New Jersey Section of American Water Resources Association (NJ-AWRA)

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The New Jersey Section of the American Water Resources Association (NJ-AWRA)
The 2017 Excellence in Water Resources Management Awardee

NJ Audubon Phytoremediation Project

Primary Partners: NJ Audubon, USFWS, USDA-NRCS, Sussex County Municipal Authority-Wallkill River Watershed Management Group (SCUMA-WRWG)

Location: Decker Road, Lafayette Township, Sussex County, NJ

The NJ Audubon implemented phytoremediation to reduce phosphorus and sediment loads from adjacent agricultural lands on a property in Sussex County that drains directly into a tributary of the Paulin’s Kill River, a Category 1 (high quality) water. The project property was already enrolled in a Wetland Reserve Easement program with NRCS and USFWS because of the presence of bog turtle, a federally endangered species.  Phytoremediation traditionally involves planting wood vegetation, but is incompatible with the habitat needs of bog turtle. To address this, bulrushes were used instead. In May 2016, NJ Audubon contracted with the NJ Youth Corps in Phillipsburg to assist with planting over 5,000 two-inch dark green bulrush plugs along 485 feet of eroded stream, creating a 1 acre natural filtration system in the degraded wetland adjacent to the surrounding upgradient cow pastures, which are the source of the phosphorus runoff. 

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