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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_11850" align="aligncenter" width="767"] Photo by American Littoral Society[/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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Princeton Hydro led a stormwater management webinar during which participants learned about the purpose, management, and functionality of stormwater basins, and how to get involved in addressing stormwater management issues in their own communities. Dr. Clay Emerson, P.E., CFM and Mark Gallagher, the webinar instructors, provided examples of basins that could benefit most from a retrofit and step-by-step instructions on how to revitalize older basins to meet new stormwater standards and more effectively manage runoff.

  [embed]https://youtu.be/WRnSjGrHrog[/embed]  

The workshop, hosted by The Watershed Institute, is part of the Watershed Wednesdays webinar series, which explores a variety of topics related to protecting and improving water quality. The Watershed Institute, established in 1949, is a nonprofit organization located in Central New Jersey that promotes and advocates conservation and restoration of natural habitats, collects data on environmental conditions in its watersheds, and provides environmental education through numerous programs. To learn more about The Watershed Institute and other upcoming adult-education events, click here.

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 here to read about the on-call stormwater services and ongoing residential, commercial, and professional redevelopment projects we’re working on in Tredeffryin Township, Pennsylvania.

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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] => 2022-11-07 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 ) [3] => 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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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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The NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) hosted its 3rd Annual Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Summit! The all-day, virtual seminar included expert presentations and facilitated open-forum discussions related to HAB science, monitoring, response, management, treatment and communication.

Approximately 220 people from around the country participated in the virtual summit, which was free and open to the public. The audience of stakeholders included government officials (local, state, federal); lake and other environmental commissions; watershed associations; environmental nonprofits; businesses; academics; lake management and HAB treatment experts; and folks interested in protecting their community lakes.

Participants heard presentations about “Keeping Your Pets Safe from HABs,” “The Benefit of Riparian Buffers;” and “Stormwater Management and the Use of Green Infrastructure.” Additionally, two members of the NJDEP HAB Expert Team - Dr. Fred Lubnow Director and Dr. Meiyin Wu - gave a presentation on best management practices to prevent, mitigate, and/or control HABs. The 10-person expert team was established as part of Governor Phil Murphy’s plan to enhance scientific expertise around water quality management and bolster the State’s response to HABs.

The Governor’s HABs Initiative was launched in 2019 after lakes throughout NJ (and the entire Continental U.S.) suffered from HAB outbreaks, which caused local and county health agencies to close off all beaches and issue advisories. These unprecedented conditions had significant negative impacts on lake-related ecological, recreational, and economic resources. The Governor’s initiative designated $13 million in funding to local communities for HABs reduction/prevention; established the aforementioned HABs expert team; and coordinated annual HABs summits in order to encourage continued community education and discussion.

If you were unable to attend the 2022 HAB Summit, NJDEP has made the complete morning and afternoon sessions available online:

Watch the Morning Session: 

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KzeIP4FY60[/embed]

Watch the Afternoon Session: 

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSfJXhcaPCo[/embed]  

The NJDEP Division of Water Monitoring and Standards has an entire website dedicated to HABs. Click here to access educational fact sheets, stay informed on HAB alerts and advisories, and report a HAB sighting.

For more information about HABs, watch a live interview with Dr. Fred Lubnow on Jersey Matters during which he discusses what steps should be taken to prevent HABs, and check out our recent blog:

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This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. In celebration, The Watershed Institute launched its “Watershed Wednesdays” webinar series, which explores a variety of topics related to the environmental laws that arose after the Clean Water Act was instated. The webinars are free, open to the public and occur on the 3rd Wednesday of each month between 6 - 7:15pm EST.

To kick-off the Watershed Wednesdays series, three experts from the Princeton Hydro team led a workshop about “Stream Bank Restoration in Communities & Backyards,” which included three presentations and a Q&A session. Participants learned about what they can do to improve the water quality and restore the natural function of their neighborhood streams. Scroll down to watch the full webinar!

In the first presentation, Water Resources Engineer, Jake Dittes, PE, provides an overview of streams, how they flow, they’re natural evolution, how they’re being impacted by climate change, and the dynamic connection between land and water. Jake provides simple action items that everyone can do to reduce stormwater flow, limit runoff pollutants, boost and protect the natural floodplain.

Casey Schrading, E.I.T., Staff Engineer, shares examples of degraded stream systems, discusses a variety of restoration techniques, and talks about his experience with overseeing the largest stream restoration project completed in Maryland. He also provides helpful tips and examples of what individuals can do in their own backyards to promote stream bank stabilization.

The third presentation is given by Landscape Architect, Cory Speroff, PLA, ASLA, CBLP. In it he provides an in-depth look at a stream, floodplain and multi-functional riparian buffer restoration project Princeton Hydro completed at Carversville Farm in Western Pennsylvania. And, he provides an in-depth look at the native plants that were installed in various zones throughout the farm and how the different plants help reduce stormwater flow, absorb excess nutrients, and prevent erosion.

To view the full webinar go here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLLkVUp5hJM

Many thanks to The Watershed Institute’s Executive Director Jim Waltman and River-Friendly Coordinator Olivia Spildooren for hosting the webinar and inviting Princeton Hydro to participate. To learn more about the Watershed Wednesdays series and other upcoming adult-education events, click here.

The Watershed Institute, established in 1949, is a nonprofit organization located in Central New Jersey that promotes and advocates conservation and restoration of natural habitats, collects data on environmental conditions in its watersheds, and provides environmental education through numerous programs.

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.

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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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What is Stormwater Runoff?

Stormwater runoff is all of the rainfall or snowmelt water that is not absorbed into the ground and instead flows over land. When not managed properly, stormwater runoff causes issues like pollution in our waterways, flooding, and erosion. Stormwater runoff has been cited in multiple studies as a leading cause of water quality impairment to our local lakes and rivers. And, with increasing levels of rainfall from climate change impacts, stormwater management is an especially critical issue for communities all across the U.S.  

What is Stormwater Management?

Stormwater management focuses on reducing runoff and improving water quality through a variety of techniques. 

Traditional stormwater management methods include things like storm drains, retention ponds, and culverts. Green stormwater infrastructure uses vegetation, soil, and other natural components to manage stormwater. Green stormwater infrastructure systems mimic natural hydrology to take advantage of interception, evapotranspiration, and infiltration of stormwater runoff at its source. Examples include rain gardens, constructed wetlands, vegetated bioswales, and living shorelines.  Many stormwater systems include a combination of grey and green infrastructure management practices. 

Stormwater management treatment "trains" combine multiple stormwater management processes in order to prevent pollution and decrease stormwater flow volumes that negatively affect the receiving waterbody.

Let’s Take a Look at a Stormwater Treatment Train in Action

The Thompson Park Zoo in New Jersey

Thompson Park is a 675-acre recreation area - the largest developed park in the Middlesex County park system - with numerous attractions including playgrounds, ballfields, hiking trails, and a zoo. The zoo is an animal haven that houses over 50 geese and fowl, goats, and approximately 90 deer in a fenced enclosure. The park also features Lake Manalapan. 

Within the zoo is a 0.25-acre pond that impounds stormwater runoff from adjacent uplands and two stormwater-fed tributaries to Lake Manalapan and Manalapan Brook. There are three tributaries to the pond  with varying levels of erosion. The western tributary contains a headcut that is approximately four feet high. A headcut is created by a sudden down-cutting of the stream bottom. Similar to a miniature waterfall, a headcut slowly migrates upstream and becomes deeper as it progresses. The headcut in the Zoo tributary had destabilized the stream by eroding and incising its channel and banks. Additionally, foraging by Zoo inhabitants had removed most ground cover around the pond and associated tributaries, which also caused erosion. 

The bare soil conditions, headcut, and manure from the Zoo animals were contributing sediment, nutrient, and pathogen loading to the Zoo pond and subsequently Lake Manalapan. The Zoo pond drains to an outlet structure, a 24-inch reinforced concrete pipe (RCP), and subsequently to a vegetated swale via a stormwater outlet. A second outlet pipe drains stormwater runoff from an asphalt parking lot which discharges to the vegetated swale. 

The shoreline of Lake Manalapan where the vegetated swale drains into the lake was the subject of a previous restoration project during which a diverse suite of native plants was installed; however, the swale was not included in this project and a maintained lawn, which does not adequately filter stormwater runoff or provide any ecosystem services. The swale also had little access to its floodplain where vegetation can help filter non-point source (NPS) pollutants from the Zoo pond and adjacent uplands.

Implementing a Stormwater Management Treatment Train

In order to increase channel stability, decrease erosion, improve water quality and ecological function, and reduce the NPS pollutants originating from the Zoo, a stormwater management treatment train was designed and constructed. 

Middlesex County Office of Parks and Recreation and Office of Planning, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), South Jersey Resource Conservation and Development Council (SJRC&D), Middlesex County Mosquito Extermination Commission, Freehold Soil Conservation District, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Enviroscapes and Princeton Hydro worked together to fund,  design, permit,  and construct the following stormwater management measures: 

  • stabilizing the western tributary to Lake Manalapan and its existing headcut by constructing a rock step-pool sequence; 
  • installing BioChar filter bags within the Zoo pond to remove excess nutrients from the water column and bed sediments; 
  • daylighting a portion of the existing 24-inch RCP in order to widen the stream channel and allow for more stormwater absorption 
  • grading the vegetated swale to provide positive drainage and reduce mosquito breeding habitat; 
  • grading a floodplain bench adjacent to the swale to allow for increased water storage and absorption times and thus greater nutrient removal; 
  • installing outlet protection measures to reduce stormwater velocity and prevent scour within the swale; and 
  • replacing the manicured grass with native vegetation within transition areas to reduce erosion potential and increase biodiversity.

To see the project elements taking shape and being completed, watch our video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXqDjH8knDY

The project is funded by a Water Quality Restoration 319(h) grant awarded to SJRC&D by the NJDEP for continued implementation of watershed-based measures to reduce NPS pollutant loading and compliance with a total phosphorus (TP) Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) established by the NJDEP for Lake Manalapan. The TMDL is a regulatory term in the U.S. Clean Water Act, that identifies the maximum amount of a pollutant (in this case phosphorus) that a waterbody can receive while still meeting water quality standards. 

“The South Jersey Resource Conservation and Development Council was pleased to participate in this project. Partnering with these various governmental agencies and private entities to implement on the ground conservation and water quality improvements aligns perfectly with our mission.  We are thrilled with the great work done at Thompson Park and look forward to continuing this partnership.”

Craig McGee, South Jersey Resource Conservation and Development Council District Manager

Construction of the stormwater treatment train components began in early August 2021 and was completed by the end of September 2021. 

The first step of the stormwater treatment train was to stabilize the tributary to Lake Manalapan and its associated headcut. Streambank stabilization measures included grade modifications to create a gradual stream slope and dynamically stable form with improved habitat features, including riffles and pools, with gravel and cobble substrate. On August 17, grading of the floodplain bench began, the RCP was exposed, and the team started  excavation for the lower three steps in the step-pool sequence.

On August 20, the rock grade and step-pool sequence were completed. And, fabric was installed along both sides of the rock-lined channel to increase stream-bank stability. Rock was placed within the pools to cover the edge of the fabric. We are very pleased to report that the newly restored channel held up to two large storm events during the construction process.

Bags of BioChar, a pure carbon charcoal-like substance made from organic material, were installed across the Zoo pond using an anchor and line system. The BioChar bags help to remove TP and other nutrients from the water column and bed sediments of the Zoo pond and subsequently Manalapan Brook Watershed. The team also built, planted and installed a floating wetland island, an effective green infrastructure solution that improves water quality by assimilating and removing excess nutrients that could fuel algae growth.

After conclusion of pipe lighting, excavation of the floodplain bench and installation of scour protection, native perennial vegetation was planted within the floodplain and swale in order to provide sediment deposition and nutrient uptake functions, as well as aquatic food web services and water temperature moderation before flows are discharged to Lake Manalapan. The plantings also enhance and create suitable avian and pollinator species habitat, and greater flora and fauna diversity.


This stormwater treatment train project improves the habitat and water quality of the Manalapan Brook Watershed by addressing NPS pollutants that originate from Thompson Park Zoo. The completed work also supports the Watershed Protection and Restoration Plan for the Manalapan Brook Watershed by reducing TSS and TP loads in compliance with the TMDL. Additionally, the project improves the overall ecosystem by stabilizing eroded streambanks, installing native and biodiverse vegetation, and reducing the quantity of pollutants entering Lake Manalapan. 

“Thompson Park Zoo is an excellent model for showcasing a successful and comprehensive approach to stormwater management and watershed restoration through a dynamic multi-stakeholder partnership. We are so proud to be a part of this project and continue to support the Manalapan Brook Watershed Protection Plan through a variety of restoration activities.”

Amy McNamara, E.I.T, Princeton Hydro Project Manager and Water Resource Engineer

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 here to learn more about our stormwater management services.

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Over the past year, the Deal Lake Commission (DLC) has implemented a variety of stormwater management projects aimed at reducing the volume of stormwater runoff, decreasing total phosphorus loading, and preventing debris, sediment, and pollutants from flowing into waterbodies throughout the Deal Lake, Wesley Lake, and Sunset Lake Watersheds.

These projects encompass a strategic combination of stormwater best management practices (BMPs), including structural BMPs, non-structural controls, and green infrastructure techniques. These stormwater management projects were funded by a Clean Water Act Section 319(h) grant awarded by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to the DLC.

Let’s take a look at some of the recently completed initiatives:

 

Manufactured Treatment Devices

Manufactured Treatment Devices (MTDs) are pre-fabricated stormwater treatment structures used to address stormwater issues in highly developed, urban areas. MTDs capture and remove sediments, metals, hydrocarbons, and other pollutants from stormwater runoff before the runoff reaches surrounding waterbodies and/or storm sewer systems.

This year, Princeton Hydro worked with the DLC and Leon S. Avakian Engineers to design and install three MTDs throughout Asbury Park, NJ with the purpose of improving water quality in Sunset Lake.

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Students from the Asbury Park High School Engineering Academy, led by their teacher Kevin Gould, were invited to observe one of the MTD installations. The educational field trip was combined with a presentation from Princeton Hydro’s Senior Aquatic Ecologist Dr. Jack Szczepanski, which was titled, “Ecology and Engineering in Asbury Park.”

Click below to watch one of the recent MTD installations: [visual-link-preview encoded="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"]  

Rain Garden Renovation

Rain gardens are a cost effective, attractive, and sustainable way to minimize stormwater runoff and filter out pollutants. This aesthetic, low-maintenance addition to any outdoor landscape creates a functioning habitat that attracts pollinators, beneficial insects, and birds. And, in a small way, it helps reduce erosion, promote groundwater recharge, and minimize flooding.

The DLC along with the Deal Lake Watershed Alliance, Asbury Park's Environmental Shade Tree Commission (ESTC), Asbury Park Department of Public Works (DPW) and Princeton Hydro completed a major renovation to an existing rain garden located in front of the Asbury Park bus terminal and municipal building.

The rain garden, which was originally constructed by the ESTC, was not functioning properly due to one of the inlets being completely obstructed by sediment. The DPW helped clear the sediment and regrade it, while the ESTC removed invasive weeds and replanted it with native shrubs, perennials, and flowers.

For more information about rain gardens and instructions on how to build your own, check out our recent blog: [visual-link-preview encoded="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"]

Floating Wetland Islands

Floating Wetland Islands (FWIs) are a low-cost, effective green infrastructure solution used to mitigate phosphorus and nitrogen stormwater pollution. 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 harmful algae blooms; 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.

The DLC worked with Princeton Hydro to design and install a total of 12 floating wetland islands, six in Sunset Lake and six in Wesley Lake. A team of volunteers, led by the DLC and Princeton Hydro, planted vegetation in each of the FWIs and launched and secured each island into the lakes.

[gallery link="none" columns="2" ids="8942,8945,8936,8935"]  

Clean Water Act Section 319(h) grant related efforts will continue in the Spring of 2022 with the design and installation of “bioscape” gardens and tree boxes. Stay tuned for updates!

...

To learn more about the Deal Lake Commission, click here. To read about one of Princeton Hydro’s recently completed stormwater management projects, click here.

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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_11850" align="aligncenter" width="767"] Photo by American Littoral Society[/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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