EPA Targeted Grants for Raritan Basin
In 2003, the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association (SBMWA) and the NJWSA received a $1 million Targeted Watersheds Grant from the USEPA, toward a $2.1 million project that focuses on three types of strategies:
- Restoration at locations with existing problems,
- Protection and preservation of high-quality resources, and
- Pollution prevention focused on ongoing nonpoint source discharges
The project was targeted to three areas: the upper portion of the South Branch Raritan River, a semi-rural area; the Millstone River, a rapidly developing area; and a portion of the Lower or Mainstem Raritan River, a core urban/industrial area that is just upstream of the Basins largest water supply intake. Additional partners included the South Branch Watershed Association (SBWA) and the NJDEP.
For stream restoration, NJWSA gathered baseline data on four stream systems within the 40 square mile watershed draining to Spruce Run Reservoir. The data were used to assess overall stream health and to identify and rank sites that could potentially be restored to their original condition. Forty sites were chosen based on various land uses, stream patterns and accessibility. From the initial sites, NJWSA selected sites for further investigation and restoration. Restoration included projects that will occur both in the stream and within the riparian zone.
SBWA and NJWSA implemented a suite of River-Friendly programs for major businesses, golf courses and citizens in the South Branch and Lower Raritan project areas, using versions of the SBMWA programs. Through these programs, the team worked with landowners to improve water quality, conserve water and support native habitat and wildlife. The certification process is a cooperative effort between the participants and SBWA and NJWSA and provides an opportunity for landowners to become local stewards. Landowners can showcase positive environmental actions they have already taken while working with SBWA and NJWSA to develop goals and implement new practices.
The goal of the Projects municipal assessment program was a comprehensive adoption by all 36 municipalities within the target areas of ordinances that help protect and preserve natural resources, focusing on stream corridor, stormwater and non-point source pollution (e.g., runoff from lawns, golf courses, pastures and roads, or improperly maintained septic systems).