State of the Raritan Report, Vol. 1
The first volume of the State of the Raritan Report assessed the change in eleven key indicators that were originally assessed in the Raritan Basin: Portrait of a Watershed (NJ Water Supply Authority, 2002). The selected indicators reflect certain aspects of water quality and watershed health and represent some driver (e.g., human population or urban land use) or reflect on the resulting consequences (e.g., groundwater recharge). This new assessment uses the same eleven key indicators and updates the original data – most from 1986 and 1995 – with data from 2002, 2007 and 2012 in order to determine trends over the past 26 years and to identify data gaps for development of future more comprehensive assessments. The indicators were based on credible, authoritative data sets available in the public domain (e.g., U.S. Census, NJDEP Land Use/Land Cover data). A similar approach could be employed for other watersheds across the state of New Jersey.
For each indicator, the current status and the temporal trends (as reflected by the measured change in the longest dataset available) have been characterized. Trends increased for population, housing units, urban land use and impervious surface cover. An increasing trend for these indicators signifies increasing stress on water quality and supplies with potential negative impacts for the watershed. Downward trends were recorded for wetlands, upland forest, prime agricultural land and groundwater recharge. Downward trends for these indicators suggests that the watershed is losing its natural filtering capacity with attendant negative impacts to water quality. The bioassessment and riparian areas trends were mixed and there was not sufficient data to determine trends for the known contaminated sites and groundwater contamination indicators.
Volume 1 Chapter Summaries:
State of the Raritan Report, Vol. 2
Volume 2 of the State of the Raritan Report evaluated eight broad areas encompassing thirteen key indicators that could either impact water quality or watershed health or that influence quality of life in the basin. In most instances, the data collected did not have available historic data to identify trends and is therefore a report of status only but is still valuable to inform future watershed planning efforts that address water quality concerns as well as quality of life in the basin. As in Volume 1, most of the indicators were based on credible, authoritative data sets available in the public domain.