A demonstration project in Hopewell Borough will create a ribbon of green plantings in an effort to slow the polluted runoff that courses down sidewalks, parking lots, streets and yards after heavy rains. Work started on the project on September 17.
Green infrastructure—rain gardens, vegetated swales, trees, and other natural methods used to filter and absorb water—will be installed to capture and soak up excess stormwater runoff to keep it from polluting Beden Brook.
Watershed Institute staff are working with borough officials and private landowners to bring this project to fruition over the next three years. The project is expected to reduce downstream flooding and help clean up Beden Brook.
“Runoff is the biggest cause of flooding and water pollution in lakes, rivers, streams, estuaries and other waterways in New Jersey,” said Jim Waltman, the Watershed’s Executive Director. The Beden Brook project is funded with a $400,000 Water Quality Restoration Grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection.
For the past year, Watershed staff have been assessing the amount of impervious cover—driveways, parking lots, sidewalks, and other hard surfaces that prevent water from soaking into the ground—and meeting with public and private landowners to discuss the best approaches to absorb rainfall and reduce flooding. In addition to plantings, the project will include porous pavement, cisterns, and other ways of managing polluted runoff.
Waltman said the Beden Brook project takes on a heightened importance as climate change increases the intensity and frequency of rain events.
Sampling has shown that parts of Beden Brook are already polluted with excess phosphorous and e. coli and some stream banks show signs of significant erosion.
Stormwater Specialist Kory Kreiseder and Science Director Dr. Steve Tuorto are working with commercial property owners to reduce the impact of runoff on Beden Brook. Capturing and infiltrating the excess water will benefit water quality as well as downstream habitat.
Kory Kreiseder, said, “We’re eager to help Hopewell Borough better manage its stormwater and improve the appearance of the gateway to downtown.”