Beden Brook runs over 10 miles from its headwaters in the Sourland Mountains to its confluence with the Millstone River north of Rocky Hill. Four StreamWatch monitoring sites along its route provide us with information about the chemical and biological condition of the stream as it flows from protected forestland through Hopewell Valley farmland to the more developed sections of Montgomery.
The Beden Brook watershed boasts some of the most natural landscape cover in our region, with just over 5% of the land covered with rooftops, parking lots, and other surfaces that are impervious to water. Studies have shown that water quality becomes impaired when adjacent land cover reaches 10% imperviousness or greater, however more recent research has revealed negative water quality impacts beginning at just 2% impervious cover. Beden Brook’s subwatersheds range from around 1% to less than 8% impervious cover, which may explain why its streams are in relatively good condition.
As is the case with most streams and lakes across our watershed, Beden Brook is contaminated with high levels of phosphorus which has a direct impact on the biological condition of the stream. Benthic macroinvertebrate and fish populations, studied by Watershed StreamWatch volunteers and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection staff respectively, indicate that aquatic health in Beden Brook is in fair condition. Other chemical measures of water quality show good to excellent results.
Many thanks to the Farley Family, Doug and Anne Kabay, the Magnusson/McHugh Family, the Michaluk Family, and Shivani Poddar for monitoring Beden Brook and its tributaries. The StreamWatch program is funded by Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc, RBC Blue Water Project, Colgate Palmolive Company, Dodge Foundation, and the New Jersey Water Supply Authority.