Projects & Programs - Agricultural Watershed Planning & Implementation

Watershed Restoration Plan for the Upper Cohansey River Watershed

The Watershed Restoration Plan will concern the Upper Cohansey River above Seeley Lake (Pond, according to local stakeholders), which appears on Sublist 5 for phosphorus, lead, pH, and aquatic life and on Sublist 4 for fecal coliform.

Based upon the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Ambient Biomonitoring Network (AMNET) data and data collected by the NJDEP/United States Geological Survey (USGS) and Metal Recon Program, the Upper Cohansey River is impaired for phosphorus, lead, pH, and aquatic life and listed on Sublist 5 of the New Jersey 2004 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report. Additionally, a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for fecal coliform has been proposed for 33.8 miles of the Upper Cohansey River. This TMDL requires 66% reductions in nonpoint source bacteria loads from this agriculturally dominated watershed. The goal of this project is to improve the water quality of the Upper Cohansey River by developing a watershed restoration plan that achieves the required TMDL reductions and reduces the nonpoint source pollutant loading that is contributing to the additional aquatic life, phosphorus, pH, and lead surface water quality impairments.

This watershed-based plan will:

• 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/educational 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 load reductions are being achieved over time and if substantial progress is being made toward attaining water quality standards, and
• detail a monitoring component to evaluate the effectiveness of the implementation efforts over time.

For projects such as the Watershed Restoration Plans, one of our goals is creating a very detailed watershed characterization through the aid of USDA's Stream Visual Assessment Protocol. Visual assessments include the characterization of physical stream conditions such as channel stability, riparian buffer, water appearance, and many other parameters. The visual assessment process allows us to rate different features of a stream that often may not be quantifiable, and the process also allows us to be able to sort and organize the data collected with ease. Also, after biological and chemical water quality data are collected, we’ll be able to build relationships between stream structure, morphology, and land use with impairments in the waterway.

Enter Upper Cohansey Visual Assessment data here.

Project Funding Source:  NJDEP 319(h)

For a more detailed scope of work click here.

Deliverables to Date:

Upper Cohansey River Watershed Restoration and Protection Plan:

Christopher C. Obropta, Ph.D., P.E.
Assistant Extension Specialist
Rutgers Cooperative Research & Extension
14 College Farm Road
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Project Partners:
Cumberland & Salem County Soil Conservation Districts
Lenny Rera
Natural Resource Specialist
1513 Deerfield Pike
PO Box 144
Deerfield, NJ 08313
Phone: 856-451-2422/Fax: 856-451-1358

Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Cumberland County
Jim Johnson
291 Morton Avenue
Millville, NJ 08332-9776
Phone: 856-451-2800/Fax: 856-451-4206

Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Salem County
Dave Lee, Cooperative Extension Department Head
51 Cheney Rd, Suite 1
Woodstown, New Jersey 08098
Phone: 856-769-0090/Fax: 856-769-1439

Alloway Township
Carl R. Gaskill, PE, PP, PLS, CME
Alloway Township Engineer (Fralinger Engineering, PA)
115 Fifth Street
Salem, NJ 08079
Phone: 856-935-0688/Fax: 856-935-2608

Township of Hopewell
Harold Bickings, Jr., Mayor
590 Shiloh Pike
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Phone: 856-455-1230/Fax: 856-455-3080

Upper Deerfield Township
Roy J. Spoltore, Township Administrator
1325 S.H. 77, P.O. Box 5098
Seabrook, NJ 08302
Phone: 856-451-3811/Fax: 856-451-1379

Upper Pittsgrove Township
Jack Cimprich, Mayor
PO Box 786
Elmer, NJ 08318
Phone: 856-358-2763/Fax: 856-358-8773

Water Resources Program  at Rutgers NJAES