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2015 Project Highlights .pdf



Original filename: 2015 Project Highlights.pdf
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2015 Highlights from North Jersey RC&D
Musconetcong Watershed (Hampton to Bloomsbury): Non-point Source Implementation
We are into the second year of a five-year grant funded project with funding support from NJ Dpt of
Environmental Protection Water Resources Management, Division of Water Monitoring and Standards,
Bureau of Environmental Analysis, Restoration and Standards (BEARS) to implement Best Management
Practices as addressed in the 319h Watershed Management Plan; in working with partnering agencies thru
USDA-NRCS, NJ RC&D was able to utilize grant funds to supplement cost-share dollars to assist agricultural
producers in the Hunterdon and Warren County to be part of the 3-year Soil Health Initiative whereby 230
acres of cover crop have been planted at three farms. Additionally, outreach and conservation planning has
been started with eight agricultural producers in the watershed as a direct result of the success of the Soil
Health Initiative financial support (producers can be part of the RCPP program).
The NJRC&D Agricultural Outreach
work with producers in becoming
Certified- the first farm certified in the
to BSB Holstein Farm, located in
Hunterdon County.

Specialist continues to
River-Friendly Farm
watershed was awarded
Bethlehem Township,

There are an additional four farms that are close to receiving
their River-Friendly Farm Certification both in Hunterdon and
Warren Counties.

Through financial support, North Jersey RC&D was able to assist in the implementation of a milkhouse waste
system at the Riverine Ranch, a water buffalo farm. Additional conservation resource projects are in the
works at the farm for 2016.
NJRC&D staff has worked with the NJ Watershed Ambassador’s Program to host 3 rain barrel building
workshops this past summer.

William Penn Foundation- NJ Highlands Cluster Delaware River Watershed Program
North Jersey RC&D staff is well underway in working with many cluster partners as the second year draws to
an end to implement the goals of the 2013 Watershed Planning for watersheds in Hunterdon, Warren and
Sussex Counties. North Jersey RC&D continues to participate in the cluster process as well as manage three
projects directly and we are a crucial partner on three additional projects. We will highlight a few of those
projects:


Lopatcong Creek Watershed 319h Planning Process: (Warren County) North Jersey RC&D
continues to work with Rutgers Cooperative Extension –Water Resources Program to obtain additional
water quality data in the watershed. This additional data will assist to verify the causes or sources of
pollution that are affecting the watershed, in turn best management practices will be coupled with the

areas of most concern and proposed practices that would improve the water quality will be
incorporated into the watershed plan. Project partners have started meeting with the municipal
officials of the townships within the watershed and we anticipate the Watershed Plan to be completed
by mid-2016. Planning for the future in this watershed is critical the project partners also wanted to
get some momentum and the planning has launched to work with a local business to install a raingarden that will capture non-point source runoff and treat it prior to entering the Lopatcong Creek.


Lopatcong Creek-Morris Canal Restoration Project: (Warren County) A challenge in moving this
project forward is obtaining the full rights to all the Warren County owned property whereby if this
occurred a ‘true’ streambank restoration project could occur however without the entire property under
the control of Warren County the project team has to consider alternatives that would still benefit and
improve the overall water quality of the Lopatcong Creek at the same time as saving a listed NJ and
federally listed Historic Landmark…the Morris Canal. NJRC&D continues to work with partners to
consider options and to communicate with township officials regarding the project options.



Model Municipal Easement Project (Byram Township, Sussex County- pilot): North Jersey RC&D is
partnering with NJ Conservation Foundation and the Musconetcong Watershed Association (MWA) to
work with Byram Township, Sussex County to create a model process for identification and continued
protection of conservation easements.



Floodplain Condition Assessment and Project Planning Tool (cluster-wide): North Jersey RC&D is
partnering with The Nature Conservancy and the Wallkill River Watershed Management Group to
develop a floodplain condition rating system that will provide a relative sense of which particular
types of restoration or Best Management Practice could be applied to stretches of floodplains in order
to achieve water quality improvements based on a cost/benefit analysis. This is being field tested in
the Paulins Kill Watershed in Sussex County.

Implementation of the Neshanic River Watershed Management Plan
North Jersey RC&D staff are into the second year of a five-year grant funded project with funding support
from NJ Department of Environmental Protection Water Resources Management, Division of Water
Monitoring and Standards, Bureau of Environmental Analysis, Restoration and Standards (BEARS) to
implement Best Management Practices as addressed in the 319h Watershed Management Plan; in working
with partnering agencies thru USDA-NRCS, NJ RC&D was able to utilize grant funds to supplement costshare dollars to assist agricultural producers in the Delaware, Raritan and East Amwell Townships in
Hunterdon County to be part of the 3-year Soil Health Initiative whereby 532 acres of cover crop have been
planted at four farms in the project area. The majority of the fields were seeded by plane! It made for an
interesting couple of days in September to watch an air-tractor dropping cover crop seed on the fields below!
Cover crop is a practice for establishing temporary crops on all lands requiring vegetative cover for natural
resource protection and/or improvement. Although the term “cover crop” implies serving the purpose of
protecting the soil from erosion, cover crops also play a role in enhancing soil productivity and crop
production.

Cover Crops help to….







protect soil
reduce compaction
increase infiltration
increase soil fertility
increase soil microbial activity
help with pest management







improve organic matter
reduce erosion
improve soil tilth
reduce fertilizer needs
suppress weeds

The NJRC&D Agricultural Outreach Specialist continued working with producers to assist them to achieve
River-Friendly Farm Certification. Mount Salem Vineyards, Hunterdon County, is the first vineyard to be
awarded RFF status
Additional agricultural conservation resource projects are in the works at the various farms in the watershed
for 2016.
Farmers in the watershed were not the only ones that received assistance this year. North Jersey RC&D
worked with partner Rutgers Cooperative Extension-Water Resources Program to design and install
residential four rain gardens in Raritan Township and one was installed at East Amwell School- all in an
effort to capture rainfall to help improve water quality of the Neshanic Watershed.

During construction

Completed Rain Garden

Regional On-Farm Composting System
Through a grant awarded to North Jersey RC&D from the NJ Department of Agriculture, we have been
working with a producer in Somerset County to construct and establish a regional on-farm composting
facility whereby equine owners could responsibly dispose of dry manure and have it turned into usable, safe
compost. This project is unique in that the composting process will take place in an enclosed building using a
forced-hot air system to drive the composting process. Construction of the facility is due to begin in 2016.

Kittatinny Valley State Park- Wetland-Floodplain Restoration
A new grant was awarded to North Jersey RC&D earlier this year, whereby we will work in partnership with
the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife and Amy S. Greene Environmental to conduct a floodplain and wetland
restoration project along the Pequest River in Independence Township Warren County. Funding support is
through the NJ Wetlands Mitigation Council. In 2015, various environmental data was collected and the draft
design plans for restoring and enhancing the 90-acre project site were completed. Construction is anticipated
to start in 2016.

River-Friendly Farm Certification: In 2015, a new partnership with the Foodshed Alliance and in
conjunction with the NJ Highlands Cluster region as part of the William Penn Foundation, North Jersey
RC&D has been able to expand the program north and west of its original launching grounds of the Raritan
Basin- we are currently working with eight farmers to get them River-Friendly Farm Certified. Two farms
were certified River-Friendly in this expanded region: Woodsedge Tree Farm in Liberty Township Warren
County and Cedarcroft Hardwick Township Warren County. We look forward to awarding more farms with
this certification….


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