffer

The planting of this new buffer will improve water quality of the pond and ultimately the Millstone River.  The primary goal for this project was to improve water quality of a tributary to the Millstone River by restoring the buffer on the pond.  Approximately 650 linear feet of severely damaged shoreline was restored using over 3,000 native plants and shrubs, biodegradable materials and a lot of volunteer labor!  Volunteers from Goldman Sachs in Princeton, NJ, National Starch and Chemical Company in Bridgewater, NJ, and the Partners for Environmental Quality in Trenton, NJ did this important work on display at Colonial Park.  “We are extremely grateful to the volunteers for all their hard work and effort,” said Steve Yergeau, Watershed Assessment Specialist with SBMWA.  “Without them, this would not have happened.”

Due to a newly established root system, these plants and shrubs will further prevent shoreline erosion.  The stabilized shoreline will be periodically inspected during the first several years to initiate repairs as needed.  Also, the vegetated buffer will act as a natural fence that will prevent Canada geese from entering and exiting the pond, which is necessary for them to nest in an area.  Much of the success of the p roject was due to the partnership formed.  “This project was a tremendous success because each partner brought a unique set of skills that complimented each other,” said Jeremiah Bergstrom, Senior Scientist with TRC Omni.

Power Mill Pond in August 2004

 Visitors to Colonial Park can now view the progress of the project and see the plants as they grow through this summer.  For directions to Colonial Park, please visit the Somerset County Park Commission web site at

 This project was funded through a grant from the New Jersey Department of Environment Protection’s 319(h) Nonpoint Source Pollution Program.  Section 319(h) of the Clean Water Act provides funding to help focus State and local nonpoint source (NPS) reduction efforts.  NPS is any types of pollution that has no discernable origination point that results from everyday activities such as fertilizing the lawn, walking pets, changing motor oil, and littering.  These funds support a wide variety of activities including technical assistance, financial assistance, education, training, technology transfer, demonstration projects, and monitoring to assess the success of specific NPS reducing implementation projects.  States distribute funds from the USEPA to various groups to implement NPS projects to improve water quality in critical areas.

 The Somerset County Park Commission was established in 1956 as a resource management agency designated to provide specialized park areas and facilities that supplement municipal efforts.  The County Park Commission is committed to excellence in promoting stewardship of land and resources, providing outstanding recreation opportunities and leisure services, and fostering an environment that is service oriented and responsive to public needs.  The County park system today exceeds 9,200 acres, and this acreage is constantly increasing. There are seven General Use Area parks, offering both active and passive recreation facilities, including five golf courses (one of which is under construction); two Special Use Area parks devoted to horticulture and fine arts; three Developed Natural Area parks, one of which features an environmental education center and equestrian facility; and nine Undeveloped Natural Areas.

 Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association is a member-supported environmental organization based in Pennington on an open space reserve and is open to the public year round.  Since 1949, the Watershed Association has worked to protect and preserve the natural environment of the 265 square mile drainage basin of the Millstone River.  The Millstone flows north from Millstone Township to the Raritan River in Manville Borough.  The Watershed Association Office is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and staff can be reached at 609-737-3735.

 TRC Omni of Princeton, New Jersey provides state-of-the-art environmental consulting services and is well known for its expertise in watershed modeling, stormwater management, and Best Management Practice (BMP) design.  TRC Omni has prepared numerous watershed studies to assess the impacts from multiple point and nonpoint sources of pollution, and to establish load allocations consistent with the water quality preservation goals of the applicable standards and watershed plans.  TRC also specializes in designing visually attractive, state-of-the-art BMPs to meet strict environmental regulations or aesthetic requirements.  Our focused staff has developed a particular expertise in the design and implementation of streambank and shoreline restorations, stormwater treatment systems, and constructed wetlands.

For more information about this project, contact:

Jeremiah D. Bergstrom, CLA, RLA, ASLA

Project Manager

TRC Omni Environmental Corporation

Research Park, 321 Wall Street

Princeton, NJ 08540

Phone: 609.924.8821

Fax: 609.924.8831



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