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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.

  [gallery columns="2" link="none" ids="4704,9172"]  

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.

  [gallery link="none" columns="2" ids="4710,9319"]  

“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.”

  [gallery link="none" columns="2" ids="9318,9294"]  

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="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"] [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] => 2022-09-27 19:04:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-09-27 19:04:51 [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 ) [1] => 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

[gallery link="none" ids="11287,11288,11281"]

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

[gallery link="none" ids="11343,11342,11282"]

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

[gallery link="none" ids="11344,11279,11277"]

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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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:

[gallery columns="2" size="medium" link="none" ids="10632,10631"]

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

[gallery columns="2" size="medium" ids="10635,10634"]

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

[gallery columns="2" size="medium" ids="10637,10636"]

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

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The Aquetong Creek Restoration Project is situated within the former basin of Aquetong Lake, which was a 15- acre impoundment formed in 1870 by the construction of an earthen dam on Aquetong Creek. The cold-water limestone spring, which flows at a rate of about 2,000 gallons per minute at approximately 53ºf, is known to be the largest of its kind in the 5-county Philadelphia region, and one of the largest in the state of Pennsylvania.

In 2015, the Township of Solebury commenced the restoration of Aquetong Spring Park, first with a dam breach followed by a large stream restoration, reforestation, and invasive species removal. In September 2021, the park was officially reopened to the public following a ribbon cutting ceremony. The event featured a blessing from the Lenni-Lenape Turtle Clan, the original inhabitants of the land.

 

SITE HISTORY

Prior to European settlement, the Lenni-Lenape Tribe inhabited a village close to the spring and designated the spring “Aquetong”, meaning “at the spring among the bushes." After an outbreak of smallpox, however, the tribe abandoned the village. William Penn acquired Aquetong Spring in the early 1680’s as part of his peaceful treaty with Lenni-Lenape. The park land transferred hands many times before it was owned by Aquetong Township.

The dependability of the water flow made the Aquetong Creek an ideal location for mills. As of the early 1800’s, Aquetong Spring is known to have supplied enough water to turn two grist mills regularly throughout the year, and to have concurrently powered numerous mills including a paper mill, a fulling mill, two merchant mills, four sawmills, and an oil mill.

Around 1870, the 15-acre Aquetong Lake was created by constructing a dam at the east end of the property. This provided additional power for the local mills and a recreation area for the public. A fish hatchery was constructed at the base of the spring outfall, portions of which can still be viewed today. Shad, brook trout, and terrapin turtles were raised in the hatchery, which was available for public viewing at a cost of 25 cents per person.

Then, in 1993, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission acquired the property. A few years later, with the support of Bucks County Trout Unlimited, Solebury Township began negotiating to obtain ownership of the site. Around 1996, the State performed emergency repairs on the dam; a six-foot section of the outlet structure was removed in order to take pressure off the aging barrier. This lowered the level of the lake and added about 80 feet of wetlands to the western shoreline. However, it was recognized that a complete repair of the dam could cost over $1 million and might not be the best choice for the environment.

In 2009, after almost 15 years of negotiations, Solebury Township gained control of the property, with the goal of preserving this important natural resource. It purchased the lake and surrounding properties from the state and obtained a 25-year lease. The Township’s total costs were substantially reduced because it received a large credit in exchange for its commitment to repair the dam in the future, as well as funding from the Bucks County Natural Areas Program toward the purchase.

Following the purchase, the Township engaged in a five-year process of community outreach and consultation with environmental experts in which it considered alternatives for the Aquetong Lake dam. Choices included rebuilding the dam in its then-current form, creating a smaller lake with a cold-water bypass into Aquetong Creek, or breaching the dam and restoring a free-flowing stream. Ultimately, recognizing that the lake was a thermal reservoir which introduced warm water into Aquetong Creek and eventually into the streams and river, the Township decided to breach rather than restore the dam, and return the site to its natural state.

[caption id="attachment_10303" align="aligncenter" width="832"] The Aquetong Creek restoration site is located in Solebury Township, Bucks County, PA, and encompasses the boundaries of the former Aquetong Lake. The Lake was a 15-acre impoundment formed in 1870 by the construction of an earthen dam on Aquetong Creek. The Creek flows approximately 2.5 miles from Ingham Spring to join with the Delaware River in New Hope, PA.[/caption]  

RESTORATION WORK

The Aquetong Restoration Project got underway in 2015, and Solebury Township breached the historic mill dam in Aquetong Spring Park to convert the former lake into a natural area with a free-flowing, cold water stream capable of supporting native brook trout.

After the dam breach, areas of active erosion were observed along the mainstem and a major tributary of Aquetong Creek. The steep, eroding banks, increased the sediment load to the Creek's sensitive aquatic habitat.

As with most dam removal projects, a degree of stewardship is necessary to enhance the establishment of desirable, beneficial vegetation. Additionally, Solebury Township wanted to control invasive species in Aquetong Spring Park and replant the project area with native species.

The Township secured funding to construct riparian buffers, implement streambank stabilization measures, establish trout habitat structures within the mainstem and its tributary, control invasive species, and implement a woodland restoration plan. The project was funded by a $250,000 grant from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, with an equal match from the Township. Additional grants for the project were provided by the PA Department of Community and Economic Development and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Solebury Township contracted Princeton Hydro to design the stabilization of the stream channel and floodplains within the former impoundment, monitor the stream and wetlands before and after implementation, and obtain the permits for the restoration of the former impoundment. Princeton Hydro team members designed the restoration of the main channel and tributary to reduce channel and bank erosion while supporting the brook trout habitat.

After gathering and reviewing the existing data for the site, Princeton Hydro conducted field investigations to inform and guide the final design including surveying cross sections and performing fluvial geomorphological assessments of the existing channel. Pebble counts were performed, cross sections were analyzed, and existing hydrological data was reviewed to inform the design. Simultaneously, an invasive species control and woodland restoration plan was developed for the park.

Data collected from the site was used to develop a geomorphically-appropriate, dynamically-stable design. The proposed channel design included excavation of impounded sediment to create stable channel dimensions, the addition of gravel, cobble, and boulder substrate where original/existing channel substrates were absent or insufficient, and the installation of large wood features to create aquatic habitat and enhance stability of channel bed and banks.

The banks and riparian corridor were vegetated with native seed, shrubs and trees to ultimately create a wooded, shaded riparian buffer. The design ultimately stabilized the streambanks with features that double as trout habitat and replanted the surrounding park with native vegetation.

The project was replanted with an incredibly diverse set of native species that included:

  • herbaceous species: swamp milkweed, blue mistflower, and butterfly weed;
  • shrub species: silky dogwood, winterberry holly, and buttonbush; and
  • tree species: red maple, american hornbeam, and pin oak.
[caption id="attachment_10301" align="aligncenter" width="763"] The forested restoration area was planted with a wide variety of native tree, herbaceous and shrub species. Shown here from top left: Canada Goldenrod, New England Aster and River Birch[/caption]  

EXPANDING THE PROJECT SCOPE

In addition to restoring the stream in the former impoundment, as a part of its Strategic Master Plan for Aquetong Spring Park, Solebury Township expanded its focus of the restoration project to include another 20 acres of forested land.

For this, Solebury developed a Woodland Restoration Plan which identified over 1,000 diseased forest trees, composed mostly of ash (Fraxinus sp.) and black walnut (Juglans nigra). It was the Township’s objective to remove the hazardous trees, re-establish a native woodland community, and establish an invasive species management program.

The trees removed as a part of this effort were repurposed for the stream restoration project and used for habitat features, stream stabilization measures, and park features (i.e. benches).

[caption id="attachment_10295" align="aligncenter" width="749"] Hazardous trees were removed and repurposed in the stream restoration construction, including the log grade control structures pictured here.[/caption]  

Princeton Hydro also provided stormwater design support for adjacent areas in Aquetong Spring Park, including multiple stormwater connections to the main tributary. After completion, Princeton Hydro provided bid assistance, developed a probable cost, drafted technical specifications, and produced a bid package to assist Aquetong Township in bringing the project to construction.

This restoration success could not have been possible without the hard work of so many dedicated project partners: Aquetong Spring Advisory Council, Bucks County Trout Unlimited, Solebury Township, Aquetong Township, Simone Collins Landscape Architects, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, PA Department of Community and Economic Development, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Lenni-Lenape Turtle Clan, and Princeton Hydro.

Princeton Hydro specializes in the planning, design, permitting, implementing, and maintenance of ecological rehabilitation projects. To learn more about our watershed restoration services, click here.  To learn about some of our award-winning restoration projects check out our blogs about the Pin Oak Forest Conservation Area freshwater wetland restoration project:

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Thousands of native flowering plants and grasses were planted at Thompson Park in Middlesex County, New Jersey. Once established, the native plant meadow will not only look beautiful, it will reduce stormwater runoff and increase habitat for birds, pollinators, and other critical species.

The planting was completed by community volunteers along with Eric Gehring of  Kramer+Marks Architects, Middlesex County Youth Conservation Corps, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County, South Jersey Resource Conservation and Development Council, and Princeton Hydro Landscape Architect Cory Speroff, PLA, ASLA, CBLP. 

All of the plants that were installed are native to the north-central region of New Jersey. Volunteers planted switchgrass (panicum virgatum), orange coneflower (rudbeckia fulgida), blue wild indigo (baptisia australis), partridge pea (chamaecrista fasciculata), Virginia mountain mint (pycnanhemum virginianum), and aromatic aster (symphyotrichum oblongifolium). In selecting the location for each of the plants, special consideration was given to each species' drought tolerance and sunlight and shade requirements. The selected plant species all provide important wildlife value, including providing food and shelter for migratory birds.

Photos provided by: Michele Bakacs

The planting initiative is one part of a multi-faceted Stormwater Treatment Train project recently completed in Thompson Park. The project is funded by a Water Quality Restoration 319(h) grant awarded to South Jersey Resource Conservation and Development Council by the NJDEP.

Middlesex County Office of Parks and Recreation and Office of Planning, NJDEP, South Jersey Resource Conservation and Development Council, Middlesex County Mosquito Extermination Commission, Freehold Soil Conservation District, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Enviroscapes, and Princeton Hydro worked together to bring this project to fruition.

To learn more about the Thompson Park Zoo stormwater project, check out our recent blog:

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Most of us are familiar with the famous quote "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” This sentiment is at the center point of the Highlands Act and Regional Master Plan, which provides funding to help New Jersey’s Highlands communities take a proactive and regional approach to watershed protection.

Historically, private lake associations and municipalities have worked autonomously to address water quality issues and develop improvement plans. Working together, however, and taking a regional approach to lake and watershed management has much farther-reaching benefits. Taking an integrated approach helps improve water quality and reduce incidents of aquatic invasive species and harmful algal blooms (HABs) not just in one waterbody, but throughout an entire region.

The New Jersey Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council (Highlands Council) is a regional planning agency that works in partnership with municipalities and counties in the Highlands Region of northern New Jersey to encourage exactly such an approach. Created as part of the 2004 New Jersey Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act (the Highlands Act), the Highlands Council has funded numerous water-quality-related planning grants throughout the region.

“Watersheds are inherently regional; they don’t follow municipal boundaries. So the Highlands Council is in a unique position to address these challenges from that perspective,” says Keri Green, Highlands Council Science Manager. “It’s critical for municipalities to understand what is entering their lakes from the surrounding watershed before they can effectively address in-lake issues. Across the region, the stormwater inlets and roadways that encircle and affect lakes are owned and maintained by the municipalities, and when we can evaluate these inputs, we can plan for how to address impairments.”

In 2019, the Highlands Council funded a Lake Management planning grant for the Borough of Ringwood that adopted this wider watershed view, and would ultimately become a model for similar Highlands Council grants within the region. The Borough chose to engage the services of Princeton Hydro to support the project work.

“This regional approach to lake and watershed management is the obvious choice from a scientific, technical, and community point of view. Historically, however, this approach is rarely taken,” said Princeton Hydro’s Senior Project Manager, Christopher Mikolajczyk, who is a Certified Lake Manager and lead designer for this initiative. “We were thrilled to work with the Borough of Ringwood and the Highlands Council to set a precedent, which has opened the door for the Townships of West Milford and Rockaway, and will hopefully inspire the formation of more public-private lake management partnerships.”

Rockaway Receives Lake Management Planning Grant from the Highlands Council

Rockaway Township in Morris County, New Jersey received Highlands Council grant approval in January to complete a Lake Management Planning Study. Eleven small- to medium-sized lakes in the township are working together for a watershed assessment and comprehensive regional analysis, which will lead to the creation of a Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP). The WIP will recommend and prioritize key watershed management measures that will have big impacts on water quality improvement.

Given the large number of lakes in Rockaway Township, and in an effort to keep the study to a reasonable scope, a selection process occurred with input from the Township Engineering office, the Township Health Department, Princeton Hydro and the Highlands Council. The lakes in the Rockaway Township Watershed Management Program include Green Pond, Egbert Lake, Durham Pond, Lake Emma, Camp Lewis Lake, Lake Telemark, Lake Ames, Mount Hope Pond, Mount Hope Lake, White Meadow Lake, and Fox’s Pond.

“Rockaway Township has been proactive about implementing watershed improvement projects in the past, so we were happy to provide funding to support continuing their efforts focusing on these 11 lakes,” explains Lisa Plevin, Highlands Council Executive Director. “It was a very productive collaboration with Highlands staff working in partnership with the Township to develop an approach and Princeton Hydro preparing a scope of work that met everyone’s goals.”

The watershed assessment will entail a number of analyses, including watershed modeling; hydrologic and pollutant loading analysis; watershed-based and in-lake water quality assessments; and tropic state assessments. The assessment aims to:

  1. Identify, quantify and prioritize the watershed-based factors which may cause eutrophication;
  2. Identify the watershed management measures needed to address general causes of water quality impairments;
  3. Identify the relative cost of the recommended general watershed management measures; and
  4. Generate a general schedule, based on priority, for the implementation of the recommended watershed management measures.

Once all the lab data is processed, the watershed modeling is complete, and historical data reviewed, Princeton Hydro will create a General Assessment Report that will summarize the data/observations and identify which watershed management techniques and measures are best suited for immediate or long-term implementation. The team expects to complete the General Assessment Report in the spring of 2022, after a year's worth of 2021 growing season data has been collected.

A Watershed Management Program is Underway in West Milford

In October 2020, the Highlands Council approved funding to support a watershed assessment of 22 private and public lakes in West Milford Township. The watershed assessment project is being implemented in two phases:

For Phase 1, which will take place throughout the course of 2021, Princeton Hydro will provide a historic data review; an examination of hydrologic/pollutant loads; a pollutant removal analysis; and watershed water quality analysis. The pollutants to be modeled include phosphorus, nitrogen, sediment, and bacteria, while the hydrology will include estimates of precipitation, runoff, evapotranspiration, groundwater flux, and ultimately streamflow or discharge.

This analysis will aid the Township in selecting, prioritizing and implementing nutrient and sediment load and stormwater management efforts with a focus on watershed projects that have the greatest overall benefit to the long-term management of surface water quality. The report will also identify examples of site-specific locations where wetland buffers, riparian buffers, and lakefront aqua-scaping can be implemented as part of future watershed management efforts.

For Phase 2 of the project, Princeton Hydro will investigate and assess the water quality of each of the lakes in West Milford Township during the growing season of May - October of 2022. This entails collecting bimonthly water quality samples at each lake, including in-situ water quality data consisting of real-time measurement of clarity, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and pH. The sampling events will also include a general survey of aquatic vegetation and/or algae growth, lake perimeter shoreline observations, and monitoring for nuisance waterfowl. These surveys will provide an objective understanding of the amount and distribution of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) and algae occurring throughout each lake over the course of the growing season.

The lakes included in this project are: High Crest Lake, Algonquin Waters, Lake Lookover, Kitchell Lake, Lindys Lake, Mt. Laurel Lake, Shady Lake, Wonder Lake, Mount Glen Lakes (Upper/Lower), Carpi Lake, Pinecliff Lake, Van Nostrand Lake, Upper Greenwood Lake, Post Brook Farms, Farm Crest Acres, Mt. Springs Lake, Forest Hill Park, Johns Lake, Gordon Lake, and Bubbling Springs Lake.

Leading the Way on Regional Lake Management in Ringwood, NJ

At the end of 2019, the Borough of Ringwood became the first municipality in New Jersey to take a regional approach to private lake management through a public-private partnership with four lake associations: Cupsaw, Erskine, Skyline, and Riconda.

The Borough of Ringwood is situated in the northeast corner of the New Jersey Highlands, is home to several public and private lakes, and provides drinking water to millions of New Jersey residents. In order to take an active role in the management of these natural resources, Ringwood hired Princeton Hydro to design a municipal-wide holistic watershed management plan that identifies and prioritizes watershed management techniques and measures that are best suited for immediate and long-term implementation.

Princeton Hydro recently completed a comprehensive assessment of the lakes and watersheds of Ringwood Borough. The assessment included a historical data review, hydrologic and pollutant loading analysis and in-lake and watershed based water quality data studies. The report details the results of Princeton Hydro’s mapping, modeling, and monitoring efforts in each waterbody and its respective watershed, along with specific recommendations for management implementations that are aimed at curbing the effects of nutrient and sediment loading, both within the lakes and their respective watersheds.

“Ringwood, West Milford, and Rockaway are three great examples of how people from different affiliations and backgrounds can come together to address lake and watershed monitoring and management,” said Mikolajczyk. “The key to success is open communication and a common goal!”

To learn more about Princeton Hydro’s natural resource management services, click here. And, click here to learn more about NJ Highlands Council and available grant funding.

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Invasive aquatic weeds can create major impacts on freshwater ecosystems. One of the primary reasons invasives are able to thrive, spread rapidly, and outcompete native species is that the environmental checks and predators that control these species in their natural settings are lacking in the ecosystems and habitat in which they become introduced.

The subsequent damages they cause occur on many ecological levels including competition for food or habitat (feeding, refuge, and/or spawning), direct predation and consumption of native species, introduction of disease or parasites, and other forms of disruption that lead to the replacement of the native species with the invasive species. As a result, invasives often cause serious harm to the environment, the economy, and even human health.

Some of the more commonly occurring non-native aquatic plant species that impact East Coast lakes, ponds, and reservoirs include curly-leaf pondweed, eurasian watermilfoil, hydrilla, and water chestnut.

The introduction of triploid grass carp to freshwater lakes and ponds can be an effective solution and natural alternative to managing and mitigating aquatic weed growth. When stocked at a proper rate, at correct sizes, targeting proper plant species, and the right time, triploid grass carp can reduce or eliminate the need for chemical treatment of the water to control aquatic vegetation.

Originally from Asia, grass carp have been imported to the United States since the 1960s to intentionally release into controlled freshwater environments for aquatic plant control. Grass carp, which rely almost entirely on aquatic plants for their diet, prefer to eat many of the non-native aquatic plant species that negatively impact freshwater environments, including the aforementioned pondweed species and watermilfoil.

Triploid Grass Carp in Woodridge Lake

Woodridge Lake is a beautiful 385-acre freshwater lake tucked away in the hills of Litchfield County, Connecticut. The lake, which is fed by the Marshepaug River, is a man-made resource, with a dam at one end that allows the level of the lake to be controlled.

Woodridge Lake Property Owners' Association (WLPOA) closely monitors the lake, conducting water sample testing on a weekly basis. As with all waterbodies, the lake experiences aquatic weed growth, some years worse than others due to a variety of factors including climate change.

As a method to naturally mitigate aquatic weed growth, WLPOA plans to introduce triploid grass carp to the waterbody. A study by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station states that grass carp is “the only biological control used successfully in Connecticut.”

Since the grass carp are an introduced species, only triploid grass carp, which are sterile, can be used. This eliminates the possibility that the stocked fish can reproduce and overpopulate the lake, or if any were to escape the lake they could not affect other waterbodies. As an additional measure of protection, to ensure that the carp remain in the lake, a screen, or emigration control device, is required. Princeton Hydro, in partnership with WLPOA, Rowledge Pond Aquaculture, and CTDEEP recently completed the installation of a carp screen.

The screen, which was custom designed by Princeton Hydro, is located in the outlet structure of the Woodridge Lake Dam, downstream of the spillway crest and within the concrete stilling basin of the spillway structure. Subsequently, the installation and operation of the carp screen will have no impact on spillway capacity or water surface elevations at the spillway crest. In addition, there will be no impact on the flow capacity or the water surface elevations of the Marshepuag River downstream of the dam outlet structure.

The emigration control device is a modular, vertical-bar screen composed of eight sections. A modular screen design was chosen to facilitate off-site fabrication and easier installation, as well as repair of an individual section, if necessary. Installed, all eight sections transect the entire 40-foot width of the spillway structure.

WOODRIDGE LAKE CARP EXCLUSION DEVICE DESIGN by Princeton Hydro

The carp screen was specifically designed to be easy to operate and maintain, minimizing clogging and facilitating easy cleaning from the downstream side of the screen during a range of flows. The operation and maintenance plan also consists of inspections every three months and precipitation-based inspections conducted by the WLPOA staff.

Overall, the use of grass carp will help Woodridge Lake manage aquatic weed growth in a natural way and maintain a healthy and vibrant lake environment for years to come.

To learn more about Rowledge Pond Aquaculture, the oldest private fish hatchery in Connecticut, go here: rowledgepond.com. For more information about Princeton Hydro’s lake management services, go here: bit.ly/pondlake.

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Native plants on the floating island designed by Princeton Hydro that will help reduce the phosphers and algae in the lake at Frances Slocum State ParkLooking for a unique and creative way to manage nutrient runoff in freshwater lakes? Installing Floating Wetland Islands (FWI) is a low-cost, effective green infrastructure solution used to mitigate phosporus and nitrogen stormwater pollution often emanating from highly developed communities and/or argricultural lands.

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.

“A pound of phosphorus can produce 1,100 lbs of algae each year. And, each 250-square foot island can remove 10 lbs of phosphorus annually.” explains Princeton Hydro Staff Scientist Katie Walston. "So, that's 11,000 lbs of algae that is mitigated each year from each 250 square foot of FWI installed!"

[caption id="attachment_4363" align="aligncenter" width="777"]This illustration, created by Staff Scientist Ivy Babson, conveys the functionality of a Floating Wetland Island This illustration, created by Staff Scientist Ivy Babson, conveys the functionality of a Floating Wetland Island[/caption]  

Typically, FWIs consist of a constructed floating mat with vegetation planted directly into the material. Once the islands are anchored in the lake, the plants thrive and grow, extending their root systems through the mat and absorbing and removing excess nutrients from the water column such as phosphorus and nitrogen.

The plants uptake a lot of nutrients, but the workhorse of the FWIs is the microbial community. The matrix used within the islands has a very high surface area and it promotes microbial growth, which performs the majority of the nutrient uptake. Additionally, the root growth from the plants continues to increase the surface area for the microbial biofilm to grow on. Both the plants and microbes acting together help optimize nutrient removal.

Princeton Hydro has designed and installed numerous FWIs in waterbodies large and small for the purpose of harmful algal bloom control, fisheries enhancement, stormwater management, shoreline preservation, wastewater treatment, and more. FWIs are also highly adaptable and can be sized, configured, and planted to fit the needs of nearly any lake, pond, or reservoir.

Greenwood Lake

Recently, the Princeton Hydro team completed a FWI installation in Belcher's Creek, the main tributary of Greenwood Lake. The lake, a 1,920-acre waterbody located in  both Passaic County, New Jersey and Orange County, New York, is a highly valued ecological and recreational resource for both states and has a substantial impact on the local economies. In addition, the lake 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 and thousands of businesses with drinking water. 

Since the lake was negatively impacted by HABs during the 2019 summer season, Greenwood Lake Commission (GWLC) has made a stronger effort to eliminate HABs and any factors that contribute to cyanobacteria blooms for 2020 and into the future. Factors being addressed include pollutant loading in the watershed, especially that of Belcher's Creek. The installation of FWIs in Belcher's Creek will immediately address nutrients in the water before it enters Greenwood Lake and help decrease total phosphorus loading. In turn this will help reduce HABs, improve water quality throughout the Greenwood Lake watershed, and create important habitat for beneficial aquatic, insect, bird and wildlife species.

“In addition to the direct environmental benefits of FWIs, the planting events themselves, which involve individuals from the local lake communities, have long-lasting positive impacts,” said Dr. Jack Szczepanski, Princeton Hydro Senior Project Manager, Aquatics Resources. “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.”

The project was partially funded by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's (NJDEP) Water Quality Restoration Grants for Nonpoint Source Pollution Program under Section 319(h) of the federal Clean Water Act. As part of the statewide HAB response strategy, the NJDEP made $13.5 million in funding available for local projects that improve water quality and help prevent, mitigate and manage HABs in the state’s lakes and ponds. The GWLC was awarded one of the NJDEPs matching grants, which provided $2 in funding for every $1 invested by the grant applicant. For this project, the GWLC purchased the FWIs and NJDEP provided the 2:1 cash match in order for the GWLC to implement additional HAB prevention and mitigation strategies in critical locations throughout the watershed.

Check out the photos from last month's installation: [gallery columns="2" link="none" ids="5117,5118,5113,5109"]

Over the coming weeks, our team will be in Asbury Park, New Jersey installing FWIs in Sunset Lake. Stay tuned for more! For additional information about floating wetland islands and water quality management, go here: bit.ly/pondlake.

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Last summer, 39 of New Jersey’s lakes were plagued with toxic algae outbreaks, also known as harmful algae blooms or HABs, causing major water quality degradation, beach closures and health advisories. In response, the NJDEP implemented a unified statewide approach to addressing HABs in freshwater recreational waters and sources of drinking water, and protecting the public from risks associated with exposure to cyanobacteria.

Last week, NJDEP announced a new component to its statewide Cyanobacterial HAB Response Strategy: a color-coded health alert index that provides precise recreational use recommendations for impacted waterbodies based on levels of cyanobacteria and/or cyanotoxins present. The index has six tiers - NONE, WATCH, ALERT, ADVISORY, WARNING, and DANGER - each providing recommendations on the specific activities that should or should not be pursued based on water monitoring results.

"Princeton Hydro is proud to be one of the contributing factors in the development of the Updated Guidance for HABs," said said Dr. Fred Lubnow, Director of Aquatic Resources for Princeton Hydro. "We feel this updated protocol will provide the necessary and objective information for State and local organizations to make informed and rational decisions, based on sound and scientifically-based data, on how to deal with HABs in a recreational setting."

Princeton Hydro and Clean Water Consulting are the technical advisers for the New Jersey Lake Group, who have met a number of times over the last 8 to 9 months to discuss the State's guidance on dealing with HABs.  In late 2019, on behalf of the New Jersey Lake Group, Princeton Hydro and Clean Water Consulting developed a White Paper providing recommended changes for consideration to NJDEP's Recreational Response Strategy to HABs.

"I'm proud to say that many of the provided recommendations were integrated into NJDEP's Updated Guidance for HABs," explained Dr. Lubnow.

WATCH (Suspected or confirmed HAB with potential for allergenic and irritative health effects) This warning will be posted when HAB cell counts exceed 20,000. In this scenario, public beaches remain open, but the index instructs the public to use caution, provides information on the potential less serious health effects, and allows for more informed decision-making.

ALERT (Confirmed HAB that requires greater observation due to increasing potential for toxin production) This warning indicates a public bathing beach closure only and is posted when a HAB has been confirmed with cell counts between 40,000 and 80,000 and no known toxins above the public threshold. Beaches remain open (dependent upon local health authority) and monitoring for future toxin production should be increased.

ADVISORY (Confirmed HAB with moderate risk of adverse health effects and increased potential for toxins above public health thresholds) Signs will be posted for this warning level when cell counts exceed 80,000 or when toxin levels exceed 3 micrograms per milliliter of microcystins. Public bathing beaches will be closed, but the waterbody will remain accessible to some “secondary contact” activities, like boating.

WARNING and DANGER (Confirmed HAB with high risk of adverse health effects due to high toxin levels) and (Confirmed HAB with very high risk of adverse health effects due to high toxin levels) These tiers are designed to alert the public to the presence of HABs that are producing very high levels of toxins which justify additional caution. In some instances, the entire waterbody may be closed for all public use. New Jersey has experienced approximately 12 “warning level” HAB events over the last 3 years; monitoring has never indicated a “danger level” HAB event.

According to their press release, NJDEP is committed to working with local officials to implement the index and get signage posted at lakes throughout the state as soon as possible.

In order to create the health index, NJDEP scientists carefully reviewed HABs data collected over the last three years by Lake Hopatcong Commission, Lake Hopatcong Foundation, Princeton Hydro, and other sources. The tiered warning system will enable lake communities, residents and visitors to make more individualized decisions about what risks they are willing to take and what activities they feel comfortable engaging in at the various levels of HABs.

In the coming days, the NJDEP’s Harmful Algal Bloom website will be updated to include the new health index and accompanying signage, relevant monitoring data, and other information for each of the impacted bodies of water, as well as an updated HAB Monitoring and Response Strategy. For now, you can read the full press release and additional information here: https://www.nj.gov/dep/newsrel/2020/20_0023.htm.

To learn more about HABs, check out our recent blog:

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A densely developed, flood-prone, former industrial site in Bloomfield, New Jersey is being transformed into a thriving public park and 4.2 acres of wetlands. This is thanks to the Third River Floodplain Wetland Enhancement Project, which broke ground in March of 2019. The project will restore valuable ecological functions and natural floodplain connection, enhance aquatic and wildlife habitat, and increase flood storage capacity for urban stormwater runoff.

The project team has already made tremendous progress at the site, which is located along the Third River and Spring Brook, two freshwater tributaries of the Passaic River. Princeton Hydro is serving as the ecological engineer to Bloomfield Township; our scientists and engineers have 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 continues to conduct construction oversight during the implementation of this important urban wetland creation project.

The project team recently utilized a drone to document the significant progress being made:

[caption id="attachment_4686" align="aligncenter" width="584"]Close-up view of the wetland construction progress. Note the hummocks and hollows created with the wetland soil as well as the habitat features constructed of trees and natural rock uncovered during the excavation process. Photo provided by Creamer Environmental. Close-up view of the wetland construction progress. Note: the hummocks and hollows created with the wetland soil as well as the habitat features constructed of trees and natural rock uncovered during the excavation process. Photo provided by Creamer Environmental.[/caption] Over 500 trees and shrubs have been planted in the new wetland with additional trees and shrubs planted along Lion Gate Drive and in existing woodlands. The selected native plant species all provide important wildlife value, including providing food and shelter for migratory birds. Enviroscapes was contracted to install all of the trees and wetland plants at this site and has nearly finished planting efforts: [caption id="attachment_4705" align="aligncenter" width="584"]Removing invasive species and replacing them with native plants, shrubs and trees sets the stage for a flourishing native plant community year after year. Removing invasive species and replacing them with native plants, shrubs and trees, sets the stage for a flourishing wetland habitat.[/caption] The project is progressing quickly as the weather warms. Nearly all of the plantings have been installed and seeding is happening in the next two weeks. [caption id="attachment_4704" align="aligncenter" width="584"]This green infrastructure project will re-establish the natural floodplain wetland and riparian plant communities. This green infrastructure project will re-establish the natural floodplain wetland and riparian plant communities.[/caption]

We're excited to see what the restoration will look like when it's all finished. Check out additional photos below and stay tuned for project updates!

[gallery link="file" ids="4711,4708,4710,4714,4709,4713,4719,4712,4707"]

To learn more, check out the full story below:

[embed]https://www.princetonhydro.com/blog/urban-wetland-restoration/[/embed]

[post_title] => Bloomfield: Restoration Efforts Transforming Industrial Site Into Thriving Public Park [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => bloomfield-restoration-update-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-05-06 19:44:32 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-05-06 19:44:32 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.princetonhydro.com/blog/?p=4635 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1615 [post_author] => 3 [post_date] => 2020-03-20 12:14:14 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-03-20 12:14:14 [post_content] => Photo from: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, water chestnut bed at Beacon Spring is officially here! Tulips will soon be emerging from the ground, buds blossoming on trees and, unfortunately, invasive plant species will begin their annual growing cycle. No type of habitat or region of the globe is immune to the threat of invasive species (“invasives”). Invasives create major impacts on ecosystems throughout the world, and freshwater ecosystems and estuaries are especially vulnerable because the establishment of such species in these habitats is difficult to contain and reverse. This blog provides an introduction to invasive aquatic species, including information that will help you prevent the spread of invasives in the waterways of your community.
Defining Invasive Species
Invasive species can be defined as non-native occurring in an ecosystem that is outside its actual natural or native distributional range. Although the colonization of an ecosystem by non-native species can occur naturally, it is more often a function of human intervention, both deliberate and accidental. For aquatic ecosystems some species have become established as a result of the aquarium trade, fish culture practices and/or transport of plants and animals in the bilge and ballast water of trans-oceanic shipping vessels. One of the primary reasons invasives are able to thrive, spread rapidly, and outcompete native species is that the environmental checks and predators that control these species in their natural settings are lacking in the ecosystems and habitat in which they become introduced. The subsequent damages they cause occur on many ecological levels including competition for food or habitat (feeding, refuge and/or spawning), direct predation and consumption of native species, introduction of disease or parasites, and other forms of disruption that lead to the replacement of the native species with the invasive species. As a result, invasives very often cause serious harm to the environment, the economy, and even human health. A prominent example is the Emerald Ash Borer, a non-native, invasive beetle that is responsible for the widespread death of ash trees. As noted above, there are a large number of aquatic invasive species. Some of the more commonly occurring non-native aquatic plant species that impact East Coast lakes, ponds and reservoirs include:
Understanding How Invasives Spread
Either intentionally or unintentionally, people have helped spread invasives around the globe. This is not a recent phenomenon but rather something that has been occurring for centuries. “Intentional introductions,” the deliberate transfer of nuisance species into a new environment, can involve a person pouring their home aquarium into a lake or deliberate actions intended to improve the conditions for various human activities, for example, in agriculture, or to achieve aesthetics not naturally available. Photo by: Tom Britt/CC Flickr, zebra Mussels adhered to a boat propeller“Unintentional introductions” involve the accidental transfer of invasives, which can happen in many ways, including aquatic species attached to the hull of boats or contained in bilge and ballast water. A high-profile example is the introduction of zebra mussels to North America. Native to Central Asia and parts of Europe, zebra mussels accidentally arrived in the Great Lakes and Hudson River via cargo ships traveling between the regions. The occurrence, density, and distribution of Zebra mussels occurred at an alarming rate, with the species spreading to 20 states in the United States and to Ontario and Quebec in Canada. Due to their reproductive fecundity and filter-feeding ability, they are considered the most devastating aquatic invasive species to invade North American fresh waters. They alter and diminish the plankton communities of the lakes that they colonize leading to a number of cascading trophic impacts that have especially negative consequences on fisheries. Zebra mussel infestations have also been linked to increased cyanobacteria (bluegreen algae) blooms and the occurrence of harmful algae blooms (HABs) that impact drinking water quality, recreational use, and the health of humans, pets, and livestock. Additionally, higher than average temperatures and changes in rain and snow patterns caused by climate change further enable some invasive plant species to move into new areas. This is exemplified by the increased northly spread of hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillate), a tropical invasive plant species that has migrated since its introduction in Florida in the 1950s to lakes, rivers, and reservoirs throughout the U.S. Regardless of how any of these invasive species first became established, the thousands of terrestrial and aquatic invasive species introduced into the U.S. have caused major ecological, recreational and economic impacts.
Measuring the Impacts of Invasives
After habitat loss, invasive, non-native species are the second largest threat to biodiversity. According to The Nature Conservancy, “Invasive species have contributed directly to the decline of 42% of the threatened and endangered species in the United States. The annual cost to the nation’s economy is estimated at $120 billion a year, with over 100 million acres (an area roughly the size of California) suffering from invasive plant infestations. Invasive species are a global problem — with the annual cost of impacts and control efforts equaling 5% of the world’s economy.” Of the $120 billion, about $100 million per year is spent on aquatic invasive plant control to address such deleterious issues as:
  • Human health (West Nile Virus, Zika Virus)
  • Water quality impacts (Canada geese)
  • Potable water supplies (Zebra mussel)
  • Commercial fisheries (Snake head, lamprey, Eurasian ruffe, round goby)
  • Recreational activities (Eurasian watermilfoil, water chestnut, hydrilla)
  • Biodiversity (Purple loosestrife, common reed, Japanese knotweed)
Invasive species can change the food web in an ecosystem by destroying or replacing native food sources. As the National Wildlife Federation explains, “The invasive species may provide little to no food value for native wildlife. Invasive species can also alter the abundance or diversity of species that are important habitat for native wildlife. Additionally, some invasive species are capable of changing the conditions in an ecosystem, such as changing soil chemistry...”
Addressing Invasives
Our native biodiversity is an irreplaceable and valuable treasure. Through a combination of prevention, early detection, eradication, restoration, research and outreach, we can help protect our native heritage from damage by invasive species.
What Can We Do?
  • Reduce the spread
  • Routinely monitor
  • Document and report
  • Spread the word
Reducing the Spread:
The best way to fight invasive species is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. There are a variety of simple things each of us can do to help stop the introduction and spread of invasives.
  • Plant native plants on your property and remove any invasive plants. Before you plant anything, verify with your local nursery and check out this online resource for help in identifying invasive plants.
  • Thoroughly wash your gear and watercraft before and after your trip. Invasives come in many forms – plants, fungi and animals – and even those of microscopic size can cause major damage.
  • Don't release aquarium fish and plants, live bait or other exotic animals into the wild. If you plan to own an exotic pet, do your research to make sure you can commit to looking after it. Look into alternatives to live bait.
Monitoring:
Invasive plant monitoring is one of the most valuable site­-level activities people can support. Contact your local watershed organizations to inquire about watershed monitoring volunteer opportunities. For example, the Lake Hopatcong “Water Scouts” program was established to seek out and remove any instances of the invasive water chestnut species. If you are a lake or watershed manager, the best way to begin an invasive plant monitoring project is with an expert invasive plant survey to determine which invasives are most likely to be problematic in your watershed and identify the watershed’s most vulnerable areas. Contact us to learn more.
Documenting and Reporting:
It’s important to learn to identify invasive species in your area and report any sightings to your county extension agent or local land manager. For example, in New Jersey there is the Invasive Species Strike Team that tracks the spread of terrestrial and aquatic invasives and works with local communities in the management of these species. Additionally, consider developing a stewardship plan for your community to help preserve its natural resources. Princeton Hydro’s team of natural resource scientists can help you get the ball rolling by preparing stewardship plans focused on controlling invasive species and protecting the long-term health of open spaces, forests habitats, wetlands, and water-quality in your community.
Spreading the word:
Many people still don’t understand the serious implications of invasive species. Education is a crucial step in stopping the spread of invasives, which is why it’s so important to talk with your neighbors, friends and family about the hazards and ecological/economic impacts of invasive species. Also consider talking with your community lake or watershed manager about hosting an educational workshop where experts can share their knowledge about invasives specific to your area and how best to address them.   We encourage you to share this article and spread your invasive species knowledge so that together we can help stop the introduction and spread of invasive species.

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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.

  [gallery columns="2" link="none" ids="4704,9172"]  

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.”

  [gallery link="none" columns="2" ids="9318,9294"]  

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="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"] [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] => 2022-09-27 19:04:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-09-27 19:04:51 [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 ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 38 [max_num_pages] => 4 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => 1 [is_privacy_policy] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_favicon] => [is_posts_page] => 1 [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 980f704ad62dc76ede78c3faef94e058 [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 1 [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )

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