What’s Happening in the Royce Brook?

This subwatershed report is a little different from others. Go ahead and look through the scorecard. There is a lot that we still don’t know about water quality in the Royce Brook! Our water quality assessments are usually based on data collected from StreamWatch volunteers and NJDEP staff, but in this case, there isn’t enough data from either source to make a proper characterization of the Royce Brook.

Our data does show that macroinvertebrate communities have been adversely affected, but we don’t yet know the cause. A shift in species diversity and composition could be due to poor stream habitat, high turbidity clouding the water column, or low levels of dissolved oxygen. The only way to find out is to monitor the stream – and this is where you come in!

StreamWatch, our Watershed Association’s volunteer water quality monitoring program, is launching two new monitoring sites on the Royce Brook in Hillsborough and we need volunteer monitors. After an initial training session, volunteers will be tasked with collecting chemical data from the Royce Brook every month, helping us to build our baseline data set and provide some insight into what is happening in the stream.

It is important to track the water quality in the Royce Brook because almost 18% of its watershed is covered with impervious surfaces. Polluted stormwater flowing from these surfaces harms stream health, so our Science staff has been working with Rutgers Water Resources Extension to design and install green infrastructure, like rain gardens and bioswales, to help alleviate the impact of stormwater.

Rain gardens treat and infiltrate a substantial amount of stormwater runoff, especially when regularly maintained. This month, our Watershed Association is launching another new volunteer opportunity for people in and around the Royce Brook watershed to do just that. Working in pairs or groups, volunteers of all ages are invited to help keep the newly-installed rain gardens at the Hillsborough Municipal Center in great condition through weeding and mulching a few times a year. A rain garden maintenance training session will be held in late March for interested volunteers.

Get Involved in the Royce Brook! Whether you are monitoring the quality of the stream or helping to keep stormwater out of it, we could use your help to protect and restore water quality in the Royce Brook. Contact Erin Stretz, Assistant Director of Science and Stewardship, at estretz@thewatershed.org to learn more or visit our StreamWatch page.


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.