River-Friendly Programs

River-Friendly Certification Programs promote clean water and a healthy environment through voluntary action by individuals and institutions. To achieve these goals we work one-on-one with residents, businesses, golf courses and schools to improve land stewardship practices. The program works to reduce pollution, conserve water, restore habitat for wildlife and educate the public about becoming better environmental stewards.

The Watershed Institute, New Jersey Water Supply Authority and Raritan Headwaters Association have formed a partnership to implement a suite of River-Friendly programs for businesses, golf courses, schools and residents in New Jersey. Click the link below to check out our joint River-Friendly website.

What does “river-friendly” mean to us?

Manage stormwater on property to reduce polluted runoff

Decrease indoor and outdoor potable water usage

Enhance property features to support beneficial, native wildlife

Share information and encourage environmental stewardship

Resident Program

Becoming River-Friendly is easy. Simply fill out the survey, which outlines actions you can take at home to protect clean water and the environment. Categories include water quality protection, lawn & garden maintenance, water conservation, and wildlife habitat. If you check off a certain number of actions, you will become part of our River-Friendly Resident network. If you fall short, our coordinator will work with you to implement additional practices to help you reach the target score.

2017 Resident of the Year

Mark, Samantha and Emma Bean won our River-Friendly Residents of the Year competition back in April by setting a wonderful example of environmental stewardship at their home in Hopewell Township. We asked them for their advice to other residents looking to be river-friendly. “Start out small… ” says Samantha, “you’ll find that you take a small step and you’ll say hey, this is great. I want to more of this.” Among some of their small steps – such as bird boxes and native plants – you will find a 1-acre wildflower meadow that was once a mowed detention basin. They’ve also recently installed a rain garden that has reduced stormwater issues.

Join our River-Friendly Resident Facebook Group

School Program

This program helps teachers, students and school leaders reduce water pollution while creating new teaching opportunities, enhancing wildlife habitat and establishing a healthier environment for our children. Certification is offered at several different levels based on points achieved through lessons and hands-on projects in any of the four River-Friendly categories: water quality, water conservation, wildlife habitat, and education & outreach. This certification program is offered to both private and public schools.

Read more..

Golf Course Program

This program is designed to help golf course superintendents and staff implement proactive environmental stewardship strategies that benefit the environment and the golf course. We also publicly recognize participating courses to connect them with the community and reward their stewardship initiatives. Some benefits of this program include healthier turf, lower operating costs, decreased water usage, and presence of beneficial wildlife.

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Business Program

Through certification, businesses can create a healthy, natural work setting that boosts employee morale and well-being, while protecting and enhancing the local environment. Some benefits of this program include healthier landscaping, positive work environment, reduction of employee exposure to chemicals, decrease in maintenance costs, and stronger connection with the community. We publicly recognize businesses that are participating and hold a certification ceremony when the process is completed.

Read more..



Rain gardens are an important type of water capture feature in landscaping that helps slow and absorb runoff from storms.

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Rain barrels are a low-cost way of conserving water to irrigate your garden and control stormwater runoff.


Plastic – which takes decades or even hundreds of years to decompose – poses a threat to our water supplies and water quality in a variety of ways.


Four small floating wetlands were installed recently at the Meadow Lakes retirement community in East Windsor with the help of about 20 Peddie School students involved in Earth Day activities.


Trees offer so many benefits to us, including shade, habitat and beauty. Trees also absorb excess polluted stormwater.


Earth Day is the time of year to pay homage to our planet and involves efforts including our recent stream cleanups to efforts to ban plastic bags in local communities.


The 2nd Annual New Jersey Watershed Conference brings stakeholders together on clean water issues.


Join us on Nov. 2, 2018 for the New Jersey Watershed Conference. Improve your knowledge on issues related to water quality and quantity across the state


The 2018 season is in full swing at the Kate Gorrie Butterfly House. The full life cycle of our wonderful winged creatures is a sight to behold.

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When it rains, water is absorbed into the ground and recharges the aquifer. New Jersey, as the most densely developed state in the nation, has more paved surfaces that inhibit this absorption.

Downspout Planter-Stone

Downspout planters are landscaped planter boxes that capture rain water from the roof and function in a similar way as a rain garden but instead within a container.


The Watershed recently installed floating wetlands at the Meadow Lakes retirement community in East Windsor and, if successful, this innovative approach to improving water quality may be expanded…


The Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association recently honored four watershed heroes at its inaugural River-Friendly certification ceremony at the Watershed Center.

Princeton University Green Roof

Green roofs provide aesthetic, environmental, and economic benefits.

stream erosion

When rain falls on our roofs, streets, and parking lots, the subsequent water cannot soak into the ground and becomes stormwater runoff.


Explore local streams and learn how to combat water pollution and flooding with Steve Tuorto, PhD, the Watershed’s Director of Science and Stewardship.

A cigarette butt floats in Brainerd Lake, Cranbury, NJ.

Cranbury Board of Health adopts a smoke-free parks ordinance, the 13th town in our Watershed to do so.


Fifteen kiko goats arrived at the Watershed Reserve this week as part of an eco-friendly way to remove invasive plants from the future Nature Play Zone area.


Join us for this inspiring June 4th double feature about migration. Guest Speaker and filmmaker Jared Flesher will be on hand to discuss his stunning film the Birds of May which tells the story…


Over the past year, the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association has been searching for a resident in their watershed to become the face of River-Friendly living.


More than 500 volunteers helped the Watershed remove about 5,000 pounds of trash from waterways in seven towns so far…

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Earth Day is celebrated with action at the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association: We plant trees, remove trash from streams, sell native plants, and host conferences on climate change.


River-Friendly Coordinator Brittany Musolino and the three other River-Friendly Program Coordinators…


You can help protect water from pollution and mitigate the effects of Climate Change by developing new habits and implementing what we call “River-Friendly” practices for your home, garden, and yard.