Water resources planning has been the foundation of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) Water Resources Program since 2002. Regional stormwater management plans and watershed restoration plans have been developed by the Water Resources Program for small watersheds throughout New Jersey (20 to 50 square miles) over the years. Due to the extensive hydrologic, hydraulic, and pollutant modeling that is required to develop these plans and the surface water sampling needed to validate these models, these plans took several years to produce and were costly to create. As we began implementing the recommendations of the plans, we quickly realized that the best portion of the plan was the chapter that identified specific projects where stormwater management could be implemented. A new planning format has been created by the Water Resources Program that focuses on identifying opportunities for implementing green infrastructure practices to better manage stormwater runoff.
This new planning format consists of completing impervious cover assessments (ICA) and then developing impervious cover reduction action plans (RAP) for municipalities. Digital imagery is used to identify opportunities for implementing green infrastructure practices, and field investigations are conducted to determine the best practice for each identified site. The ICA and RAP cost about 10% of the price needed to develop regional and watershed restoration plans and only take a couple of months to complete. These two documents together provide a blueprint for municipalities to move forward with stormwater management projects that will improve water quality, reduce flooding, and enhance climate resiliency.
Support for this effort has been provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, New Jersey Sea Grant, the William Penn Foundation, and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. Our ultimate goal is to prepare an ICA and RAP for every municipality in New Jersey!
The following projects have been completed or are currently underway as part of the Impervious Cover Reduction Program: