Conduct Biological and Chemical Water Quality Monitoring

Additional chemical and biological water quality monitoring will be conducted at seven monitoring sites in the watershed. The seven monitoring sites are distributed throughout the watershed to capture spatial variability of watershed conditions. Surface water quality sampling will be conducted to assess the loading inputs of nutrients, total suspended solids and bacteria to the Neshanic River, as well as the movement of nutrients, total suspended solids and bacteria to identify and quantify the sources of pollution under dry weather and wet weather conditions. Biological sampling will be conducted so that the benthic macroinvertebrate community can be better characterized, compared, and evaluated for biological integrity.

The US Environmental Protection Agency Stressor Identification (SI) process will be used to identify any type of stressor or combination of stressors that might be causing any indentified biological impairment within the study area. A stream characterization analysis will also be conducted to determine the stream stability and the stage of the stream as defined by the Channel Evolution Model and/or Rosgen Classification. Although the Rosgen Classification may not be appropriate for all stream segments in the watershed, the parameters developed for the Rosgen analysis (e.g., bank full stage, flood plain width, entrenchment ratio, sinuosity, channel bed material, and stream slope) will provide useful information to better identify BMPs that are suited for restoring the watershed. All activities will be coordinated with the appropriate staff at NJDEP.

Progress and Status

  • A Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) was approved by NJDEP in June 2007 to conduct chemical and biological monitoring with the watershed.
  • Dry weather surface water quality and biological monitoring was conducted during the summer and early fall of 2007.
  • Wet weather surface water quality monitoring was completed in the summer of 2008.
  • A geomorphic evaluation of the selected streams in the watershed was conducted in the fall of 2009.

Results and Outcomes

The data show a variety of water quality concerns in the watershed. The surface water quality of the Neshanic River Watershed is compromised given the continual and persistent violations of the surface water quality criteria for bacteria and total phosphorus, and the occasional violation of the minimum pH surface water quality criterion.  Total suspended solids, even during wet weather events, and dissolved oxygen do not appear to be problems of concern for the watershed.  Microbial Source Tracking (MST) analyses suggest that some areas within the watershed (i.e., Stations UNT2, UNT1, N1, FN1, and TN3a) have a higher incidence of contamination with human feces than others (i.e, SN1 and TN3).  Contamination from bovine sources was not detected within the watershed as part of the MST analyses.

Monitoring Location FN1, moderately impaired and marginal habitat

The streams within the watershed support a non-impaired to moderately impaired benthic macroinvertebrate community.  Habitat conditions assessed by both NJDEP through the AMNET program and the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program show marginal to suboptimal conditions within the watershed. Stressors to the benthic macroinvertebrate community causing impairment include degraded habitat, altered hydrology, and suspected toxicants.

Geomorphic evaluations reveal that most of the streams within the watershed are classified as Types B, C, and E under the Rosgen Stream Classification System and are considered stable.  The Simon’s 1989 Channel Evolution Model, though, indicates that there are locations within the watershed where downcutting and widening is occurring.

For details, please read:

  • Water Quality Monitoring Data Report
    • Appendix A: Quality Assurance Project Plan, RP06-068 Neshanic River Watershed Restoration Plan, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program, January 8, 2007 & Addendum July 21, 2008 
    • Appendix B: Tabulated water quality monitoring results from biweekly and additional bacteria sampling
    • Appendix C: Graphs of water quality monitoring results from biweekly and additional bacteria sampling for pH, E. coli, fecal coliform, and total phosphorus 
    • Appendix D: Tabulated water quality monitoring results from wet weather sampling 
    • Appendix E: Graphs of water quality monitoring results from wet weather sampling for Eschericia coli, total phosphorus, and total suspended solids 
    • Appendix F: The numbers of Bacteroides detected by the three primer sets for the wet weather sampling events 
    • Appendix G: The Biological Assessment Report
    • Appendix H: The Geomorphic Evaluation Report

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