New technology accelerates stream restoration
Musconetcong Watershed Association
The Musconetcong River, the largest Delaware River tributary in New Jersey, drains more than 155 square miles and flows more than 40 miles.
A Delaware River tributary, the Musconetcong flows through forests, farms, and towns in the New Jersey Highlands. Pollutants from leaking septic systems and agricultural runoff affect water quality, but mitigation is challenged by the inability to determine the extent to which each source is degrading the river. To address this problem, the Musconetcong Watershed Association is using new microbial source tracking methods to identify where and how bacteria are getting into the river.
By identifying specific sources of pollutants, the Association is able to target remedial actions and better explain best practices to farmers, municipalities, and residents. As a result, the region will achieve required clean-up standards more quickly and efficiently, which is critical to better protecting the New Jersey Highlands, part of the four-state landscape stretching from Pennsylvania to Connecticut. As it is refined, this approach to identifying sources of pollutants can be used throughout the watershed.