State of the Raritan Report, Volume 1, December 2016 (2016)
AbstractThis report updates key indicators of water quality and watershed health for the Raritan Basin that were originally assessed in the 2002 Raritan Basin: Portrait of a Watershed as developed by the New Jersey Water Supply Authority. The objective of that original report, as well as this update, is to inform watershed management and water supply protection needs in the Raritan Basin. This new assessment uses the same eleven key indicators and updates the original data – most from 1986 and 1995 – with data from 2002, 2007 and 2012 in order to determine trends over the past 26 years and to identify data gaps for development of future more comprehensive assessments.
Eleven key indicators were assessed for this report including: population; housing units; urban land use; impervious surface cover; forested, coastal and emergent wetlands; upland forest cover; prime agricultural land; groundwater recharge; fish and macroinvertebrate bioassessments; riparian area integrity; and known contaminant sites and groundwater contamination.
Overall comparison of this updated analysis with the prior 2002 report (Table 1) shows that trends evident between 1986 and 1995 are continuing in the same general direction though the rate has varied over the longer time period. Trends increased for population, housing units, urban land use and impervious surface cover. An increasing trend for these indicators adds stress on water quality and supplies with potential negative impacts for the watershed. Trends declined for all of the wetland land covers assessed as well as for upland forest, prime agricultural land and groundwater recharge. Downward trends for these indicators suggests that the watershed is losing its natural filtering capacity with attendant negative impacts to water quality. The bioassessment and riparian areas trends were mixed and there was not sufficient data to determine trends for the known contaminated sites and groundwater contamination indicators.
SubjectsWatershed, Status and trends, Water quality, Raritan River Watershed (N.J.)
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