Cooper River, Cooper River Park
The Cooper River Watershed is a 40 square mile tributary to the Delaware River within the Delaware River Basin. It is characterized by extensive residential and commercial development. The surface waters are impaired with a wide variety of nutrients, chemicals and bacteria, but more importantly the river is impacted by increased runoff.
The Camden County Soil Conservation District (CCSCD) has completed a Regional Stormwater Management Plan for the Cooper River Watershed. This plan identified opportunities for the implementation of stormwater best management practices (BMPs) and management strategies to reduce peak flows from high frequency storms. One strategy discussed was to work with stakeholders to gain a better undesrtanding of the watershed and its river networks and for these stakeholders to take an active role in addressing impairments via small scale and grass-roots projects.
This project focused on building upon existing partnerships within the watershed to implement some of the BMP recommendations identified in the Cooper River Regional Stormwater Management Plan. The overall project goal was to demonstrate and evaluate how rain garden educational programs within the Cooper River Watershed will improve water quality and quantity in the Cooper River Watershed.
This project has three main objectives:
The first objective was to implement the Stormwater Management in Your Schoolyard educational program in at least three school systems in the Cooper River Watershed. Students were provided with an opportunity to apply their science, math, and communication skills to real-world environmental problems. This program increased the students' environmental awareness, and they were encouraged to teach others in their communities about the importance of stormwater management. As part of this objective, the students also participated in the design and construction of a rain garden at their school.
The second objective was to implement the Stormwater Management in Your Backyard (SWMIYB) educational program within the Cooper River Watershed. For SWMIYB, Rutgers Cooperative Extension and CCSCD professionals educated stakeholders in stormwater management. The educational program provided homeowners with the skills needed to install and manage rain gardens. The program also provided homeowners with resources so that they can adopt the practice of rain garden installation and help coordinate outreach efforts in the Cooper River Watershed.
The third objective was to implement the Rain Garden Training for Landscape Professionals educational program and the Corporate Landscapes for Stormwater Management educational program. These programs provided landscape professionals with a rain garden installation certificate of completion and the knowledge to offer rain garden installations to their clients, such as corporate entities. Rutgers Cooperative Extension and CCSCD professionals worked with local landscapers and corporations to install demonstration rain gardens in the Cooper River Watershed.
Through the implementation of demonstration rain gardens throughout the watershed, the impervious surfaces within the watershed were disconnected, and stormwater runoff was intercepted, treated, and infiltrated. These raingardens now serve as functional demonstrations of how to minimize flooding and improve the water quality of the Cooper River.
Deliverables to Date:
Stormwater Management in Your Schoolyard ~
Stormwater Management in Your Backyard ~
Rain Garden Training for Landscape Professionals and Corporate Landscapes for Stormwater Management ~
Camden County Soil Conservation District
423 Commerce Lane, Suite 1
West Berlin, NJ 08091
Christopher C. Obropta, Ph.D., P.E.
Associate Extension Specialist
Rutgers Cooperative Extension
14 College Farm Road
New Brunswick, NJ 08901