Your voice for the environment.
For more than six decades, the Watershed Association has led the fight to preserve our region’s water and land. We engage local and state officials, urging them to strengthen environmental protections, improve planning and zoning, and make better informed decisions about our future. We work cooperatively with local towns through our Project for Municipal Excellence, and speak out against development proposals that would harm the local environment and our quality of life.
The Watershed Association has a long track record of successful environmental advocacy. We have halted sewage discharges into the Delaware & Raritan Canal, stopped Interstate 95 from cutting through the Hopewell Valley, helped lead the way for enactment of the NJ Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act, helped secure new regulations governing management of stormwater and wastewater, and mobilized voter support for numerous open space ballot measures.
We also help strengthen watershed associations throughout New Jersey through The Watershed Institute and rally community action with our annual Stream Clean-ups.The Watershed Association is your advocate for clean water and the environment, but we can’t do it alone. We need your help to protect our watershed. Become a part of our advocacy team and help us by getting involved in your community – speaking out at town meetings, contacting our government leaders, cleaning a stream and more! Contact our Policy Director, Mike Pisauro at (609) 737-3735 x18 to learn how you can help today.
Reducing Pollution & Flooding
Stormwater runoff carries with it “people pollution” which flows into our waterways after it rains. If there are not enough natural lands, trees and vegetation to absorb this polluted water, then it will go into our streams and rivers. The Watershed Association is working with municipalities to adopt more stringent ordinances, including limiting pavement, protecting trees, preserving stream corridors and preserving open space. Does your town have strong ordinances?Hightstown Passes Ground-Breaking Stormwater Ordinance
In response to Hurricane Irene and its severe flooding aftermath in August 2011, the Hightstown Environmental Commission drafted and garnered public and official support for ground-breaking changes to its Stormwater Management Ordinance.
This ordinance creates a process for Environmental Commission review of all zoning permit applications, including permits those for redevelopment at existing single-family residences. The State Model Ordinance does not address urbanized areas with very small lots.
When residents apply for Zoning Permits, the Environmental Commission will then timely review the Zoning Permit application before it is issued and make recommendations uniquely suited to each lot. For example, if a resident wants to construct an addition on a house which exceeds 250 square feet, the Environmental Commission will review the application and contact the owner to recommend easy methods to reduce runoff using pervious pavement, rain barrels, vegetative swales and other low-cost, low maintenance measures. This will reduce pollution, save homeowners money, and eventually help to alleviate flooding from average storms.
Hightstown officials have demonstrated the kind of real leadership that is needed to fix New Jersey’s water pollution and flooding problems. The historic Borough of Hightstown is once again making history. The Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association is pleased to share Hightstown’s story with the hope that others will follow their lead and take action to protect against flooding and improve water quality.
Improving Water Quality
The Watershed Association is working with state leaders to implement strong Water Quality Management Planning Rules. These rules regulate which areas of New Jersey will have sewers and septic systems, whether septic systems must be maintained, and where development and growth will be directed in our state. These Water Quality Management Planning rules are under attack and we need to work to have them implemented as soon as possible.Watershed Association Applauds Times of Trenton Stand on Environment
The Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association applauds the “Times” strong voice against the recently enacted “waiver rule” (“Lawsuit against waiver rule points out potential environmental pitfalls”). In our 63 year history, the Watershed Association has very rarely resorted to litigation, but we decided to join 26 other plaintiffs in this case out of serious concern for the rule’s potential harm to our region’s water and environment. The waiver rule provides a sweeping new authority for the state to waive compliance with more than 100 environmental regulations. Applicants can receive such waivers on the grounds that a regulation is unduly burdensome to a particular project, activity, or property. New Jersey’s environmental problems are legendary. Fortunately leaders of both political parties have enacted strong laws to help reverse the damage done to our water, air, and land over the years. We should be focusing on correcting environmental problems caused by poor planning, but instead the waiver rule creates the potential for a haphazard and arbitrary approach to environmental protection.
Reinforcing Forest ProtectionHopewell Passes Woodland Protection Ordinance
After many years of effort by the Watershed Association, the Hopewell Township Environmental Commission, and others, the Hopewell Township Committee adopted a strong new Woodlands Protection Ordinance in the Summer of 2012. The measure regulates the removal of trees greater than 10 inches in diameter, prohibiting the removal of more than 150 inches in total diameter of such trees over a 10-year period with a permit. Individuals and businesses wishing to remove more than the 150 inch limit are now required to either plant new trees elsewhere on their property or pay into a new fund established to support the planting of new trees in another part of Hopewell Township.
Spanning five townships and parts of three counties, the Sourland Mountain region is one our watershed’s most fragile gems. To protect this important natural resource the Watershed Association has teamed up with leaders from eight government bodies to create a comprehensive plan that coordinates land use and provides guidance for preservation.
The Watershed Association’s “Citizen’s Guides” can help citizens and municipal officials navigate through government policies and get involved with us in making a difference. Check out our list of guides available for download in our Resource Center to obtain hard copies of any of the above guides or materials, contact us or call 609-737-3735.
- Navigating Surface Waters Policies in New Jersey
- Power of Public Participation on Land Use Decisions
- Caring for Backyard Buffers
- Citizen’s Guide to Protecting Groundwater Supplies
- Improving Public Input
- Advocacy Tools for Land Use Issues
- Preserve Local Resources With a Conservatioin Plan
- Citizen’s Guide to Historic Preservation
- Guide to Municipal Stormwater Plans
Saturday, March 4, 6:00-7:30PM, Adults & Families (children 6yo+), Free
Join Education Director Jeff Hoagland at dusk as we watch and learn more about the spring courtship dance and fascinating life of this bird. Hike is co-sponsored by Washington Crossing Audubon Society.Call or email to register.
Learn more about all our programs for the coming weeks!