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By Dr. Fred Lubnow, Senior Technical Director of Ecological Services

As we reflect on the winter of 2023-2024, it's evident that New Jersey experienced another unusually mild season, mirroring the winter of 2022-2023. Notably, Lake Hopatcong, located in Sussex and Morris Counties, remained virtually ice-free throughout the winter, with only a brief period of minor ice formation in early January. This pattern was not isolated to Lake Hopatcong; many lakes across the state and the broader Mid-Atlantic region exhibited similar ice-free conditions. Such conditions can lead to increased algal and plant growth earlier in the year.

Adding to this, from January to early June 2024, 15 of New Jersey's 21 counties recorded precipitation levels 26% to 50% higher than their long-term averages. The remaining six counties, predominantly in the southern part of the state, had precipitation increases of 11% to 25% above their long-term normals. This heightened precipitation is significant as it can transport nutrients, most notably phosphorus and nitrogen, into water bodies, potentially fueling the growth of algae.

Compounding these factors, long-range climate models and trends suggest that the summer of 2024 could rank among the hottest on record. The combination of a mild winter, increased precipitation, and anticipated high summer temperatures sets the stage for conditions similar to those experienced in 2019, a year marked by widespread harmful algal blooms (HABs) in numerous lakes.

HABs, characterized by rapid overgrowths of cyanobacteria, present serious challenges to water quality and aquatic ecosystems. Cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, naturally occur in aquatic environments but can proliferate rapidly under warm, nutrient-rich conditions. These blooms pose risks to human health, wildlife, aquatic species, local economies, and the overall ecological balance. The interplay between climate change and HABs is undeniable: rising temperatures and altered precipitation patterns foster conditions that exacerbate bloom occurrences.

Given these circumstances, it is crucial for lake managers and water utilities to adopt proactive measures. Early and consistent sampling efforts can detect cyanobacteria and akinetes, dormant spores that contribute to bloom formation. Additionally, reducing nutrient inputs, particularly phosphorus, into waterways is essential to prevent HABs. Princeton Hydro strongly recommends that lake managers, water utilities, and concerned community members closely monitor their lakes, reservoirs, and riverways to stay as proactive as possible in managing these valuable resources.

By raising awareness, fostering collaboration, and implementing effective strategies, we can work towards safeguarding the health and sustainability of our freshwater ecosystems. Together, we can address the challenges posed by HABs and protect the integrity of our water bodies. For more information about HABs, click here.


Dr. Fred Lubnow, Princeton Hydro’s Senior Technical Director, Ecological Services, is an expert in aquatic and watershed management, restoration ecology, community and ecosystem ecology, and the use of benthic macroinvertebrate and fish in-stream bioassessment protocols. Dr. Lubnow has managed hundreds of lake projects and provides technical expertise for a variety of lake and watershed restoration projects.

His experience in lake and reservoir restoration includes the design and implementation of dredging, aeration, chemical control of nuisance species, nutrient inactivation (i.e. alum) and biomanipulation. His experience in watershed restoration includes the design and implementation of structural Best Management Practices (BMPs), the development of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) pollutant budgets, and the design, implementation and analysis of watershed-based monitoring programs.

[post_title] => Preparing for Potential Harmful Algal Blooms: An Urgent Call to Action for NJ's Lakes and Reservoirs [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => an-urgent-call-to-action-habs [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-06-11 18:25:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-06-11 18:25:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://princetonhydro.com/?p=15090 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 13897 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2023-12-08 09:21:03 [post_date_gmt] => 2023-12-08 09:21:03 [post_content] =>

New Jersey Future, in partnership with Princeton Hydro, launched the New Jersey Stormwater Retrofit Best Management Practices (BMP) Guide. This comprehensive resource stands as a pivotal tool to aid local and county governments, nonprofits, developers, and property owners in retrofitting stormwater infrastructure and integrating sustainable green infrastructure solutions.

Historically, stormwater management measures, often seen in the form of detention basins in residential developments, shopping centers, and corporate complexes, have been designed to control peak flow (i.e., the maximum flow of water during a storm event) and do not necessarily provide a water quality improvement benefit.  A stormwater retrofit aims to modify the existing drainage system to further improve stormwater control and treatment practices. Retrofits can reduce runoff volume, filter out pollutants, increase groundwater recharge, and help mimic pre-development hydrology.

Many stormwater management features were built prior to contemporary regulatory frameworks like the 2021 Green Infrastructure Rule and 2023 Inland Flood Protection Rule. This guide aims to bridge the gap, supporting municipalities in complying with updated MS4 Permit regulations, offering insights into retrofitting existing BMPs, and introducing novel strategies for installing new stormwater BMPs in built-out environments.

Click here to view and download the complete guide.

New Jersey Future will be hosting a public webinar to review this new resource on January 23, 2024 at 12 PM. Register for the webinar here!


What the Guide Offers

Many communities installed stormwater features prior to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s (NJDEP) 2004 Stormwater Management Rule, which means they are outdated and not designed to manage current and future storm events.

The guide's primary aim is to provide invaluable context and guidance, enhancing planning, prioritization, and design efforts for stormwater retrofits. It’s positioned to aid in MS4 Tier A permit compliance, project identification, and design while fostering public-private partnerships aligned with New Jersey Future's mission to promote sensible and equitable growth, redevelopment, and infrastructure investments to foster healthy, strong, resilient communities.

The guide is also intended to supplement existing resources provided by NJDEP as well as New Jersey Future’s Mainstreaming Green Infrastructure Program’s New Jersey Green Infrastructure Municipal Toolkit and New Jersey Developers Green Infrastructure Guide.

"As climate change is exacerbating flooding across the Garden State, it is imperative that we update our existing stormwater infrastructure to both handle the increased quantity of stormwater and filter out pollutants," said Dana Patterson Grear, Director of Marketing and Communications for Princeton Hydro, who helped design the guide and oversee its creation. "This comprehensive stormwater retrofit guide is a treasure trove of insights, strategies, and practical guidance aimed at empowering communities to retrofit outdated stormwater features in order to improve water quality and reduce flooding in their neighorhoods."

The informative and visually engaging guide is organized into eight sections. It delves into the historical context, the journey and evolution of stormwater management in New Jersey; provides real-world examples of successful stormwater retrofit projects across the state; discusses post-construction stormwater system inspection and maintenance protocols to ensure the longevity and effectiveness; and explores a diverse range of stormwater retrofit options, techniques, and strategies tailored for various community landscapes with practical insights and implementation guidance for a spectrum of scenarios.

"The majority of New Jersey’s stormwater management systems were designed and implemented before the MS4 permitting program was created in 2004 and before the NJ Stormwater Management Rule required green infrastructure," said Lindsey Sigmund, PP, AICP, Program Manager for New Jersey Future. "New Jersey Future believes that green infrastructure is a key tool to easing the burden of flooding issues by repairing and restoring missing links in the water cycle. This guide will help New Jersey’s municipalities retrofit their legacy infrastructure, implement green infrastructure solutions, and improve water quality and reduce flooding in their communities."

The toolkit’s conclusion resonates as a call to action, emphasizing the flexibility and adaptability of stormwater retrofits. It encourages proactive engagement with local agencies, universities, soil conservation districts, and watershed associations to initiate these vital transformations. Moreover, it directs stakeholders towards potential funding sources, underscoring the guide's practical applicability.


A Collaborative Triumph

New Jersey Future partnered with Princeton Hydro to create the guide along with input from a team of committed stakeholders, which includes: Fred Akers, Sheila Baker Gujral, Sandra Blick PE, Stephen Elliott, Andrew Filippi PE, Kathy Hale, Jeromie Lange, PE, PP, CME, CFM, Grant Lucking, Gabriel Mahon, PE, Craig McGee, Nicole Miller, Christopher Obropta, PE, Michael Pisauro Jr. Esq., Annie Polkowski, Jaclyn Rhoads PhD, Lucia Osborne, and Fred Stine. A special thank you to Lindsey Sigmund and Patricia Dunkak of New Jersey Future and the entire stakeholder team for your ideas, feedback, and participation. New Jersey Future also gratefully acknowledges the William Penn Foundation for its generous financial support, which made this project possible.

stormwater detention basin planted with native plant species and a few houses in the background  

Founded in 1987, New Jersey Future is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes sensible and equitable growth, redevelopment, and infrastructure investments to foster healthy, strong, resilient communities; protect natural lands and waterways; increase transportation choices beyond cars; provide access to safe, affordable, and aging-friendly neighborhoods; and fuel a strong economy for everyone. Click here to learn more.

Princeton Hydro is a leader in innovative, cost-effective, and environmentally sound stormwater management systems. The preparation of stormwater management plans and design of stormwater management systems for pollutant reduction is an integral part of our projects. Click here to learn more. To explore more of New Jersey's stormwater management resources, click here. [post_title] => Introducing the New Jersey Stormwater Retrofit BMP Guide [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => new-jersey-stormwater-retrofit-best-management-practices-guide [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2024-01-18 05:01:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2024-01-18 05:01:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://princetonhydro.com/?p=13897 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 13315 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2023-07-27 16:44:27 [post_date_gmt] => 2023-07-27 16:44:27 [post_content] =>

Exciting changes have unfolded at Kol Emet, a Reconstructionist Congregation in Yardley, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The campus’ exterior lands have undergone a remarkable transformation, blossoming into an enchanting and peaceful place for community member gatherings, and a wildflower meadow.

Princeton Hydro partnered with Congregation Kol Emet to design and implement the synagogue's 10-acre campus transformation. The Princeton Hydro team provided green infrastructure engineering, landscape architecture, and construction services aimed at enhancing the usability and welcoming atmosphere of the synagogue, and creating a sustainable outdoor solution in the event of future pandemics, and a place to connect with the natural environment that surrounds the property. The design provides a net positive impact by reducing flooding in the community and improves water quality by augmenting stormwater management and biodiversity throughout the property.

"Our vision surpassed mere construction of a gathering space," said Geoffrey M. Goll P.E., President of Princeton Hydro, a congregant of Kol Emet, Executive Board Member, and point person for the project. "We wanted to create a harmonious union between the synagogue campus and the surrounding preserved woodlands, cultivating a serene haven where congregants can unite, celebrate, and worship, while also enhancing the ecological functionality and biodiversity of the landscape. This was a realization of the vision of the Founders of Kol Emet and the labor and financial support of many members of the Board, past and present, and a generous donation by a longtime supporter of the community. The outdoor sanctuary was named in honor and memory of a founding member and former President, Geri Shatz, who was a staunch supporter of the Jewish community and advocate for the mission of Kol Emet. She lived the ideals of community and contribution. I am proud of the extraordinary transformation that’s been achieved."


About the Congregation of Kol Emet

The Kol Emet Reconstructionist Congregation, is a 501(c)3 religious organization, founded in 1984. While a center of worship for its members, it is much more than that. Kol Emet is a community of people who care about improving the world around them through social action and environmental protection.

The sentiment of "Tikkun Olam" is embodied by Kol Emet and the committee that spearheaded the project, working directly with the Princeton Hydro team to bring the project goals to fruition. The modern interpretation of the Hebrew phrase “Tikkun Olam,” is “action intended to repair and improve the world.” The campus restoration project brings the concept of “Tikkun Olam” to life.


About the Restoration Project

Princeton Hydro Landscape Architect Cory Speroff, PLA, ASLA, CBLP is the project’s lead designer. The project included landscape design and planting that incorporates native and sustainable trees and shrubs; significant upgrades to the existing stormwater management basin, including the conversion of low-flow channels, impervious surfaces, and turf-covered areas to native grassland and wildflower habitat; and the development of the “Geri Shatz Outdoor Contemplative Space."

Cory’s design inspiration for the Geri Shatz Outdoor Contemplative Space is modeled after the Hebrew term “etz chaim” or “Tree of Life.” In Judaism, the Tree of Life has a number of meanings, both literal and figurative. In the Kabbalah, the Tree of Life represents the connection between heaven and earth, wisdom and knowledge, and the interconnectedness of all living things. It is visually represented as a diagram that looks much like a tree with 10 nodes and 22 lines. Cory’s design for the community space uses strategically placed trees to mimic the Tree of Life and aims to promote community connection and a connection to the surrounding natural landscape.

 

The contemplative space consists of a bimah, seating to accommodate at least 80 people, and a beautiful array of native trees and flowering shrubs, including black gum, silver birch, and Virginia sweetspire.

[gallery link="none" columns="2" ids="13117,13071"]

Cory’s design for the land surrounding the contemplative space improves flood resilience; controls stormwater runoff volume and promotes groundwater recharge; boosts safety features of the campus; and enhances habitat for pollinators, native plants, and other important species. The wildflower meadow was seeded with a variety of native plants, including purple love grass, common milkweed, wild bergamot, and blue wild indigo.

[gallery link="none" columns="2" ids="13055,13081"] [gallery columns="2" link="none" ids="13042,13044"]

“During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, it felt like the only way to see our loved ones was to be outside, and during these backyard and front porch gatherings many people re-discovered their love for the outdoors,” said Cory. “In talking with the Committee, there was a desire to create an outdoor sanctuary where the congregation could gather and continue that re-discovery. I believe that through the careful consideration of symbolic elements and thoughtful design choices, we’ve created a space that can inspire introspection, connection, and a sense of harmony with both nature and faith.”


The Generosity that Made the Project Possible

Funding for the project came from the Congregation Kol Emet’s “Our Heart. Our Home” capital campaign, a $750,000 campaign focused on upgrading four key aspects of the synagogue: social hall, HVAC upgrades, indoor sanctuary, outside school, and the new outdoor sanctuary. The outdoor sanctuary and ecological uplift to the 10-acre campus is a primary piece of the campaign and was made possible by the generous donations of several Kol Emet members.

Stan Shatz bestowed a bounteous donation in memory of Geri Shatz, which made possible the creation of the “Geri Shatz Outdoor Contemplative Space.”

The following families also contributed to the funding of the Geri Shatz Outdoor Contemplative Space: Laurel & Kevin Bloch, Barbara & Debra Fogel and Family, Jill & David Gordon, Annie & Ryan Kubanoff and Family, and Teddi & Josh Matisoff and Family.

The Princeton Hydro team is honored to have worked with Kol Emet on this important and inspirational project.


Enjoying and Celebrating the New Space

Congregation Kol Emet came together on Sunday, June 4, 2023 for a celebration and ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the completion of the outdoor sanctuary project. Here are a few photos from the joyous event:

[gallery link="none" ids="13125,13116,13130"]

Princeton Hydro is an expert in engineering, ecological restoration, and landscape architecture, and we’ve been incorporating green stormwater infrastructure and nature-based solutions into our designs for decades. Click here to read about the landscape restoration and stormwater management project we designed and implemented in Thompson Park, a 675-acre recreation area in Middlesex County, New Jersey.

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This article, written by Princeton Hydro team members, was recently published in the ANJEC Report, a quarterly magazine published by the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions.

Our lakes in New Jersey are an invaluable resource for clean drinking water, outdoor recreation, and agriculture and provide habitat for aquatic flora and fauna. Home to about 1,700 lakes, the “Garden State” is also the most densely populated state. Excess nutrients from fertilizers, roadway pollutants, overdevelopment, and failing septic systems can end up in our lakes and impair water quality. Larger rain events can also cause erosion and instability of streams, adding to the influx of more excess nutrients to our lakes and ponds. Changes in hydrology, water chemistry, biology, and/or physical properties in these complex ecosystems can have cascading consequences that can alter water quality and the surrounding ecosystem. For example, excess nutrients can fuel algal and plant growth in lakes and lead to issues like harmful algal blooms (HABs) or fish kills.

In order to ensure that we protect the overall health of our local waterbodies, it’s important that we look beyond just the lake itself. Implementing holistic watershed-based planning is a critical step in managing stormwater runoff, preventing the spread of HABs, and maintaining water quality. A watershed management plan defines and addresses existing or future water quality problems from both point sources and nonpoint sources of pollutants*. This approach addresses all the beneficial uses of a waterbody, the criteria needed to protect the use, and the strategies required to restore water quality or prevent degradation. When developing a watershed plan, we review all the tools in the toolbox and recommend a variety of best management practices to prevent nutrients from entering lakes or streams. Options include short- and long-term solutions such as green stormwater infrastructure, stream bank stabilization, and stormwater basin retrofits.

To reduce nutrient availability in lakes, one innovative tool in our toolbox is floating wetland islands (FWIs). FWIs are a low-cost, effective green infrastructure solution that are designed to mimic natural wetlands in a sustainable, efficient, and powerful way. They improve water quality by assimilating and removing excess nutrients; provide valuable ecological habitat for a variety of beneficial species; help mitigate wave and wind erosion impacts; provide an aesthetic element; and add significant biodiversity enhancement within open freshwater environments. FWIs are also highly effective in a range of waterbodies from big to small, from deep to shallow.

[caption id="attachment_4363" align="aligncenter" width="631"]This illustration, created by Staff Scientist Ivy Babson, conveys the functionality of a Floating Wetland Island This illustration, sketched by Princeton Hydro Staff Scientist Ivy Babson, conveys the functionality of a floating wetland island.[/caption]  

Typically, FWIs consist of a constructed floating mat, usually composed of woven, recycled plastic material, with vegetation planted directly into the material. The islands are then launched into the lake and anchored in place, and, once established, require very little maintenance.

It estimated that one 250-square-foot FWI has a surface area equal to approximately one acre of natural wetland. These floating ecosystems can remove approximately 10 pounds of phosphorus each year. To put that into perspective, one pound of phosphorus can produce 1,100 pounds of algae each year, so each 250-square-feet of FWI can potentially mitigate up to 11,000 pounds of algae.

In addition to removing phosphorus that can feed nuisance aquatic plant growth and algae, FWIs also provide excellent refuge habitat for beneficial forage fish and can provide protection from shoreline erosion.

Let's take a look at some examples of FWIs in action:

Lake Hopatcong

[gallery columns="2" link="none" ids="11071,10666"]  

Princeton Hydro has been working with Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey’s largest Lake, for 30+ years, restoring the lake, managing the watershed, reducing pollutant loading, and addressing invasive aquatic plants and nuisance algal blooms. Back in 2012, Lake Hopatcong became the first public lake in New Jersey to install FWIs. In the summer of 2022, nine more FWIs were installed in the lake with help from staff and volunteers from the Lake Hopatcong Foundation, Lake Hopatcong Commission, and Princeton Hydro. The lake’s Landing Channel and Ashley Cove were chosen for the installations because they are both fairly shallow and prone to weed growth. The installation of these floating wetland islands is part of a series of water quality initiatives on Lake Hopatcong funded by a NJDEP Harmful Algal Bloom Grant and 319(h) Grant awarded to Lake Hopatcong Commission and Lake Hopatcong Foundation.


Greenwood Lake

floating wetland island installation on greenwood lake in new jersey

Princeton Hydro partnered with the Greenwood Lake Commission (GWLC) on a FWI installation in Belcher's Creek, the main tributary of Greenwood Lake. The lake, a 1,920-acre waterbody located in both New Jersey and New York, is a highly valued ecological, economical, and recreational resource. The lake also serves as a headwater supply of potable water that flows to the Monksville Reservoir and eventually into the Wanaque Reservoir, where it supplies over 3 million people with drinking water.

The goal of the FWI Installation was to help decrease total phosphorus loading, improve water quality, and create important habitat for beneficial aquatic, insect, bird, and wildlife species. The project was partially funded by the NJDEP Water Quality Restoration Grants for Nonpoint Source Pollution Program under Section 319(h) of the federal Clean Water Act. GWLC was awarded one of NJDEP’s matching grants, which provided $2 in funding for every $1 invested by the grant applicant.


Harveys Lake

Volunteers install native plants in one of the FWIs installed in Harveys Lake. Photo by: Mark Moran, The Citizen’s Voice.

Measuring 630+ acres, Harveys Lake is the largest natural lake (by volume) in Pennsylvania and is one of the most heavily used lakes in the area. It is classified as a high quality - cold water fishery habitat (HQ-CWF) and is designated for protection under the classification. Since 2002, The Borough of Harveys Lake and Harveys Lake Environmental Advisory Council has worked with Princeton Hydro on a variety of lake management efforts focused around maintaining high water quality conditions, strengthening stream banks and shorelines, and managing stormwater runoff. Five floating wetland islands were installed in Harveys Lake to assimilate and reduce nutrients already in the lake. The islands were placed in areas with high concentrations of nutrients, placed 50 feet from the shoreline and tethered in place with steel cables and anchored. The FWIs were funded by PADEP.


Wesley Lake and Sunset Lake

Working with the Deal Lake Commission (DLC), Princeton Hydro designed and installed 12 floating wetland islands at two lakes in Asbury Park, NJ. In order to complete the installation of the floating wetland islands, our team worked with the DLC to train and assist over 30 volunteers to plant plugs in the islands and launch them into the two lakes. Our experts helped disseminate knowledge to the volunteers, not only about how to install the floating wetland islands, but how they scientifically worked to remove excess nutrients from the water. With assistance from Princeton Hydro, DLC acquired the 12 floating islands – six for Wesley Lake and six for Sunset Lake – through a Clean Water Act Section 319(h) grant awarded by NJDEP.


In addition to the direct environmental benefits of FWIs, the planting events themselves, which usually involve individuals from the local lake communities, have long-lasting positive impacts. When community members come together to help plant FWIs, it gives them a deepened sense of ownership and strengthens their connection to the lake. This, in turn, encourages continued stewardship of the watershed and creates a broader awareness of how human behaviors impact the lake and its water quality. And, real water quality improvements begin at the watershed level with how people treat their land.

For more information on watershed planning or installing FWI in your community, click here to contact us. To learn more about ANJEC, go here.

- *U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2008. Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect Our Waters.

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When New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Group
(NJM) developed their new Regional Operations Facility, a 55-acre corporate campus in Hammonton, New Jersey, they approached the construction with one major goal at the forefront: stormwater management.

Fundamental to that goal was designing a green infrastructure stormwater management system capable of containing on site nearly all the stormwater runoff generated by storm events up to and including a 100-year frequency, 24-hour duration storm.

The group hired Princeton Hydro, recognized as a leader in innovative, cost-effective, and environmentally sound stormwater management, to develop a concept plan that could be built within the context of proper stormwater management and meet the stringent requirements of the NJ Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan.

To accomplish the ambitious stormwater management goals, the project team designed and implemented an integrated stormwater management system that combined traditional and green infrastructure components, and consisted of bioinfiltration basins, parking lot islands, a wetland basin, and a bioretention island. These features were designed to promote the interception, evapotranspiration, and infiltration of stormwater runoff at its source.

Emphasis was given to green infrastructure BMPs specifically capable of treating and infiltrating large volumes of runoff. Thus, all of the infiltration areas were designed using a soil amendment process where the underlying soils were excavated and amended with organic material to improve the underlying recharge capabilities of the soils. To complement the BMPs, the team designed and installed 120,000 gallon below-grade rainwater capture and reuse system. The system captures roof runoff to be used for on-site irrigation, which not only reduces stormwater volume but also decreases the facility’s water usage.

The project is one of the first projects in New Jersey built to infiltrate nearly 100% of the on-site runoff and uses site-design-based stormwater capacity to determine allowable impervious cover.

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Before construction began, the team implemented a comprehensive study, which began with a detailed analysis of the site’s soils, with particular attention given to physical properties of the soil and the depth to seasonal high water (groundwater). During construction, Princeton Hydro provided monitoring services for all earthwork activities. Our team was on site full-time during critical activities to ensure that the project was built in accordance with the intent of the original design and ensure the maintenance of the project schedule. The team also provided environmental and geotechnical design and engineering services throughout the corporate campus construction, including the analysis of subsurface structures shop drawings and providing consultation support to the general contractor.

For the project, we partnered with Burgis Associates, Inc. who created site designs, provided landscape architectural and professional planning services, and helped to obtain agency approvals. The landscape program sought to establish native plant communities that filter runoff, provide an aesthetically pleasing visual, reduce invasive species, create habitat for pollinators and other critical species, and require limited maintenance to stay healthy and flourishing.

Post construction, the Princeton Hydro team led the preparation of the scope of services, budget, and proposal for the Stormwater Basin Maintenance, which included mowing and clearing the vegetation in nine infiltration basins. The basins were inspected monthly for functionality and for the presence of invasive plants. And, we are happy to report that the basins are all working properly and invasive plants have been eradicated.

At Princeton Hydro, we are experts in stormwater management; we recognize the numerous benefits of green infrastructure; and we’ve been incorporating green infrastructure into our engineering designs since before the term was regularly used in the stormwater lexicon. Click below to read about a Stormwater Treatment Train we designed and implemented in Thompson Park, a 675-acre recreation area in Middlesex County, New Jersey.

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The Metedeconk River flows through over 40 miles of New Jersey's woodlands, freshwater wetlands, forested wetlands, tidal wetlands, and densely developed areas before emptying into the Barnegat Bay. The river and its watershed provide drinking water from ground and surface water sources to about 100,000 homes in Ocean and Monmouth Counties.

A tributary to the North Branch of the Metedeconk River that flows directly through Ocean County Park in Lakewood, NJ. This tributary was deemed to have water quality impairments, including fecal coliform due to the Canada Goose population and high temperature due to the exposed stream channels, which lack a significant tree-canopy. The increasing amounts of impervious land cover associated with the continued urbanization of the Metedeconk River’s Watershed was also a primary cause of water quality impairments.

American Littoral Society (ALS) partnered with Princeton Hydro and local stakeholders to implement green infrastructure projects with the goal of remedying the fecal coliform and water temperature impairments in the Park's tributary as well as improving the overall health and water quality of the Metedeconk River, its surrounding watershed, and, ultimately, the greater Barnegat Bay.


Green Infrastructure Design & Implementation Project

The project team designed and implemented a stormwater treatment train, which combined multiple green infrastructure stormwater management best management practices (BMPs) that work in unison to decrease NPS pollutant loading to the Metedeconk River and increase ecological diversity in Ocean County Park.

The project, which was funded by a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection 2014 319(h) Implementation Grant, included four primary BMPs in Ocean County Park: 1. Installation of two Filterra curb-side tree boxes; 2. Construction of a vegetated bioretention/biofiltration swale; 3. Creation of a section of living shoreline along the banks of Duck Pond; and 4. Installation of two floating wetland islands in Duck Pond.


Filterra Curb-Side Tree Boxes

Built at street level, the Filterra™ tree box is a pre-manufactured, in-ground concrete box filled with soil media and planted with a native, noninvasive tree or shrub. It is designed to collect stormwater, absorb nutrients, and treat water before it discharges into surrounding waterbodies.

For this project, two Filterra™ tree box units were installed in the parking lot to the north of Ocean County Park's swimming beach and each planted with serviceberry shrubs. The boxes serve to catch and treat stormwater runoff flowing from the parking lot.


Vegetated Bioswale

Unlike a traditional drainage basin that simply collects water, a vegetated bioswale uses native plants to reduce the volume of stormwater runoff, decrease total phosphorus loading, and prevent debris, sediment, and pollutants from flowing into the Metedeconk River and other surrounding waterbodies.

For this project, the team designed and implemented a .07-acre bioswale adjacent to the park's main parking lot. Installation of the vegetated bioswale began by removing existing vegetation, excavating the ground north of the parking lot, and then regrading it per the specifications on the plans. Once proper grading was established, the basin was planted with native species including Joe Pye Weed, Blue Mistflower, Jacob Cline Bee Balm, Orange Coneflower, and Wrinkleleaf Goldenrod.


Living Shoreline Along Duck Pond

[caption id="attachment_14374" align="aligncenter" width="1280"] Photo by ALS[/caption]  

Living shorelines use a variety of native plants to filter runoff, create and improve habitat for aquatic animals, increase water quality, and protect the shoreline from erosion. Two sections of bulkhead along the North and South edges of Ocean County Park's Duck Pond were removed so that the bank could be sloped naturally into the pond and populated with vegetation. The design serves as an additional point of stormwater collection and filtration, significantly reducing the amount of water flowing into nearby paved parking areas.

The northern portion of the living shoreline encompasses 0.06 acres and spans 100 feet along the shore. The southern portion  encompasses 0.18 acres and spans 40 feet along the shore. The living shorelines were seeded and then planted with Green Bulrush, Helen’s Flower, Switchgrass, Blue Mistflower, New England Aster, Upright Sedge, and Little BlueStem.


Floating Wetland Islands in Duck Pond

A floating wetland island is made up of a plastic matrix that is planted with water-loving native vegetation. The matrix promotes the growth of a healthy microbial community. The biofilm that develops on the plants' roots and within the island matrix, contribute toward the uptake of nutrients within the waterbody thus improving water quality. Floating wetland islands are anticipated to remove an estimated 17.33 lbs of phosphorus and 566.67 lbs of nitrogen each year, as well as promote a balanced ecosystem through the promotion of “healthy” bacteria and plankton.

Two 250-square-foot floating wetland islands made of polyethylene terephthalate layers were populated with native wetland plants and installed in Duck Pond. The plant pockets were then filled with a biomix of soil and peat, and a variety of native plant species were planted on both islands, including: Swamp Milkweed, Upright Sedge, Common Boneset, Crimson Eyed Rosemallow, and Blue Flag Iris.


Volunteer Involvement & Community Education

Given the magnitude of the project and the high-profile nature of Barnegat Bay, community education and outreach was an essential element of the project and its long-term success. Throughout the course of the project, efforts were made to increase public understanding of the project and to encourage public input in the design of the green infrastructure BMPs and the living shoreline.

The education and outreach was a collaborative effort led by ALS, with support provided by the Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation, Georgian Court University, Brick Municipal utilities Authority, NJDEP, and Princeton Hydro.

The team conducted public presentations and meetings, installed educational signs to accompany the water quality improvement techniques that were implemented, created a website dedicated to providing project details and updates, and invited local residents to participate in shoreline restoration and floating wetland island planting efforts.


Successful Outcome

Following the project, in-situ and discrete water quality monitoring was conducted in stream in order to assess the effectiveness of the above BMPs. The combined green infrastructure and living shoreline elements of this project set the stage for a much needed effort to reduce nonpoint source pollution loading and address waterfowl-related pathogen impacts to Ocean County Park’s lakes and the Metedeconk River. It also heightened public awareness of nonpoint source pollution and the benefits of green infrastructure measures in the abatement of water quality problems.

The project serves as a model for proper stormwater management and living shoreline creation throughout both the Metedeconk River and Barnegat Bay Watersheds.


To learn more about Princeton Hydro’s robust natural resource management and restoration services, click here. Click here to read about another stormwater management green infrastructure project recently completed in Thompson Park, the largest developed park in the New Jersey's Middlesex County park system.

 

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The Lion’s Gate Park and Urban Wetland Floodplain Creation Project has been chosen as a winner of the New Jersey Future “Smart Growth Awards” for 2022. The project transformed a densely developed, flood-prone, industrial site into a thriving public active recreation park with 4.2 acres of wetlands.

As stated in the New Jersey Future award announcement, “The park is representative of smart growth values, with walkable trails in the middle of a residential area, a regenerated protected wetland which helps to mitigate flooding from storms like Hurricane Ida, and mixed-use opportunities for recreation. The dual roles of Lion Gate Park as both a source of resilience and recreation demonstrate a model of land use and planning that values the accessibility of public spaces while acknowledging and addressing the urgent need to adapt to the growing impacts of climate change in New Jersey.”

The restoration project site is located in Bloomfield Township and includes 1,360 feet along the east bank of the Third River and 3,040 feet along the banks of the Spring Brook. These waterways are freshwater tributaries of the Passaic River and share a history of flooding above the site’s 100-year floodplain. The Third River, like many urban streams, tends to be the victim of excessive volume and is subjected to erosion and chronic, uncontrolled flooding.

By removing a little over four acres of upland historic fill in this density developed area and restoring the natural floodplain connection, we significantly improved the land’s ecological value; enhanced the aquatic and wildlife habitat; increased flood storage capacity for urban stormwater runoff; replaced invasive plant species with thriving native wetland and riparian plant communities; and provided outdoor recreation accessibility to Bloomfield Township.

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The Lion Gate Park project is the culmination of nearly two decades of collaborative work. The primary project team includes the Township of Bloomfield, NY/NJ Baykeeper, Bloomfield Third River Association, CME Associates, PPD Design, GK+A Architects, Enviroscapes, Strauss and Associates/Planners, and Princeton Hydro. The project recieved $1.76 million in funding from the New Jersey Freshwater Wetlands Mitigation Council and another several million dollars from NJDEP’s Office of Natural Resource Restoration.

Princeton Hydro served as the ecological engineer to Bloomfield Township. Our scientists and engineers assisted in obtaining grants, collected background ecological data through field sampling and surveying, created a water budget, completed all necessary permitting, designed both the conceptual and final restoration plans, and conducted construction oversight throughout the project. Enviroscapes and Princeton Hydro are currently monitoring the site on behalf of the Township.

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“Local residents are already benefiting from this floodplain creation project. During Tropical Storm Ida, the area held significant flood waters,” said Mark Gallagher, Vice President of Princeton Hydro. “This restoration project really exemplifies how a diverse group of public and private entities can work together to prioritize urban and underserved areas to mitigate flooding and create new open space. We’re honored to be recognized by NJ Future and selected as a winner of this important award.”

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Since 2002, New Jersey Future has honored smart planning and redevelopment in New Jersey through its "Smart Growth Awards." The projects and plans chosen each year represent some of the best examples of sustainable growth and redevelopment in the state. For a complete list of 2022 Award Winners, click here. For more info on New Jersey Future, click here.

To learn more about the Bloomfield restoration project and see drone images of it all coming together, click below: [visual-link-preview encoded="eyJ0eXBlIjoiaW50ZXJuYWwiLCJwb3N0Ijo1ODU5LCJwb3N0X2xhYmVsIjoiQXJ0aWNsZSA1ODU5IC0gQmxvb21maWVsZDogUmVzdG9yYXRpb24gRWZmb3J0cyBUcmFuc2Zvcm1pbmcgSW5kdXN0cmlhbCBTaXRlIEludG8gVGhyaXZpbmcgUHVibGljIFBhcmsiLCJ1cmwiOiIiLCJpbWFnZV9pZCI6MCwiaW1hZ2VfdXJsIjoiIiwidGl0bGUiOiJCbG9vbWZpZWxkOiBSZXN0b3JhdGlvbiBFZmZvcnRzIFRyYW5zZm9ybWluZyBJbmR1c3RyaWFsIFNpdGUgSW50byBUaHJpdmluZyBQdWJsaWMgUGFyayIsInN1bW1hcnkiOiJBIGRlbnNlbHkgZGV2ZWxvcGVkLCBmbG9vZC1wcm9uZSwgZm9ybWVyIGluZHVzdHJpYWwgc2l0ZSBpbiBCbG9vbWZpZWxkLCBOZXcgSmVyc2V5IGlzIGJlaW5nIHRyYW5zZm9ybWVkIGludG8gYSB0aHJpdmluZyBwdWJsaWMgcGFyayBhbmQgNC4yIGFjcmVzIG9mIHdldGxhbmRzLiBUaGlzIGlzIHRoYW5rcyB0byB0aGUgVGhpcmQgUml2ZXIgRmxvb2RwbGFpbiBXZXRsYW5kIEVuaGFuY2VtZW50IFByb2plY3QsIHdoaWNoIGJyb2tlIGdyb3VuZCBpbiBNYXJjaCBvZiAyMDE5LiBUaGUgcHJvamVjdCB3aWxsIHJlc3RvcmUgdmFsdWFibGUgZWNvbG9naWNhbCBmdW5jdGlvbnMgYW5kIG5hdHVyYWwgZmxvb2RwbGFpbiBjb25uZWN0aW9uLCBlbmhhbmNlIGFxdWF0aWMuLi4iLCJ0ZW1wbGF0ZSI6InNpbXBsZSJ9"] [post_title] => Bloomfield's Lion’s Gate Park Restoration Wins 2022 Smart Growth Award [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => lion-gate-park-wins-smart-growth-award [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-11-07 16:41:26 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-11-07 16:41:26 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://princetonhydro.com/?p=11506 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 11289 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2022-08-26 19:06:38 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-08-26 19:06:38 [post_content] =>

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) launched a Youth Inclusion Initiative to help the State of New Jersey develop the next generation of environmental protection, conservation and stewardship leaders while also providing an avenue for young adults from open space-constrained communities to engage with nature as they provide valuable stewardship services to the public through jobs at NJDEP. 

This year, the youth inclusion program is partnering with Groundwork Elizabeth, Rutgers University Camden, and Newark’s Ironbound Community Corporation to create a workforce development curriculum for people ages 17 to 24. Groundwork Elizabeth sent 12 participants to this year’s program, and Rutgers Camden and the Ironbound Community Corporation each sent 10.

[caption id="attachment_11299" align="aligncenter" width="771"] Photo by NJDEP[/caption]

The curriculum provides career education in the environmental protection field and helps the young participants develop the skills necessary to pursue those career paths in New Jersey. Participants learn through classroom instruction and by working across sectors regulated by the NJDEP, including water resources, air quality, energy and sustainability, public lands management, and wildlife. 

Susan Lockwood of NJDEP’s Division of Land Resource Protection’s Mitigation Unit reached out to Princeton Hydro to showcase ecosystem restoration and mitigation efforts across the state as well as discuss the variety of career roles that make these projects possible. Our portion of the curriculum entailed each group of students visiting two sites to learn about the benefits of restoring a landscape with native vegetation. Our discussion explored different fields of work related to urban environmental restoration and water resource protection and the job responsibilities of environmental scientists, water resource engineers, geologists, ecologists, pesticide applicators, and regulatory compliance specialists. 

The Abbott Marshlands in Trenton, New Jersey

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After a quick stop at NJDEP’s office in Trenton to learn about NJ invasive species, all three groups popped over to the Tulpehaking Nature Center in Mercer County’s John A. Roebling Park to see the restoration site in the Abbott Marshlands. The 3,000-acre Abbott Marshlands is the northernmost freshwater tidal marsh on the Delaware River and contains valuable habitat for many rare species like River Otter, American Eel, Bald Eagle, and various species of wading birds. Unfortunately, the area has experienced a significant amount of loss and degradation, partially due to the introduction of the invasive Common Reed (Phragmites australis). For Mercer County Park Commission, Princeton Hydro implemented a restoration plan to remove Common Reed and expose the native seed bank in 40-acres of the marsh to increase biodiversity, improve recreational opportunities, and enhance visitor experience. Students learned how to tell the difference between the invasive Common Reed vs. native Wild Rice (Zizania palustris L.). They utilized tools of the trade like field guides and binoculars to identify flora and fauna in the marsh. Learn more about this project.


Mullica River Wetland Mitigation Site in Evesham, New Jersey

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After visiting the Roebling site, students from Camden traveled down to Evesham Township in Burlington County to visit the Mullica River Wetland Mitigation Site. For this project, Princeton Hydro worked with GreenVest, LLC to restore a highly degraded 34-acre parcel of land which was previously used for cranberry cultivation. Through the implementation of restoration activities focused on removing the site’s agricultural infrastructure, Princeton Hydro and GreenVest were able to restore a natural wetland system on the site and over 1,600 linear feet of stream, providing forested, scrub-shrub, and emergent wetlands, forested uplands, headwater stream and riparian buffer, and critical wildlife habitat. The project also significantly uplifted threatened and endangered species habitats including Timber Rattlesnake.

Susan Lockwood of NJDEP, Owen McEnroe of GreenVest, and Dana Patterson of Princeton Hydro, lead the group of 10 students. They learned the difference between restoration and mitigation and got to experience the remoteness of Pinelands habitat. Walking through the site, we shared how the dam and dike removal helped to restore the river back to its natural free-flowing state and the numerous resulting environmental benefits.The site was chosen for the Camden students in order to demonstrate that successful mitigation and restoration projects happen throughout the State and not far from urban centers like Camden. Learn more about this project.


3. Third River Floodplain Wetland Enhancement Project in Bloomfield, New Jersey

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After visiting the Roebling site, students from Newark and Elizabeth trekked up to Essex County to visit an urban wetland creation project now known as Lion Gate Park. The once densely developed, abandoned Scientific Glass Factory in Bloomfield Township was transformed into a thriving public park with 4.2 acres of wetlands. Students heard the story of how this project came to be; decades of advocacy and litigation by community members and environmental nonprofits to stop redevelopment of the site into 148 townhomes. Bloomfield Township eventually secured the property to preserve as open space through a range of grants from NJDEP. Serving as the ecological engineer to Bloomfield Township, Princeton Hydro designed, permitted, and oversaw construction for the restoration project and is currently monitoring the site. The restoration work brought back to the land valuable ecological functions and natural floodplain connection, enhanced aquatic and wildlife habitat, and increased flood storage capacity for urban stormwater runoff. Learn more about this project.


 

The NJDEP Youth Inclusion Initiative began on July 5 with a week of orientation classes, and continued through August with classroom and in-field learning. The initiative culminates on August 26 with a graduation and NJDEP Career Day, during which students will have the opportunity to meet with and discuss career options with various organizations tabling at the event, including Princeton Hydro.

Click here to learn more about the NJDEP education program. If you’re interested in learning more about Princeton Hydro’s ecological restoration services, click here.

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A green roof is a roof fully or partially covered in plants and waterproof media that helps reduce the volume and velocity of stormwater runoff from roofs by temporarily storing stormwater, slowing excess stormwater release, and promoting evaporation.

Green roofs offer many benefits. They can help regulate a building’s internal temperature, which leads to heating and cooling energy savings; reduce stormwater runoff; mitigate the urban heat island effect; and increase biodiversity. 

From the planted rooftop of a building in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, we spoke with Philadelphia Green Roofs Principal and Owner Jeanne Weber, BSLA, GRP about the basics and benefits of green roofs for stormwater management. Click below to watch:

[embed]https://youtu.be/aD-c7rFTci8[/embed]

To learn more about green infrastructure and stormwater management, check out our blog:

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In October 2021, the largest stream restoration in Maryland was completed. Over 7 miles (41,000 linear feet) of Tinkers Creek and its tributaries were stabilized and restored.

The project was designed by Princeton Hydro for GV-Petro, a partnership between GreenVest and Petro Design Build Group. Working with Prince George’s County Department of the Environment and coordinating with the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission, this full-delivery project was designed to meet the County’s Watershed Implementation Plan total maximum daily load (TMDL) requirements and its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Discharge Permit conditions.

Today, we are thrilled to report that the once highly urbanized watershed is flourishing and teeming with life:

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We used nature-based design and bioengineering techniques like riparian zone planting and live staking to prevent erosion and restore wildlife habitat.

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10,985 native trees and shrubs were planted in the riparian area, and 10,910 trees were planted as live stakes along the streambank.

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For more information about the project visit GreenVest's website and check out our blog:

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Dr. Jack Szczepanski, CBLP, Princeton Hydro Senior Aquatic Ecologist, was recently featured on the Native Plants, Healthy Planet Podcast, which is ranked as a Top 20 Nature Apple podcast with 7k+ listeners per month. Hosts Fran Chismar and Tom Knezick interview some of the top minds in ecology, restoration, conservation, and native plants.

For the episode featuring Jack, the podcast explores floating wetland islands (FWIs).

FWIs are designed to mimic natural wetlands in a sustainable, efficient, and powerful way. They improve water quality by assimilating and removing excess nutrients that could fuel algae growth; provide valuable ecological habitat for a variety of beneficial species; help mitigate wave and wind erosion impacts; provide an aesthetic element; and add significant biodiversity enhancement within open freshwater environments. Installing FWIs is a low-cost, effective green infrastructure solution used to mitigate phosphorus and nitrogen stormwater pollution often emanating from highly developed communities and/or agricultural lands.

In the podcast, they discuss the benefits of FWIs, the science and design behind them, how to choose the appropriate native plants for them, and the different applications in which FWIs can be used. Jack also provides listeners with an overview of Princeton Hydro, our history, and the many ecological restoration services our team provides.

To listen to the full podcast, click here!

Jack is an expert in FWIs and is certified in green infrastructure. Recently, Jack led the Princeton Hydro team in an effort to install FWIs on Wesley and Sunset Lakes in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Learn more:

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By Dr. Fred Lubnow, Senior Technical Director of Ecological Services

As we reflect on the winter of 2023-2024, it's evident that New Jersey experienced another unusually mild season, mirroring the winter of 2022-2023. Notably, Lake Hopatcong, located in Sussex and Morris Counties, remained virtually ice-free throughout the winter, with only a brief period of minor ice formation in early January. This pattern was not isolated to Lake Hopatcong; many lakes across the state and the broader Mid-Atlantic region exhibited similar ice-free conditions. Such conditions can lead to increased algal and plant growth earlier in the year.

Adding to this, from January to early June 2024, 15 of New Jersey's 21 counties recorded precipitation levels 26% to 50% higher than their long-term averages. The remaining six counties, predominantly in the southern part of the state, had precipitation increases of 11% to 25% above their long-term normals. This heightened precipitation is significant as it can transport nutrients, most notably phosphorus and nitrogen, into water bodies, potentially fueling the growth of algae.

Compounding these factors, long-range climate models and trends suggest that the summer of 2024 could rank among the hottest on record. The combination of a mild winter, increased precipitation, and anticipated high summer temperatures sets the stage for conditions similar to those experienced in 2019, a year marked by widespread harmful algal blooms (HABs) in numerous lakes.

HABs, characterized by rapid overgrowths of cyanobacteria, present serious challenges to water quality and aquatic ecosystems. Cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, naturally occur in aquatic environments but can proliferate rapidly under warm, nutrient-rich conditions. These blooms pose risks to human health, wildlife, aquatic species, local economies, and the overall ecological balance. The interplay between climate change and HABs is undeniable: rising temperatures and altered precipitation patterns foster conditions that exacerbate bloom occurrences.

Given these circumstances, it is crucial for lake managers and water utilities to adopt proactive measures. Early and consistent sampling efforts can detect cyanobacteria and akinetes, dormant spores that contribute to bloom formation. Additionally, reducing nutrient inputs, particularly phosphorus, into waterways is essential to prevent HABs. Princeton Hydro strongly recommends that lake managers, water utilities, and concerned community members closely monitor their lakes, reservoirs, and riverways to stay as proactive as possible in managing these valuable resources.

By raising awareness, fostering collaboration, and implementing effective strategies, we can work towards safeguarding the health and sustainability of our freshwater ecosystems. Together, we can address the challenges posed by HABs and protect the integrity of our water bodies. For more information about HABs, click here.


Dr. Fred Lubnow, Princeton Hydro’s Senior Technical Director, Ecological Services, is an expert in aquatic and watershed management, restoration ecology, community and ecosystem ecology, and the use of benthic macroinvertebrate and fish in-stream bioassessment protocols. Dr. Lubnow has managed hundreds of lake projects and provides technical expertise for a variety of lake and watershed restoration projects.

His experience in lake and reservoir restoration includes the design and implementation of dredging, aeration, chemical control of nuisance species, nutrient inactivation (i.e. alum) and biomanipulation. His experience in watershed restoration includes the design and implementation of structural Best Management Practices (BMPs), the development of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) pollutant budgets, and the design, implementation and analysis of watershed-based monitoring programs.

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Posted on June 11, 2024

Preparing for Potential Harmful Algal Blooms: An Urgent Call to Action for NJ’s Lakes and Reservoirs

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