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 2020 Excellence in Water Resources Management Awardee

Linden Blue Acres Green Infrastructure & Floodplain Restoration

Primary Partners: City of Linden, Rutgers University, Phillips 66, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, New Jersey Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership, and Enviroscapes 

Location: City of Linden, Union County, New Jersey

The City of Linden, located 13 miles southwest of Manhattan in Union County, New Jersey, is a highly urbanized area with a complex mix of residential, commercial, and industrial land uses. The City’s easily accessible location on the Arthur Kill tidal straight helped fuel this industrial development. Like other communities in the Arthur Kill Watershed, Linden also suffers severe flooding from heavy rains and storms with one of the significant sources of flood water coming from stormwater runoff. Tremley Point is regularly flooded during normal rain events. During Hurricane Sandy, the City of Linden was hard hit, and the City’s Tremley Point neighborhood was especially storm-ravaged. To help communities like Tremley Point recover, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) launched the Blue Acres program.

As part of the NJDEP Blue Acres Program, Princeton Hydro, in collaboration with the City of Linden, Rutgers University, NJDEP, Phillips 66, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, New Jersey Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership, and Enviroscapes, has undertaken one of the first ecological restoration projects within Blue Acres-acquired properties, which are located in the Tremley Point neighborhood. This project focused on increasing storm resiliency by reducing flooding and stormwater runoff through the enhancement of ecological and floodplain function within the former residential properties acquired by the NJDEP Blue Acres Program. The project includes the development and implementation of an on-the-ground natural green infrastructure-focused floodplain enhancement design involving the restoration of native coastal floodplain forest and meadow, as well as floodplain wetlands. The restored area provides natural buffering to storm surge and enhances floodplain functions to capture, infiltrate, store, and slow excess stormwater to reduce the risk of future flood damage. In addition, it restores natural habitat and provides public recreation access on NJDEP Blue Acres property. 

Princeton Hydro created a maintenance plan for the City of Linden Public Works Department, who will be responsible for maintaining the property in perpetuity. They will monitor the site and remove invasive species. The project team is also in discussions with Groundwork Elizabeth, a local nonprofit who provides resources, education, and training to the environmentally underserved in Elizabeth and surrounding Union County, to help the city monitor the site moving forward.  

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