The Sustainable Raritan River Initiative (SRRI) collaborated with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Water Monitoring and Standards (NJDEP) in their effort to engage stakeholders and seek public comment in the development of the 2016 Integrated Water Quality Assessment Report (Integrated Report), which has a focus section on the state’s Raritan Water Region. This region includes the Elizabeth, Rahway and Woodbridge River watersheds (WMA 07), North and South Branches of the Raritan River watersheds (WMA 08), the Lower Raritan, South River and Lawrence Brook watersheds (WMA 9) as well as the Stony Brook and Millstone River watersheds (WMA 10).
The Integrated Report is prepared pursuant to Section 305(b) of the Federal Clean Water Act to meet requirements to biennially prepare and submit to the USEPA a reporting addressing the overall water quality of the State’s waters, including support of designated uses. The NJDEP is also required to develop a list of waters that currently do not meet, or are not expected to meet, applicable water quality standards after implementation of controls. This is known as the 303(d) List of Water Quality Limited Waters (303(d) List). The 303(d) List includes a priority ranking for scheduling total maximum daily loads (TMDLs), as well as identifying TMDLs expected to be completed in the next two years.
Background and Stakeholder Engagement
The SRRI worked with the NJDEP to engage Raritan stakeholders to participate in a prioritization process and strategy for restoration, protection and enhancement of waterbodies in the Raritan Water Region to inform the 2016 New Jersey Integrated Water Quality Report (Integrated Report).
The State of New Jersey encompasses twenty watershed management areas that are grouped into five water regions. Every two years the NJDEP provides the EPA with an Integrated Report on water quality across the state with a focus on one of the five water regions. The 2016 Integrated Report focuses on the Raritan Water Region that includes the Elizabeth, Rahway and Woodbridge River watersheds (WMA 07), North and South Branches of the Raritan River watersheds (WMA 08), the Lower Raritan, South River and Lawrence Brook watersheds (WMA 9) as well as the Stony Brook and Millstone River watersheds (WMA 10). The Integrated Report will highlight efforts underway and prioritize areas within the Raritan Water Region that will help guide grant funding and restoration and protection efforts over the next ten years with the goal of improving water quality throughout the Region.
At an informal stakeholder meeting at The Watershed Institute in June 2016, the NJDEP began the discussion of their long-term vision for water quality in the Raritan Water Region. Subsequent meetings coordinated by the Sustainable Raritan River Initiative built upon that discussion by taking a closer look at specific waters including waterbodies on the edge (bubble or barely impaired), 5R listed assessment units (nonpoint source impaired waterbodies), 319(h) nonpoint source grant‑funded projects, and by combining these layers with information about local restoration efforts and local knowledge of impairments to capture a current picture of the Raritan as a foundation for future efforts to develop an action plan to guide local and state actions.
Stakeholders reviewed findings at targeted stakeholder workshops where discussions included key topics that emerged from the June workshop; participants identified impervious surfaces, riparian protection and restoration, and green infrastructure projects (how many and what kind) as areas for further discussion. The outcome of stakeholder input and future workshops will be a prioritization of waterbodies and recommended best management practices that will inform restoration, enhancement and protection projects for the Raritan Water Region to improve regional water quality. The NJDEP will prioritize these projects for funding and engage stakeholder groups to target their work in support of this strategy.
For more information: Sara Malone, firstname.lastname@example.org or 848-932-2720
Stakeholder Meetings and Materials
- October 16, 2019 – Deadline for public comment to NJDEP on draft 2016 Integrated Assessment
- June 9, 2017 State of the Raritan – Annual Sustainable Raritan Conference and Awards Ceremony
- February 23, 2017 Stakeholder Meeting @ Duke Farms
- November 9, 2016 Stakeholder Meeting at Rutgers’ Douglass Student Center
- Agenda and Speaker Biographies
- Overview of Integrated Report Project / Meeting Purpose – Kimberly Cenno, NJDEP-BEARS
- State of the Raritan/Raritan Water Region/GeoSpatial Coverage – Richard Lathrop, Rutgers, Sustainable Raritan River Initiative
- Candidate List of Waterbodies on the Edge – Jack Pflaumer, NJDEP-BEARS
- Potential Solutions – Protection/Restoration – Kathy Hale, NJ Water Supply Authority
- Potential Solutions – 319(h) Projects, Stormwater Management & Impervious Surface – Christopher Obropta, Rutgers, Water Resources Program
- Potential Solutions – Farm Projects and Approaches that Work – Christine Hall, USDA-NRCS
- June 30, 2016 – Informal Work Group Meeting at The Watershed Institute (fka Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association)
- Format for capturing project data for completed and ongoing restoration projects (added 1/12/17)
- Data sources used for prioritization of restoration projects (added 1/12/17)
- Revised Restoration Candidates (added 12/12/16)
- Factors for selecting restoration HUCs in the Raritan Water Region (added 12/12/16)
- Summary Vision Statement for Restoration, Protection and Enhancement of the Raritan Water Region
- Map 1 – Water bodies on the edge (bubble or barely impaired)
- Map 2 – 5R listed assessment units
- Map 3 – 319(h) non-point source grant-funded projects
- Map 4 – Combined layers of Maps 1 through 3
- Map 5 – Area of Raritan Covered by Recently Adopted TMDL
- 2016 New Jersey Integrated Water Quality Assessment Methods (background information – not deliberative)
- 2014 New Jersey Integrated Water Quality Assessment Report (focused on Barnegatt Bay – provided for information/comparison only – not deliberative)
- NJDEP Raritan Water Region webpages (and other related Integrated Report documents)
(Map of New Jersey Water Region Boundaries from NJDEP 2014 New Jersey Integrated Water Quality Assessment Report)