Water Protection Programs
Our lakes and streams should be clean and pristine. With the following programs, we are addressing issues of water quality in our state
Stream Bank Restoration
Over time, stream banks can become damaged, unsightly, and even dangerous. SJLWT worked to restore one such bank at Wilson Lake Park that had been overrun by geese and their waste. By planting native plants, fencing off the restoration area, and allowing the new plant growth to take over, the lake shore was restored. Plant roots help stabilize the soil, thus reducing the rate of erosion and improving the appearance and sturdiness of the bank. The photograph shows some of the new growth in Wilson Lake restoration project.
SJLWT works to train individuals to conduct macroinvertebrate or “MI” assessments on many waterways throughout South Jersey. Macroinvertebrates are the tiny, visible “bugs” that live in water and are categorized by their level of pollution tolerance. By estimating the number of “bugs” within each level, the health of the waterway can be determined. If there are many pollution-intolerant species present, the waterway can be deemed fairly healthy.
For many years SJLWT has carried out visual assessments of South Jersey rivers and streams, documenting conditions and general health of the waterways. The Trust has also participated in development of assessment plans for many of these water bodies, in partnership with the two Counties, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Rutgers University Extension Water Resources program.
Vernal Pool Surveys
SJLWT has worked with NJDEP Endangered and Nongame Species Program to offer Vernal Pool trainings to volunteers. These trainings help equip volunteers with the knowledge to identify vernal pools, which are seasonal pools that provide important springtime habitat for many species of frogs and other wildlife.
The SJLWT has constructed rain gardens at schools, municipal buildings, and office spaces. These gardens typically consist of a depression in the ground which gets filled with native plants. These plants will filter the water and recharge underground aquifers instead of allowing the water to enter the nearest stream as runoff. Recharging aquifers helps to ease the burden on municipal water services, especially as population density increases and a heavier strain is placed on all municipal services.
Storm Drain Labelling
The SJLWT has organized volunteers to label storm drains and distribute information about watershed health. Storm drains were labeled with reminders to avoid dumping pollutants down the drains, since all the water and the pollutants move to the nearest local waterway.