Projects & Programs - Agricultural Watershed Planning & Implementation

Watershed Restoration and Protection Plan for Assiscunk Creek,
Burlington County, NJ

assiscunk

 

Project Overview:

The project area for this planning initiative consists of the headwaters of the Assiscunk Creek, an 11.2 square mile drainage area including the Annaricken Brook and the 4.8 square mile North Branch of Barkers Brook. Within this planning area, there are approximately 40 miles of mapped streams designated Category One, with the exception of Barkers Brook.  While there are no major lakes in the sub-watersheds, there are three small impoundments that make up a total lake area of 2.8 acres within the planning area. The project area is completely within Burlington County and contains portions of Mansfield Township and Springfield Township.  Of the land uses within the subject watershed, approximately 70 percent is designated as agricultural and agricultural wetlands with some suburban and typical small village development (NJDEP 1995/97 Land use/Land cover Update, Assiscunk, Crosswicks and Doctors Watershed Management Area, WMA-20).  According to the New Jersey 2004 and 2006 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report, segments of the Assiscunk Creek do not meet the criteria for the aquatic life designated use and are documented as impaired for pH, total phosphorus, benthic macroinvertebrates, and fecal coliform (FC).  Several total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) have been developed to address these water quality impairments.  They are as follows:

  • Ninety-five percent (95%) reduction in fecal coliform for the Assiscunk Creek
  • Sixty-six percent (66%) reduction in total phosphorus for the Annaricken Creek (8.2 river miles)
  • Fifty-four percent (54.6%) reduction in total phosphorus for the North Branch of Barkers Brook (3.9 river miles)

Due to the recognized impairments and value of this ecological resource, a Watershed Restoration and Protection Plan (WRPP) for this project area will be developed that, when implemented, will achieve the load reductions required by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) TMDLs, therefore bringing the waterway into compliance with surface water quality standards.  Furthermore, the WRPP will aim to restore and protect the physical, biological and chemical integrity of these waterways, in particular the Category One segments, by fulfilling the nine minimum components of watershed planning and guiding the implementation of nonpoint source (NPS) pollution management measures.

This watershed-based plan will include the following:

  • identify the causes and sources that will need to be controlled to achieve the load reductions that are estimated as part of this watershed-based plan
  • estimate the load reductions expected for the management measures that are identified as part of this watershed-based plan
  • identify nonpoint pollution sources (NPS) management measures that will need to be implemented to achieve the load reductions estimated as part of this watershed-based plan
  • identify critical areas for the implementation of these NPS management measures
  • estimate the amounts of technical and financial assistance needed to implement the plan
  • identify potential sources of funding to implement each management measure that is identified in the plan
  • outline an informational/education plan to enhance public understanding of the project and encourage early and continued participation in implementing the plan
  • develop a ranking system to identify where resources should be targeted
  • provide a schedule for implementing the NPS management measures that are identified in the plan
  • outline a set of criteria that can be used to determine whether loading reductions are being achieved over time and if substantial progress is being made toward attaining water quality standards
  • detail a monitoring component to evaluate the effectiveness of the implementation efforts over time

Deliverables:

The Assiscunk Creek Watershed Restoration and Protection Plan, April 2013

Project Funding Source: NJDEP 319(h)

Contacts:

Christopher C. Obropta, Ph.D., P.E.
Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences
Associate Extension Specialist in Water Resources
Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program
14 College Farm Road
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Phone: 848-932-5711/Fax:732-932-8644
obropta@envsci.rutgers.edu


Lisa Galloway Evrard
Senior Program Coordinator
Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program
14 College Farm Road
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Phone: 848-932-6726/Fax:732-932-8644
evrard@rci.rutgers.edu



Water Resources Program  at Rutgers NJAES