With its source in the Sourland Mountains, Pike Run and its tributaries flow through many acres of preserved open space and farmland before reaching the residential and commercial developments that predominate its lower stretch. A mix of monitoring sites from our StreamWatch volunteer monitoring program and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) provide a comprehensive picture of the health of this subwatershed. Overall, Pike Run is in fairly good shape.
Research has shown that when the percent of impervious surface in a watershed increases beyond 10% of total land area, water quality impacts will result. Just about 7% of the Pike Run subwatershed is impervious, meaning that water quality impacts from urban stormwater runoff are present, but are fairly minimal. Instead agriculture may play a larger role in the quality of these streams.
Escherichia coli and phosphate are found to have contaminated the main stem of Pike Run, as well as Back Brook and Cruser Brook. While these are naturally occurring in nature, an excess of E. coli and phosphate in a stream can result from fertilizer, animal waste, and other types of agricultural or residential runoff into the water. Algal blooms, low dissolved oxygen levels, less ecological diversity, and even human health issues from people recreating in the water can result. River-friendly actions, like picking up after your pets, minimizing or removing fertilizer use in your yard, and getting regular septic system maintenance can help to reduce these pollutants in our waterways—making humans and aquatic life safer.